Check Out the BLOG for Digital Marketing and Online Business

Marketing Automation

The key benefits of Marketing Automation Marketing Automation (MA) is currently the hottest sector in the CRM space with 40 per cent year on year growth. First adopted by the technology companies, who adore technology it has now permeated into many other sectors including publishing, financial services, business services and manufacturing. The technology is fast changing too and can incorporate both inbound (PR and social media) and outbound (email and web intelligence) functionality as well as traditional CRM integration and digital asset management. For all the lead scoring, automated lead nurturing, CRM integration, dynamic content, preference centres the real key benefits of deploying Marketing Automation are: 1. The ability to scale; running multiple campaigns at the same time in order to satisfy demand management and the demands for quality pipeline. 2. A single view of the customer; relationships and behaviour tracking not transactions and spread sheet juggling. 3. It puts marketing back on the front foot; with continuous campaigns running longer than the buying cycle it is now possible to not just measure campaign ROI but really forecast future revenues. Those organisations that invest in Marketing Automation and then execute it properly are at a major advantage to those organisations that don’t. More importantly they place themselves on the front foot for additional credibility within the rest of the organisation. What are the differences between email and Marketing Automation? Marketing Automation is a confusing term it doesn’t really mean anything and indeed a lot of the MA vendors are trying to carve out new positioning with terms such as ‘multi- channel marketing’, ‘behavioural based marketing’ ‘all in one marketing’ or (most tragically) the ‘marketing system of record for the modern marketer’. Unlike email, MA has the following key benefits it has a memory and true automation. By this we mean it has the ability to track an individual’s behaviour over time and record the engagement and then automate the subsequent next action. It can remember campaigns, assets, workflow, opt-outs, unsubscribes, and preferences. The main features of a Marketing Automation platform Unless a MA platform has the following core characteristics it cannot call itself a MA platform and is frankly of little use to you. It must have: The ability to send email (outbound) The ability to store campaign assets in a library The ability to store customer and prospect records The ability to automate a multi-touch marketing campaign The ability to score customers and prospects based on who they are and their engagement. The ability to talk to other platforms (an API) e.g. CRM or Webinar integration The ability to automate tasks and map the organisation workflow Increasingly, social media is becoming a more important feature, and the pace of development is rapid. Marketers know it is important to balance the outbound with the inbound and so the following social media functionality is now popping up in a lot of MA platforms. Social listening e.g. listening for conversations on Twitter Share to social e.g. adding the ‘likes’ and ‘forward to a friend’ functionality Social sign-on e.g. the ability to market content on platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook and automatically embed the user profile data within the MA platform for seamless behavioural tracking So what is MA really about then? It is fundamentally about you and your willingness to drive change for the better in an organisation. For all the feature differences between email and Marketing Automation the real benefits of an effective MA deployment is the ability to drive change in an organisation. Those marketers that adopt MA are drivers of real change in a business, those that don’t do it or don’t do it well, will simply be left behind. It is incumbent on the modern marketer to build an information architecture and leave a coherent marketing framework and a lasting legacy behind. Otherwise all that is left is a lot of spent energy and wasted marketing budget. Part 2 Which platform is right for you? At CleverTouch we’ve been involved in Marketing Automation since 2003, when the founders were early pioneers of the technology. CleverTouch is now the fastest growing European consultancy in Marketing Automation with more experience, on more MA platforms, than anyone else globally. As a company CleverTouch has helped over 120 organisations adopt MA efficiently and effectively, and are the trusted voice of Econsultancy, the IDM and recognised by Forrester Research for their expertise in this space. This part of the guide is written to fast track your understanding and provide a snapshot of the various technologies out there. Mergers & Acquisition (M&A) in the MA space While there are literally 1000’s of email providers the MA space is already rather consolidated; with strong incumbents and several vendors being acquired by larger email vendors or enterprise software vendors. The acquisitions have been driven by those who see the potential in MA and want to integrate the functionality into their own existing products or create new marketing software subsidiaries in their own right. Whatever their strategy all the acquirers are recognising that the key to revenue outperformance isn’t in the contact database with the CRM, but in the campaign forecasting capabilities and in the opportunity for scale and doing more with less, all of which Marketing Automation provides. In the last 18 months the following acquisitions have occurred (in approximate chronological order) 1. Aprimo acquired by Teradata 2. Unica acquired by IBM 3. Pardot acquired by ExactTarget 4. Manticore Technology acquired by Sales Engine International 5. LeadFormix acquired by Callidus Software 6. Eloqua acquired by Oracle 7. Pardot/ExactTarget acquired by 8. Neolane acquired by Adobe 9. Microsoft acquires Marketing Pilot Of the major players, the only ones still independent are Hubspot, Act-on Software & Marketo. The former two are VC funded and so a trade sale or public listing are inevitable, whilst Marketo recently IPO’d on the NASDAQ stock market. For those that fail to gain significant market traction, their technology IP is being consumed by larger software companies, and in many cases is simply parked; Oracle’s acquisition on Market2 Lead in 2010 was a classic example. The core capabilities of any MA platform To be a credible MA platform the following core features are a pre-requisite:- 1. A database for contact management 2. An email engine for outbound activity 3. A lead scoring model for scoring behaviour and contacts over time 4. Web tracking 5. A digital asset library for use and re-use of assets 6. A programmable workflow for true automation 7. CRM integration with bi-directional capability Increasingly the following are also becoming pre-requisites; 8. A social strategy to re-purpose and rebalance assets over, both outbound and inbound channels, and track the behaviours across both 9. An infrastructure and ecosystem mentality; including platform partners and technology alliances with cloud connectors. 10. A search capability integrated to both Google and the website that can be tracked and scored. Amongst the leading platforms, functionality is largely the same; however, depth of functionality and complexity can have a significant impact on time to marketing and the skill sets required can range from simplistic and intuitive to the more advanced and expert. Please don’t assume all these features are out of the box in all platforms; until fairly recently two of the most popular platforms either re-used an email engine from a partner supplier or didn’t have email capability at all. Ready, Aim, Fire In all cases, it‘s important to plan properly and to organise the data; think multi-touch campaign and multiple campaigns. If that‘s done well then the results and revenue outperformance can be staggering. Time to ‘first marketing campaign’ should be one of your major milestones. From a change management perspective, an effective deployment can mean the modern marketer putting marketing on the front foot and forecasting future outcomes rather than justifying ROI and job preservation. Some brief examples: Acronis, a leader in desktop virtualisation, went from four-five attendees per webinar to 250-300 when they implemented a logical three-phase approach. Trend Micro, in partnership with Dell, increased revenue by over 400 per cent as a result of fully automated campaigns; such was the success of the campaign that that same campaign has now being running for three and an half years. NTRGlobal were able to forecast future revenues based on past campaign activity; this resulted in a 35 per cent performance improvement in over just four months. The most tragic cases are when inappropriate platforms have been chosen through a lack of understanding of the options and the appropriate resource or skillsets aren’t put in place. Please don’t be sold on the demo or the likeability of the salesperson, they may not be around after the contract is signed. Ensure you meet the post-delivery team or have a trusted partner to support you it really is a journey. Why listen to CleverTouch, what sets us apart? Whereas Gartner or SiriusDecisions will give you a theoretical or analytical assessment of the platforms we can provide an analytical and a practical marketing assessment. As marketers we have been implementing MA ‘client side’ since 2003 and in the last five years alone we have helped implement or support over 120 existing MA installations. Simply put, we have more experience, on more platforms, than anyone else globally. As such we have developed this overview to help whittle down the appropriate vendors for your consideration set. We hope we haven’t offended anyone too much in our assessment, as like Switzerland, we pride ourselves on our independence and objectivity. All the views expressed in this document are entirely our own and are not written to cause offence to any vendor but to provide our own independent perspective. Your MA consideration set graphically HubSpot We first looked at HubSpot several years ago. We love the founder’s book ‘Inbound Marketing’ and their content and material is fabulous; as are its free marketing tools such as website grader, now morphed into marketing grader, which are fun too. However, at the time of the research the product made no real sense for any business beyond one with a local customer base. The content and hype around Hubspot is infectious, however, the product had some significant shortfalls and until recently could not really be considered a true Marketing Automation platform. For example it had a proprietary content management system but no email capability. What has changed is the funding into Hubspot; Google, Sequoia Capital and all invested and that in itself makes it now worth re-visiting. We think Hubspot has approximately 17,000 websites using the platform, which is quite impressive and would make them, by customer base, the largest vendor in the space. However we think that at least half of these customers probably have the wrong software. Hubspot isn’t cheap and doesn’t scale well for hungry users with large potential prospect bases; for the same cost they could have something much more scalable, usable and robust. This is where hype has won over functionality and good sense. Well done to HubSpot, named by Inc. and Forbes as one of the fastest, most promising, growth companies, but unless the platform develops significantly over the next few years, we’d avoid it in favour of some of the other more robust and comprehensive platforms listed below. Pardot Pardot is a great platform for the SMB and

Check Out the Blog for Digital Marketing and Online Business