The 2012 Gartner Symposium in Orlando  (#GartnerSYM) told the story of how our new hero – the Nexus of Forces, with its ability to combine the powers of Information, Cloud, Social, and Mobile – has met a mysterious new love interest called digital marketing. In a well-attended session called, “Why Digital Marketing Is Going to Rock Your World (or Commoditize You)!” Yvonne Genovese set the stage and established the baseline of the Strategic Initiatives track for the 5-day conference that focused waves of IT leaders on the quest for a deeper understanding of digital marketing.

At the center of this union we find the digital marketing agencies, who have long awaited the world to recognize the deep strategic significance of their craft. Gartner shined its spotlight here with the release of its first Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Agencies which has created buzz throughout the event. We’ve also weighed on in what marketing agencies (and not just digital ones) need to do with their clients to gain competitive advantage and prevail over the challenge from digital technologies that threaten commoditization in a report called IT Must Prepare for the Impact of Value-Based Compensation for Marketing Services.

Meanwhile, the plot thickens as we look ahead at the future of digital marketing and its wild and dangerous liaison with the Nexus.  In a pitch called “The Rise of Influence Engineering,” I laid out a scenario in which organizations learn how to master techniques of applied psychology to bring marketing and IT together around powerful “patterns of influence” set loose in the Nexus. Unfortunately I can’t share the pitch here, but ZDNet commented on it in an article called Can Big Data Engineer Marketing Influence? Watch for more on “influence engineering.”

We also covered numerous digital marketing-related topics from attribution modeling to sentiment analysis to selling to the CIO. The climax of this chapter is a CMO panel hosted by Jennifer Beck – “Marketing in the Digital Age: What we need from our CIOs” – to be repeated in an upcoming webinar of the same name.

As the event winds down, two things are clear: Gartner is now focused squarely on digital marketing’s starring role in the nexus story, and the technology world is paying attention. And so is the marketing world.


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