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IDC summit raises measurement flag—again

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Santa Clara, Calif.—Technology marketers are doing a better job measuring their activities and communicating with other corporate departments, such as sales and finance, concluded several presenters at Thursday's IDC Marketing Performance Measurement Summit for Business-to-Business Marketers. IDC's daylong summit, now in its second year, attracted about 140 attendees.

Tech marketers are embracing measurement practices out of economic necessity, suggested Richard Vancil, VP at IDC's CMO Advisory Practice and chairman of the summit.

In his opening remarks, Vancil noted that marketing costs have risen faster than worldwide IT industry growth (6.5% vs. 5.5%), while sales costs have increased and sales cycles have lengthened. At the same time, the choice of media able to reach these customers and prospects has fragmented, vastly complicating marketing decision-making.

Ann Ruckstuhl, VP-corporate marketing at Sybase, during a panel on effective strategies for marketing performance measurement, discussed ideas for creating a "culture of measurement," a central IDC CMO Advisory Practice recommendation. She suggested a number of steps: prioritization, shared performance measures (at Sybase compensation is tied to hitting these targets), investments tied to "tangible" awareness and lead generation goals; and frequent reviews (quarterly at Sybase).

Panelist Stephanie Acker-Moy, VP-Internet and marketing services at Hewlett-Packard Co., agreed but said it's hard to do these things at very large companies, country by country, both in terms of deploying automated systems and changing employee attitudes.

Personnel issues were a focus of Martyn Etherington, VP-marketing at Tektronix, who revealed he needed to change 60% of the company’s more than 100-person worldwide marketing staff over the past three years as part of a sweeping change of Tektronix’s marketing operations.

These people lacked the necessary skills or were resistant to the change to a results-and-measurement-based marketing culture, Etherington said.

"Marketing’s ability to report to finance is improving," said Jeremy Adamson, Symantec Corp.'s global marketing and communications controller, during a session featuring finance personnel.

Vancil used his concluding remarks to make a few predictions. This year, he said, two of five of the major, billion-dollar technology vendors "will fully merge or significantly integrate the sales and marketing functions" and that one of these will make a significant investment in marketing measurement.

IDC will hold a second measurement summit in New York in mid-April.

—Ellis Booker

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