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Tech & Marketing: Utterly Intertwined

Originally posted on BMA Buzz

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Paul Miller, CEO, UBM Tech

At UBM Tech’s Online Marketing Summit (OMS) last week in Santa Clara, Calif., there was a laser-like focus on how technology is affecting B2B marketers. “Tech and marketing are completely and utterly intertwined right now,” said Paul Miller, CEO of UBM Tech, whose brands include InformationWeek and the Interop and Black Hat events. Miller, a national board member of the BMA, spoke with BMA Buzz about the wedding of IT and marketing as well as a new organizational structure at UBM Tech designed to streamline sales.

BMA Buzz: In light of all of the secular changes in B2B marketing, what are the biggest challenges to enhance the relationship between business publishers and marketers?

Paul Miller:  The biggest challenge is the whole impact of technology on marketing itself. At the very sort of top end, the challenge that that provides is how the systems talk to one another; how lead gen capability talks to the back-end capability that a customer or marketer may have, assuming they have one.

So the biggest challenge we have is how we make sure that there’s a connection between buyer and seller. How we’re dealing with that is that we’ve spent a lot of time and invested quite a lot of money in creating the right people skills internally.

[We’ve done] a lot of hiring of programmers, development folks, analytics folks in the audience area; stats graduates; all of that type of skill set to help us understand more how to make sure our systems are talking to the systems the marketers have or would like to have.

BMA Buzz: In May the previously separate businesses of UBM TechWeb, UBM Electronics and UBM Channel were reorganized as a single unit, UBM Tech.  How is the change affecting your relationship with customers and prospects?

Miller: We’re seeing real tangible examples of how things that have worked in one part of the business fully apply into another part of the business. It would have been difficult, I think, to have implemented it in our past existence because we were sort of siloed business units.

Now, although we still maintain a focus on the needs of the end-market, and they are slightly different, in many cases the needs of the marketing community are converging. That’s where the real rubber meets the road.

As the marketing community is increasingly spending more money on its own media—in the paid, earned, owned vernacular—one of the things we’re finding they’re having quite a lot of trouble with is content; how to create content, how to manage content. That is a need across the entire technology spectrum, be it a semiconductor company, electronics company or channel provider.

BMA Buzz: Soon after the reorganization you introduced a new organizational structure. How is that changing the way you provide your products and services to marketers?

Miller: Instead of having three IT groups, we have one. [Previously], we had three separate solutions in three groups for one particular problem; it was actually a problem for online directories.

People are heads down, trying to come up with the right solution for their market. But, as it turns out, each of those different directory solutions had gaps in terms of what they were offering. And if you smush them all together—and, by the way, that is a really easier thing to say than do—and we take the best of each we’re going to have a much more fully fledged solution than we currently have. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

We can focus our Web development teams on the first part of the problem, which is how do we get better technology that interacts with the technology of our customers; that’s a real value-add, as opposed to having three Web development teams work on three separate directories.  Have one team work on one directory solution [and] have the other two teams work on what the customer is looking for.

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Originally posted on BMA Buzz

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