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Michael Brenner is senior director of global marketing for SAP. He is also author of the B2B Marketing Insider blog and cofounder of social news site Business 2 Community. Michael is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 101 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The Human Touch – Important For Marketing Today and Tomorrow

04.01.2013
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In this Future of Marketing series, we have covered topics such as Agile MarketingBig DataCustomer ExperienceThought LeadershipCultureContent, and so much more.

Despite all the change in the world and the impact of these changes on our marketing strategy, one thing has never changed. And that is the importance of relationships, and the ability to communicate with people. And so today’s Future of Marketing interview will focus on the importance of the human touch.

I am honored to introduce you to another SAP marketing leader, Dave Hutchison. Dave is the Head of our North American Marketing team.  I invite you to continue the conversation with Dave onTwitter (@dave_hutchison) or LinkedIn.

Tell us about yourself?

Dave Hutchison on the human touch in MarketingThis is my first, pure marketing job in my career. I graduated college with a marketing degree and spent the next 10 years at IBM in direct sales and channel management. I joined Siebel Systems and helped build the reseller channel there. After Siebel I spent 2 years running sales and marketing for a relatively small ERP and BI system integration firm but soon realized that I enjoyed the dynamic environment of a large company. Given this, I joined SAP in 2004 and haven’t looked back. In my time here, I have been responsible for strategic business development, 3rd-party solution sales and sales operations.  Most recently I was Chief of Staff for SAP’s President of Global Sales and Services.

At the end of 2011 I decided to make a change. I had visibility and connections into a lot of areas in the company and decided that running marketing for our North American business would really help me round out my passions and experience. I knew how to manage a P&L, run a large team and I felt like there was a real opportunity to help the marketing organization with a different perspective, a different personality and help people to feel that they are a valuable part of the business. So I become the North American Head of Marketing.

What Is The Biggest Marketing Challenge?

The biggest challenge is how to scale a marketing organization to meet the needs of a growing business, and doing so on a flat or reduced budget year after year. Like almost every large enterprise, we have a relatively finite list of contacts and we hit them pretty hard with traditional marketing. So we need to focus on building new contacts, reaching new audiences. I spent more than 6 months – almost a whole year – thinking about how to organize my team to meet this challenge. We were getting the job done, but we weren’t as efficient as we needed to be. The idea was to build a model that would be sustainable through different management regimes, go to market strategies and external changes.

We also looked at re-defining the relationship with sales because their expectations were keeping us entrenched in old behaviors. This made change difficult. I spent a lot of time with the sales leadership. And what I found was that in the end, most of them agreed with our vision for change. They agreed we could add more value for them. They wanted us to be more strategic but we also needed to feed them the services they have come to rely on such as flawless event execution and creative, relevant demand generation programs.

So what did we do to address that? First we needed to specialize. So we put all the program “build” into one Programs team – Industry, LoB and Market category.  our regional teams have become more like Account Directors, gathering strategic requirements from their field stakeholders and bringing those back to the Programs team for build. Then we defined a group called “Growth Marketing” focussed on Digital and Social Marketing, Innovation Portfolio messaging and Events & Sponsorships. Ensuring that these teams work well together and quickly identifying gaps and resolutions is the responsibility of a new role on the team – Head of Strategy.

What is your prediction for the future of marketing?

Marketing will become more traditional before it becomes more transformational.  As marketers focus more and more on improving customer experience, human nature will drive us to use conventional methods of communication to create true intimacy. The phone isn’t going away any time soon.  People want to do business with people.  We need to break through the clutter, establish a connection, build trust and credibility and maintain a relationship over time.  I believe this is a lost art that is not gone but rather sleeping.  Time to wake up!

Published at DZone with permission of Michael Brenner, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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