This Mi6 Round Up includes tips on advertising on LinkedIn, IBM’s Watson and the weather, a glimpse into Salesforce’s enterprise SaaS investment strategy and enterprises thinking and acting as startups. 

Round Ups are published twice a month and feature summaries and opinion on 6 handpicked articles that caught our eye in the areas sales and marketing; technology and the c-suite.

Sales and Marketing

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates the Way to Go?

In “The Best Ad Unit on the Internet”, Andrew Hickey, the Director of Marketing at eCornell, provides some compelling reasons why LinkedIn sponsored updates outperform any type of ad unit he’s seen. One of his three reasons is that sponsored updates on LinkedIn are exactly what users (members) are looking for. Or they could be! The sponsored update below was targeted to me. It’s clearly off target.

Sponsored updates must be done correctly. To do this you must target the right type of people with the right update. An update that focuses on helping those people solve a problem, learn something of value, get something done easier or create opportunity. With that in mind, I think Andrew is right. Most of the noise I’m seeing on LinkedIn is from individuals. How often are you seeing a math puzzle, “famous quote” or dance video in your updates stream from or shared by one of your professional connections?

Top 8 Challenges for B2B Marketers and Salespeople

In this summary of Hubspot’s latest “State of Inbound Marketing in 2015” report the top challenge for marketers is ROI (surprise, surprise). The top 2 priorities for B2B marketers are generating more leads/contacts and converting them. While reports like this are useful, especially if they demonstrate how and why ROI is achieved, this continues to be a persistent problem and need. The reality is no single tactic can be measured for ROI. Instead you need to first define what your objectives are, develop a custom marketing and business development program aimed at achieving those objectives, agree on what to measure and then execute. By the way, what’s the ROI on a sales reps expense account?

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Technology

Will IBM’s Watson Finally Guarantee Tomorrow’s Weather Forecast?

On Oct 28th, IBM announced their plans to acquire the Weather Company’s Product and Technology business. Below is an interview [full interview with text] from Bloomberg Business with John Kelly, Senior Vice President who provides more details about the acquisition. Bloomberg TV’s Cory Johnson and Alex Sherman dissect this deal which they both see as a good move for IBM.

I see this as a data, mobile and cloud play with strategic integration to extend how data is used and made better with Watson. This acquisition will provide a real business case for cognitive computing and artificial intelligence for IBM. Will Watson do for weather what it did for trivia [Video: Final Jeopardy! and the Future of Watson] and provide better and more accurate weather forecast than a human? Most likely, but keep that extra umbrella in the trunk of your car for now!

Salesforce Investing Heavily in Private Enterprise Cloud Startups

In his post “Salesforce – not a VC firm – is now the top investor in one of the hottest tech industries” Eugene Kim reports that Salesforce is funding the most private cloud enterprise software startups being tracked in JMP Securities’ annual Hot 100 list. Enterprise cloud software (SaaS) is one of the fastest growing segments in tech with Forrester forecasting companies projected to spend $106B on it in 2016. It looks like Salesforce knows how to bet on a winning horse, or should I say unicorn?

C-Suite

How Crude is Your Company’s Data?

This is just one question posed by PTC President and CEO Jim Heppelman in “What all executives need to know about the Internet of Things” by Stacey Higginbotham for Fortune. He provides three pieces of advice for executives when it comes to becoming a 21st century company particularly in the areas of technology adoption, innovation and transformation. One quote from the article that stands out to me is this one: “You’ve heard that data is the new oil. Well, data is really the new crude, and it’s useless unless you have someone or a team to refine it”. For example, Hepplemann realized by looking at the data associated with an update to his company’s software that 4% of the bugs caused 80% of the software crashes. This helps them focus on data that matters.

Enterprises Have to Adopt Lean Startup Methodology

Adam Fridman, founder of MeetAdvisors, puts forward a compelling business case for enterprises to adopt the Lean Startup Methodology. In “4 Years After ‘The Lean Startup’, Businesses Look to Innovation and Growth’” Adam interviews Eric Ries one of the pioneers of the lean startup methodology and practices. This article is a good read for managers and executives of large organizations. It helps them understand how startups develop customers, markets and products. And, it provides a good reason why enterprises should adopt startup methodologies and even act and think like one. You can learn more about Eric and Lean Startups on his site “Startup Lessons Learned”.

Chris HerbertChris Herbert is the founder of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing and business development agency dedicated to helping companies build their brands and develop commercial relationships. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.

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