Michael Ballard

Senior Manager of Global Digital Marketing

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What marketing automation platform are you using and how long has it been a part of your tech stack?

Throughout the company, we have a mixture of Eloqua and Marketo. This varies region by region and business unit by business unit. However, there is a longer-term vision for Lenovo to consolidate to a single platform due to other company consolidations. This will help increase global efficiencies, processes and reporting. This will also allow us to have a true center of marketing automation excellence.

What are the key features you utilize and find critical on a daily basis? Why?

Nothing has really changed in our dependency of marketing automation systems in many years. It still remains the core marketing database, nurture, identification, email, lead scoring and lead capture platform. What is exciting to see are the platforms trying to differentiate themselves through innovation and adding features that support ABM, deeper marketing analytics and third-party data sources. The key to the MAP battle will be who has the best data integrations. This will allow marketers to intelligently orchestrate all activities.

Do you believe that you are maximizing the use of your MAP? Why or why not?

I would say we are using the foundations of our MAP to the max. However, we are not using it as efficiently as we could. We have a large number of available integrations, data improvements and analytics; we simply need to take a step back and simplify our use to ensure we are using it well and with excellence. MAPs are moving far beyond just email and data management. It’s time to bring it all together.

What are the challenges limiting your abilities to leverage the full functionality of your chosen MAP?

Our biggest challenge is ourselves having to decide between resource or project priority constraints. In other words, other marketing and company priorities need to be handled first. It’s kind of like that room in your house where you keep your unpacked boxes after moving. You say to yourself, “One of these days, I’ll clean it up.”

What are the features/functionalities you are looking for your MAP to incorporate in 2019 to improve performance? Why?

Integrations, integrations, integrations. With the MAP at the center of our tech stack universe, we need the ability to have command and control. I look towards MAPs to provide that. However, my fear (due to recent moves) is the path of MAP integrations will become deep but not wide. In other words, their best integrations will stay within their own family or ownership. The greater marketing world will not benefit if this is the case. We’ve all seen the graphic of martech logos. Our options are endless. And to be stuck with only a small corner of options is not ideal for marketing organizations.

What is your New Year’s resolution for marketing automation?

Consolidate, clean up, integrate, expand and repeat! In some cases, we have years worth of data, integrations, automations, filters, etc. In order to be nimble, we need to clean the house.

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