Analytics vendors, you’ve got company – and other musings from DistribuTECH 2016

“So what do you guys do?”

“Analytics.”

Over and over, this was the answer among those I met and chatted with at DistribuTECH 2016. There were companies doing meter data analytics, operational data analytics, asset lifecycle analytics and more. There were those doing analytics in real-time, analytics over extended time, those doing predictive analytics.

Yup, from my conversations, analytics was big this year. I ran a quick TweetReach report and learned that more than 1.1 million Twitter impressions were created using the #DTECH2016 hashtag together with the word “analytics” during the conference week.  Now those are just the stats from 76 contributors – out of probably over ten thousand attendees – but still…!

How ready are all these analytics providers to achieve their sales and marketing goals with their solutions?  To gauge this, I asked a follow-up question. “Wow, analytics,” I said. “You must have a lot of competition.”

“No, not really,” was the most common answer. 

I’d like to think I happened to run into the few companies working without competitive insights or a strategy. Or perhaps the comments I heard reflected each vendor feeling that their solution is so unique they see no real competitors. As the data and reports come in from analysts and reporters covering the conference, we’ll see more comprehensive information on the emerging trends. Whether or not analytics is the leading one, vendors of any solution will need an informed strategy. Is there a knowledge gap?

At each stage of the fast-evolving energy marketplace, there will likely be some blind spots and some running on gut instinct into the markets. However, when it comes to marketing, our ongoing annual research consistently shows our vertical’s penchant for winging it. In last year’s McDonnell Group Energy B2B Marketing Benchmark survey, only 33 percent of respondents indicated they had a written marketing strategy (although 41 percent more said they had one, they’d just never written it out). It’s a surprising finding for an industry so founded and rooted in data.

For the first time in the six or seven years I’ve attended DistribuTECH, I brought a report for sharing with those I met. It’s the findings of our latest benchmark study. Unlike my unscientific impressions gathered in casual conversations, this survey systematically gathers perspective from what real marketing leaders in our industry are doing. It includes insights from 129 marketing professionals in twelve countries.

This year’s survey closes in a few weeks, but it’s open now – to analytics vendors and anyone else! – who’s a marketer looking for insights into what marketing approaches are being used (and to what effect) in this changing industry.

Last year’s findings are here: https://mcdonnellgroup.leadpages.net/2014-b2b/

Join this year’s study here: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/2015B2BMarketingBenchmark/

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