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Marketing automation is a very active segment of the CRM software market. Not only are new vendors entering the market, but existing market leaders are constantly innovating and delivering new product updates. Today, the majority of solutions can be split into business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) solutions. The two groupings are very different and so are their functional needs. Businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B) firms have longer sales cycles and engage in more relationship building activities. Businesses that sell to consumers (B2C) rely more on brand and high-volume direct outreach efforts. This overview aims to improve understanding of how marketing software applications work and provide an update on trends every buyer should know.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Henry Procter is credited with saying “I know I waste half of my advertising dollars. I just wish that I knew which half.” This is precisely the question that this software answers. It assists firms in developing, executing, and tracking campaigns. Managers use these systems to automate workflows, manage collateral, track prospect behavior, and qualify leads before they are passed to sales.
B2B systems have sophisticated lead generation and lead management capabilities. For example, lead scoring functions score leads based on demographics (e.g. geography, industry, size) and behavior (e.g. website activity, responses to campaigns). The resulting scores ensure that the sales department only receives qualified leads that are close to making a purchase. For leads that are not ready to buy, marketing tracking software provides campaign management, which helps marketers to foster the relationship through techniques such as drip and “stay in touch” campaigns.
B2C systems tend to manage vast databases of customer data - often millions of records. These systems have sophisticated tools for analyzing and segmenting customers into different categories of buyers. Markets can then execute specific campaigns, or “treatments” for each segment. Campaigns are typically designed to elicit a direct response, such as returning to a website to make a purchase. Alternatively, campaigns may feed a target prospect list into a call center systems for telesales outreach.
MA software also provides companies with advanced reporting and analytics to measure the performance of initiatives. This allows managers to see which campaigns and channels are driving leads, along with the costs and revenue of those initiatives. In the end, this helps organizations decide how to better allocate resources.
We believe that most buyers segment into the following four categories:
For detailed analysis of the top buyers trends among marketing automation buyers, visit our Marketing Automation Software BuyerView | 2014 report here.
|This type of buyer...||Should evaluate these systems|
|B2C enterprise buyer||Aprimo (Terradata), Unica (IBM)|
|B2B enterprise buyer||Eloqua, InfusionSoft, Marketo, Manticore, Pardot, Genoo|
|CRM suite buyer||Oracle CRM, SAP, Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM|
|Email emphasis buyer||Alsamarketing, Constant Contact, InfusionSoft, Vertical Response|
To see additional reviews and comparisons, visit MA Software Guide.
There are a number of market trends that buyers should understand, including:
Buyers who successfully implement a MA system should expect to realize the following benefits:
Issues with MA software often results from unrealistic expectations and poor implementations. For example, this software cannot make a bad service or product into a good service or product. If the collateral is bad or misses the point, MA will simply deliver a bad message more efficiently. Finally, if the wrong target market is selected, effective delivery to that target market will not help the bottom line.
The industry has experienced recent pricing volatility due to rising competitive pressures, particularly for shoppers in the lower end of the revenue spectrum. The plethora of new automated marketing solutions has pushed down prices, but also complicated the marketing automation comparisons process. Buyers now have many options, ranging from highly complex and customizable to basic email marketing automation tools.
The cost shift has also affected the industry in another way. Smaller companies are able to consider automated marketing software for the first time, where before they wouldn’t have had the budget. Below are recent announcements from four popular marketing automation vendors.
SilverPop - On May 14, SilverPop released a free Facebook application described as helping marketers “convert likes into revenue.” The automated email marketing developer said the tool--dubbed Social Pull--allows users to unify social and automated lead generation processes. Marketers can easily create landing pages and social forums to capture customer interactions on a business Facebook page. The application also includes a form builder and “like-gate” that allows companies to require visitors to like the page to access additional content.
Marketo - On April 18, Marketo acquired social campaign management developer Crowd Factory Inc. to augment its popular marketing automation platform. Officials said the combined solution allows marketers to amplify and measure social-enabled campaigns in greater detail. Users can now integrate Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social channels into campaigns in a way that encourages sharing.
"Crowd Factory pioneered the idea of Social ROI by empowering marketers to push viral campaigns throughout the social web, and then track that valuable social activity back to individual influencers and conversions," Crowd Factory Sanjay Dholakia said in a press release.
HubSpot - On May 15, Hubspot launched new email software and an improved contact database. Officials said the tools are meant to improve marketing to existing and new customers through a unified client database. The resource also integrates with CRM systems to promote increased intimacy with the sales team. Marketers can track online browsing history, email history, form submissions and social media information all in one place. Customers can then be segmented and targeted according to behavior collected through automated marketing systems. The email campaign capabilities allow for greater personalization to email body, subject line and sender information.