FutureM Thoughts

Posted by Kate Jurras on Wed, Nov 7, 2012

john francis resized 600Throughout November we'll be sharing recaps, follow-ups and reflections on FutureM from our amazing event partners. This post is by John Francis. John blogs at www.ontios.com and www.platformsconsulting.com on a variety of topics including: strategy, positioning and early stage technology adoption and the evolving role of platforms in technology. John consults to both emerging and established software and technology companies and can be reached at jfrancis@ontios.com.

The 3rd iteration of the MITX FutureM conference just concluded, and it continues to grow into a bigger and better forum for exploring the new trends and technologies that are driving marketing forward in new and interesting ways. To see this conference evolve from an idea at a MITX board meeting several years ago to a conference of this scale is incredible. I enjoyed running a session on “Enterprise Software Marketing in an Open Source World” with two terrific panelists, Mike Werner from Red Hat and Bryan House from Acquia, two of the most successful examples of our topic. I also had the opportunity to attend a number of other sessions and have commented on a few of my favorite sessions below.

Consumer Behavior Will Change Marketing Forever

Gary Singer, the CEO of Buyology, a company based on the excellent book of the same name by Martin Lindstrom, gave a wonderful presentation discussing the importance of the unconscious mind in decision making. His correlation of “cool” as a measure of future success was interesting, and his discussion of the critical “Brand Relationship Drivers” (below) was very interesting.

  1. Storytelling
  2. Power from the Enemy
  3. Mystery
  4. Sense of Belonging
  5. Rituals
  6. Grandeur 
  7. Evangelism
  8. Vision 
  9. Sensory 
  10. Symbols

Future Simple & DataXu

Chris Colbert, a MITX Board Member and, from my recollection as a board member at the time, one of the three originators (including Brian Halligan, the CEO of Hubspot and Joe Grimaldi, the CEO of Mullen), of the concept that has become FutureM, did a terrific job in his “Future: Simple” session.

Chris shared a number of experience-based graphics, exploring Einstein’s idea of simplification (that it should be as simple as possible, but no simpler). He joked that while interesting, many of these graphics were backed by experience rather than research. His presentation was excellent, corroborating research or not, and his focus on concepts such as the “Shelf Life of Zero” and the importance of passion and intuition were very interesting.

This latter point stands in contrast to the DataXu event “Data Brew: The Data-driven Power Shift." Mike Baker, the CEO of DataXu, was joined by Tom Davenport, visiting Professor at HBS and Chuck Hollis, VP, Global Marketing CTO at EMC, to discuss and demystify Big Data. While the term Big Data is ubiquitous, clarity around what it is and where it is taking us is somewhat less obvious. One of their central themes was that “perceptual bias stands in the way of the data." In other words, sometimes our “intuition” and our “experience” cloud us to the reality of what the data says and limit our interest in creating data-driven enterprises. Each of the panelists reinforced the idea that most marketing organizations that have fully embraced technologies like the incredible DataXu product either have a new CEO or a new CMO who is comfortable changing how the way things are done notwithstanding organizational history.

Tools like DataXu’s allow for a fundamental rethinking of how highly trained professionals do their jobs, and this can upset hierarchies that are frequently based on this sector experience that can breed “Perceptual Bias." Comfort with analytics, fluid decision-making and experience are the new ingredients for the successful marketer, and the FutureM conference was a great place to quickly immerse yourself in some of the most promising emerging capabilities.

Here is a link to the FutureM schedule which includes each of the sessions referred to in this posting.

What did you learn from FutureM? Share your thoughts in the comments!