Forrester conference focuses on ‘adaptive marketing’

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Los Angeles—The Forrester Marketing Forum 2010, hosted by Forrester Research, kicked off Thursday with the theme of “adaptive marketing.”

The conference featured a panel of leading b-to-b marketers who discussed the role that adaptive changes have had on their organizations.

“The market has changed,” said Deborah Nelson, senior VP-marketing, enterprise business at Hewlett-Packard Co. “One-third of our business is now made up of services. Most of our customers don’t know that. We have had to transform our marketing and look at how to do things more efficiently, and also more effectively across this broader space.”

HP has taken several steps to overhaul its marketing structure, including streamlining its agency model, centralizing its global content development and setting up new processes to improve efficiencies.

During the same panel discussion, Marjorie Tenzer, VP-marketing and communications at IBM Corp., talked about the challenges of introducing a new brand campaign, “Smarter Planet,” in November 2008 in the midst of the financial meltdown.

“It was a real challenge for us to market in that type of business climate,” she said. “We got our senior leaders together and decided it was a great time to lead through the change. It was adaptive for us because it allowed us to come together and focus on nine key industries and six key capabilities.”

During a keynote speech, David Williams, chairman-CEO of customer relationship management agency Merkle, said, “Marketing’s day for transforming competitive advantage inside the organization has actually arrived. Competitive advantage in the future will be based on how well we can change and influence the behavior of an individual consumer.”

Williams said marketers need to build an enterprisewide strategy that is focused on the customer. “If that is not happening in the C-suite, it will probably fail,” he said.

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