Thursday, April 26, 2018

My Interview with Digital, AI and Marketing Expert Chris Willis, CMO @Acrolinx

In this episode, Acrolinx CMO, digital, AI and marketing expert Chris Willis, walks us through the use of artificial intelligence to ensure marketing, brand and message clarity and consistency.  Their platform “learns” content strategy, and makes it actionable across your enterprise. They deliver a comprehensive view of content quality, while monitoring key metrics and fine-tuning guidance with AI.

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Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Digital Expert Interviews: SAP's VP of Influencer Marketing, Jim Dever

In this episode I interview Jim Dever, SAP’s VP of Influencer Marketing, and learn how influencer programs work, the value SAP receives from them and the key strategies and tactics behind influencer marketing.  Enjoy!


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Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Friday, April 13, 2018

My Interview with Digital Marketer, Account Based Marketing Expert and Terminus Co-Founder Sangram Vajre

Sangram Vajre
This transcript was edited for readability.  The original video recorded interview can be watched here.
Hello, I’m Kevin Benedict, Senior Vice President of Solutions Strategy here at Regalix, and I want to thank all of you for joining this Digital Expert Interview series. I’m just thrilled to have as my guest today, Sangram Vajre. Sangram, thanks for joining us.
Thanks for having me, Kevin. I’m excited.
Sangram is the co-founder and chief evangelist of Terminus. Why don’t you tell us about Terminus?
We started Terminus in 2014. We thought that something was wrong with the way marketing and sales worked. Forrester came out with this research around 2014 that reported less than 1% of leads turn into customers. Thinking about that, there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way B2B marketing and sales is working if only 1%, or less than 1% is turning into customers.
We are on a mission to build the best-in-class account-based marketing (ABM) platform and community to help B2B marketers be heroes in their organization. That’s our mission statement.
Our platform connects with Salesforce and LinkedIn and you can literally say say here is a list of companies I want to go after. Here are the types of people, and the roles we want to go after. We’ll help you advertise to them across mobile, LinkedIn, web and videos. It will also give you analytics at the account level. You can answer the question, the age old question, “Where’s my money going?” We can also help you understand which accounts are spending what money.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Digital and Account Based Marketing Expert Interview with Terminus' Co-Founder Sangram Vajre

In this episode we dive into the strategies, tactics and digital technologies involved with account based marketing (ABM) – one of the hottest trends in marketing. We learn how ABM evolved, how it is different from traditional marketing, plus the impact it is having on sales and customers’ experiences today.  This information is not just important to marketers and revenue officers, CIOs and CDOs are now supporting and responsible for digital customer and prospect interactions so this information is important to all leaders.

Even before a prospect becomes a customer, they are evaluating vendors based upon the quality of their experiences.  ABM is about using data, digital technologies, analytics and personalization to provide the best possible experiences for a prospect during their path-to-purchase journey.  It is also, of course, about sales teams being more effective at closing deals.  Enjoy!



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Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Data, Competition and the Evolution of Product Identity

Digital Identities
Everyone is talking about the massive volumes of new data available to businesses as a result of digitizing  just about everything, but I believe we are just getting started.   Every business process, piece of equipment, building, product, customer if they don’t already, will have a digital twin – a unique digital identity.  This digital identity is necessary because traditional relationships between manufacturers, brands, products and consumers is rapidly changing?  A business’ recognition and response to these digital identities will determine whether they will be digital winners or losers.

Today, everything is generating data – websites, smartphones and apps, vehicles, manufacturing processes, home automation systems, smart cities, etc.  However, as much as technology enthusiasts like me talk and write about digital transformation, many products and processes still remain analog, but that’s changing.

It seems every week we read about another retail chain filing bankruptcy or administration.  The struggles retailers are having today are significantly impacting their suppliers – the manufactures.  Think about the problems toy manufacturers are facing!  All the largest toy retailers are gone.  How then do toy manufacturers sell toys to consumers without the retailers?  The answer is manufacturers must get to know, and better communicate with their end customer.  That doesn’t mean removing retailers from the mix, but rather a changing of roles and responsibilities.  Manufactures need to take on more of the responsibility of promoting their products and directing buyers to locations where they can purchase their products.

Products, and data about them, can generate an incredible amount of value if they have unique digital identities and are tracked and traced as the following example demonstrates.  This list, of major steps in a typical product lifecycle, summarizes where data could be generated as a result of having a unique digital identity, tracked and shared.
  1. Design – a new type of product is designed, diagrammed and patented in a digital format
  2. Source – capture data about materials, ingredients, sustainability data
  3. Digital press releases, marketing and training material are all tracked for location, use and effectiveness and associated with the unique digital identity
  4. Manufacture – When, where made, batch, production line, packaging components
  5. Distribute – logistics details, stock location and quantity, 3rd party logistics (3PL) performance
  6. Retail – Which store, shopper engagement, product authenticity
  7. Consume – who, when, where, consumer patterns, consumption data
  8. Operate – live usage data, proactive data monitoring, replenishment, subscriptions
  9. Recycle – where recycled, sustainability data, change of ownership
  10. Responsibly disposed – how were the components disposed, when, where, how
  11. Patent protection – monitor business terms for use, and any violations
All of the major steps in a product lifecycle, if the product has a unique digital identity, can be tracked, documented, archived and shared to generate value.   In fact, apps, new business ventures, products, services and business models can all be created based on the data.

Let’s now walk through a product lifecycle scenario together.
  1. You develop a new innovative type of automotive battery.  You give each battery a unique digital identity.  The digital identity is associated with its design and patent.  It comes with an embedded sensor.
  2. You issue press releases, produce product information and training materials in digital formats that can report their use and effectiveness.  Resellers are trained, tested and certified all online.
  3. All the materials used in the battery are identified, tracked and documented including their source, ingredients and sustainability data.  This information can be used to be compliant to regulations, and in marketing and educational material to attract buyers and to create brand loyalty.
  4. The battery is manufactured in Lexington, KY USA.  All the information concerning when and where it was made, the batch, production line and packaging components are documented and tracked for quality and safety.  All the steps that were taken to make the process sustainable can be reported and shared and have marketing and loyalty value.
  5. The batteries are distributed to automotive parts stores, and the inventory levels and locations are documented and tracked from factory to retail stores.  These inventories can show up on Google Location search, Paid search and Inventory searches for all locations.  The manufacturer did not wait for resellers to effectively load their products, digital content and update their inventory amounts, rather the battery manufacturer did it – it was that important.
  6. Some retail stores allowed battery inventory levels to be monitored by the manufacturer for replenishment purposes, product and brand authenticity, sales levels, pricing and marketing campaign effectiveness.
  7. The consumer is encouraged to register the battery with the manufacturer.  They are rewarded with special performance guarantees.  The data is now monitored – who bought it, for what purpose, when, how is it working, is the customer happy, etc.
  8. The product is monitored in real-time for quality and performance.  Any recognized issues are noted, the user is alerted and issues are tracked and resolved proactively.
  9. When the battery’s lifecycle has been completed, the battery is delivered and registered at a recycling location.  The battery ownership changes to the recycling service provider.
  10.  The battery components that no longer have value, or are too dangerous to reuse, are disposed according to regulations.  The details of when, how and where are documented and reported.
  11. Even after the product lifecycle is complete, the design and patent may live on.  These must be tracked and protected to extend the product’s value.
The above scenario, although fictitious, describes real capabilities, real processes and active trends.  Consumers want to do business with companies that are transparent and can guarantee and document how they do business.  They want proof that their vendors source and operate legally, ethically and sustainably.  They want to better understand their products and have a reason for buying them.  Manufacturers in turn want a closer relationship with their end customers.  They want to know who has their products, how they are being used, and how they can support their customers better to increase brand loyalty.  These desires mean both parties are looking for more data.

Companies that cannot capture accurate data and report effectively on their products and product lifecycles are blind, and will be unable to respond to these trends and the desires of their customers.

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Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

AI and Marketing Mix Modeling

In the course of my research on the impact of artificial intelligence on sales, marketing and customer experiences, I have been learning about Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM).  If you are not familiar with it, here is a quick description from our friends at Wikipedia.
"Marketing mix modeling (MMM) is a way to optimize advertising mix (where money is spent on advertising) and promotional tactics with respect to sales revenue or profit.  It is an analytical approach that uses historic information, such as syndicated point-of-sale data and companies’ internal data, to quantify the sales impact of various marketing activities." 
As I dug deeper into MMM I saw both the value and the complexity involved.  However, my liberal arts degree, in no way prepared me for it.

The ideas and concepts around MMM have been used in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) industry for decades, but little outside of that industry.  The reason - it required massive volumes of data and greater computing power than was available at an affordable price.  Today, however, with digital transformation, increasing numbers of digital customer interactions, the abundance of data, algorithms, analytics dashboards, artificial intelligence and everything-as-a-service, MMM is rapidly expanding.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Digital Expert Interviews: VMware's CMO Robin Matlock

In this series we have spoken with a lot of different experts on the impact of digital transformation on enterprises and industries – usually from a  backend IT system perspective. In this episode, however, we dig deep into the impact of digital transformation on marketing with VMware’s Chief Marketing Officer, Robin Matlock.  She shares her insights on how VMware embraces digital transformation, how marketing in general is impacted and how she approaches her job as CMO.  Enjoy!
Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Next Gen Digital Transformation Shakes Things Up Again!

What if you could closely measure your retail competitor’s in-store sales every day?  What if you could be alerted when competitors were increasing or decreasing production at different factories or ordering more materials?  Would that be valuable?  If it were possible, how would it change your strategies and the way you operated?

Intelligence capabilities that in the past were available only to nation-states are now available to commercial organizations through services provided by companies like Orbital Insight.  They partner with a wide range of satellite and other geospatial data collection companies to aggregate and analyze data, using artificial intelligence and data science to provide near-real-time insights. One of their products monitors over 260,000 retail parking lots from space. They use artificial intelligence to count and measure the number of cars in the lots and analyze time sequences to understand how the number of cars fluctuates over time.  This helps them understand if sales are increasing or decreasing in a particular location.  Isn’t that crazy to think about?  But think about it we should.  This is the next generation of business intelligence.  Put on your James Bond suit or dress, order a drink, and prepare for the next generation of digital transformation.

Satellite imagery can also help monitor fleets of trucks, warehouse activities, crops, plant health, highway traffic, construction projects and activities, oil field operations and oil storage levels, mines, logging, shipping and much more.  It’s important for business leaders to understand what is possible today, and what is being used by other digitally-mature competitors.  Intelligence gathering and analysis methodologies first developed by military and intelligence agencies, such as activity-based analysis and patterns of life analysis, will soon be critical skills for businesses.

All of these capabilities are being productized and/or offered as subscription services.  What makes it possible?  The commercialization of space as a result of massive numbers of new satellites being launched, producing massive volumes of new data, transmitted across incredibly fast wireless networks and then analyzed and interpreted by artificial intelligence.

It is also important to know that satellites support many different types of sensors.  They can include infrared thermal sensors to detect different heat signatures.  They may include hyperspectral sensors to detect different minerals, terrestrial vegetation and man-made materials.  Each new generation of satellite includes new types of sensors capable of collecting new forms of data.

The real insight here is the way combinations of newly-available data sources plus artificial intelligence will make possible new and additional waves of digital transformation.  Digital transformation is most certainly a journey not a destination.

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Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

IT Leadership Series: SAP's Christine Ashton, Global CDO, Digital Office, Cloud ERP

I have the honor of hosting the CIOWaterCooler.com's IT Leadership Series, and this week I had the privilege of interviewing Christine Ashton, SAP's Global CDO, Digital Office, ERP Cloud.  In this interview, we dig deep into her insights on digital transformation, AI, automation and the economic case for running ERPs in the cloud, plus what it takes to win in a fast changing technology environment.  Enjoy!



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Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Digitally Transforming the Customer Experience

We have been traveling a lot lately. Why? Here at Regalix, we help large global companies with their customer success and sales enablement initiatives, which include things like digital marketing, knowledge management, customer experiences, sales operations, customer service and support, rewards and loyalty programs, etc., all of which are critical to the business and are today being digitally transformed. While helping businesses transform themselves in these areas we have seen and learned a great deal. Let me share some of the lessons we have learned.