Here is an interview with the fabulous Terri Rylander, innovative and creative Business Intelligence marketing consultant and the principal of Advanced Marketing Collateral . As the BI marketing wars heat up, cost pressures on optimize marketing ROI and emerging marketing channels will lead to a trend in which BI vendors would choose the best resources not just the in-house resources. Marketing communication remain the un-sung heroes of Business Intelligence with all the glamour and focus on the techies- who surprisingly are now building more and more similar algorthms. Design in user interfaces and creativity in marketing could be a new tool in marketing Business Intelligence.
Ajay- Explain briefly what it is you do in the business intelligence space.
Terri- I am a freelance writer creating marketing material for BI vendors. I create case studies, white papers, brochures, articles, web content and short copy like e-mails and postcards. Because I’m still a techie girl at heart, I also design and develop websites including WordPress customization which is quite popular now.
Ajay- How did you come to specialize in marketing for BI?
Terri- In the late ‘90s I went to work as a web developer for a large telecommunication company. In just a few years, I began managing the development group. Then I was asked to come to a young wireless company and manage their reporting group. After building out a solid enterprise reporting system (that still stands today), I went after a more holistic approach to reporting and analysis and created one of the first BICCs (business intelligence competency centers) in the country. Our group managed the oversight of the entire BI program including strategy, training, data quality, end user support, and BI communications. After some shifting in the winds, I knew it was time to move on.
In looking for that next “thing” I did a fair amount of soul searching. I knew I wanted a career that was both flexible and portable. I thought, “Why not use my experience in BI to create the very things I had consumed as a customer?” That’s when Advanced Marketing Collateral was born.
Ajay- How do you see the BI market place changing?
Terri- I guess that’s part of why I’ve been drawn to the BI field all these years. It just continues to change and improve. Just when you think they’ve done it all, a totally new concept emerges. However, I don’t envy the vendors. The competition is always at your heels. It seems like all the vendors have a solution for every industry or business line (though not so much for the emerging corporate sustainability area). Vendors have to continually experiment with new features and directions. Some will succeed and others will fail. It’s increasingly important and now even easier to communicate with both potential and existing customers, letting them know where you’re going and why, getting feedback, and just getting them to know more about the personality of your company. This can create such a strong bond.
Ajay- So how has that changed the way vendors should market their BI products?
Terri- It used to be you took out ads in the various BI publications, published and sent 12 page white papers, put up a website with technical descriptions for your products, and sent your sales force off to do “dog-and-pony” shows at prospective customer sites. Most of that is still valid, but we have so many more channels now. Combine that with the increased speed of the business and decreased attention span and you suddenly see that what used to work is not as effective anymore. Prospects want relevant information that they can quickly absorb and use to make decisions. This means more small bites which is why Twitter, blogging, and even Facebook are increasing in use in the B2B and especially BI space.
Ajay-You mentioned corporate sustainability. What is that and how does it relate to BI?
Terri- Corporate sustainability, also known as corporate social responsibility (CSR) is looking beyond just the financial returns of a company and also includes both social and environmental returns. Many of the Fortune 500 companies have already implemented CSR programs and some even have a dedicated C-level person in charge. With corporate strategies now coordinated three ways (financial, social, environmental), it’s even more important that metrics are tracked to ensure positive progress and alert where issues may be rising. Because CSR is so data-dependent, it makes good sense that BI vendors should be supporting this emerging area. I have only seen two major vendors play in this space (all of CSR, not just green data centers), so it has a lot of potential.
Ajay- Describe what you do for work life balance.
Terri- I am thoroughly enjoying what I do. I’m passionate about BI and its value to the business. I have many great relationships with many wonderful people in the BI space, and I have that portable, flexible career I’ve been looking for. When I’m not working on BI marketing projects, you’ll likely find me volunteering at our local animal shelter, walking and feeding dogs. I have a big heart for animals, especially homeless ones. I’ve also become very interested in photography and have had fun dabbling in that.
Terri Rylander is a freelance writer, who after 10 years as a customer, now produces the very content she used to consume. She works with large, Fortune 1000 companies and small startup vendors to build up content resources including case studies, white papers, brochures, articles, and other marketing collateral. She also does website development and WordPress customization. You can find Terri on Twitter on @BIMarcom or visit her blog at blog.chooseamc.com or site at www.chooseamc.com.