Michael Ballard, Demand Generation Strategy & Operations Manager at Lenovo, is a marketing professional with over 14 years of B2B marketing experience in the technology marketplace targeting a variety of segments, including the government and healthcare markets. Hear him speak at INmarket on how Lenovo uses predictive intelligence to expand into new markets and find greenfield accounts (July 8 in San Francisco).
6s: What’s your background and experience, particularly with data? And your current role at Lenovo?
MB: My background is primarily B2B digital and strategic marketing. It wasn’t until the last couple of years that I was required to start working with data to make marketing decisions. I was born and tattooed a right-brained person. I was never excited by data. In fact, I would run the other way– until I saw what I could do with the data. Having access to data removes guesswork and gives me the ability to make non-subjective decisions. Data makes everything black and white. This discovery has powered the left side of my brain to a greater level than I ever thought possible.
I lead Lenovo’s digital marketing team for the North American B2B market. Our team consists of disciplines for outbound, inbound, web, content, creative, social and demand generation. We are tasked with getting people into and through the funnel as fast as possible.
6s: What are the biggest pain points you are seeing for today’s marketers?
MB: Targeting the correct customer. We market many product sets with many different buyers and influencers. The tough part is many of them have the same titles, and educated guesses can only get you so far.
6s: How is predictive intelligence helping you address the pain?
MB: Predictive intelligence has allowed us to remove the guesswork out of targeting. By using both our data and third-party data, we can target not only based on the contact’s product of interest, but also when the time is right to communicate with them.
6s: What is your vision for the data-driven marketing organization at Lenovo?
MB: Data-driven decision making will be required for almost everything we do. The days of “I think…” will go away and be replaced with “the data shows…”
6s: What advice do you have for marketers looking to implement predictive intelligence?
MB: Communicate the concept of predictive intelligence with your stakeholders and sales. Make sure they understand the full value and potential because it’s not a cheap or easy proposition. Then start small. Start with a pilot and prove its value to your stakeholders. That can make the budgeting process much easier with real-world ROI. Plus, this approach allows you to focus and optimize the foundation before you start to expand to additional channels, programs and models.