Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Ruxit Blog, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Rex Morrow, Datical, Elizabeth White

Blog Feed Post

Believe The Hype: Why Your Business Needs Marketing Automation

Having lived through the unprecedented growth of the CRM software category, I never thought I’d see another category of marketing software reach similar levels of such frenzied adoption, but just this one time, maybe I was wrong.

I spend my days advising companies on marketing strategy, and in particular, on the use of marketing technology platforms to drive business growth. Based on that experience, I can say that I’ve seen more companies evaluate and deploy marketing automation in the past 12 months than in the previous five years combined. In fact, Sirius Decisions predicts that 50 percent of B2B organizations will use marketing automation by 2015, up from just 20 percent in 2012. Why the sudden, rapid growth?  I believe there are a few factors at play, and a few feature sets that have become more accessible and vital, making now the time for marketing automation adoption.

Growth, Competition and Consolidation Are Good for Customers

Earlier this spring, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak with a Salesforce.com user group about marketing automation. In particular, I wanted to highlight how the last few years have brought extraordinary growth and change to the marketing automation space, and my belief that this change has accelerated the ease of use, affordability, and adoption of marketing automation tools. This is a case where Mr. Adam Smith was indeed right and capitalism is driving better results for the market.

Consider a few of the following milestones:

  • March 2011 – HubSpot raised $32 million from Google Ventures, Salesforce.com, and Sequoia Capital
  • August 2012 – Eloqua went public and by December 2012 was acquired by Oracle for over $800 million
  • October 2012 – ExactTarget acquired Pardot for $95.5 million
  • January 2013 – Salesforce acquires ExactTarget (and Pardot) for $2.5 billion
  • May 2013 – Marketo went public at a valuation of $550 million

With the strengthening of some of the major players in the space, competition among them has increased, feature sets have been enhanced, and costs have in many cases decreased, making marketing automation more accessible. Couple this with the rise of the more data-driven modern marketer, and we’ve hit a critical marketing automation inflection point.

More Accessible Features Become Better Understood – and More Valued

As is the case with most marketing activities, planning, marketing and sales alignment, in combination with remarkable content, spell marketing automation success. For those just beginning to evaluate marketing automation, or even existing users, it’s hard to start using every single aspect of the tool right out of the gate. While most marketing automation platforms offer a large number of features and a high level of sophistication, it was previously a challenge to understand where and how to use some of those really cool options.

But newer platforms and developments have made implementation and use easier. Regardless of the platform you choose to license, I’ve seen the recent growth in adoption tied to these key components:

Lead Scoring

It sounds simple, but focusing your sales efforts to your most qualified and most sales-ready leads can be a game-changing concept for many companies. A marketing automation platform allows a company to understand the actions that a potential customer takes, and then add or deduct points from that user’s profile. They can then use that score to determine when the prospect is ready for follow-up and what that follow-up should be. Marketo’s Big List of Lead Scoring Rules is one of a number of quality lead scoring resources provided on its site, and downloading it will up your lead score for them too – how meta.

Lead Nurturing

Have you ever gone to a website, downloaded a guide, eBook, etc., and had your phone ring almost immediately with a call from a representative of that company? That’s kinda creepy, right? Most leads aren’t sales-ready after the very first touch.  Marketing automation tools let companies set up lead nurturing programs, allowing them to drop content out over a period of time to give prospects additional information, measure changes in the lead scoring, and warm them up for sales. Eloqua’s Grande Guide to Lead Nurturing is an excellent and quickly consumable primer on lead nurturing.

Automation/Efficiency

With the word automation right in the title, you had to know that this one was coming. When properly configured, deployed, and optimized, automation rules can be very powerful and help a marketer to address tasks that were previously executed manually. These manual tasks would typically end up either:

A)   Taking forever to get done, or

B)    Never getting done because they took forever

By automating tasks with simple or complex rules, marketers can get more done, faster.  Automatically adding people to an email list after a certain behavior, automatically moving them through sales stages or setting CRM follow-up tasks, or automatically sending a follow-up message after an event are just a few examples of some simple automation rules. This simple example from Pardot and another from HubSpot illustrate how these rules work.

Measurement

ROI. Proof. Marketing accountability. Revenue performance. The list goes on and on. Now more than ever, marketing is being held to trackable metrics. While it’s easy to calculate simple metrics – like my recent lunchtime achievements of consuming 1.4 pounds of hot food or 113.09 square inches of pizza – businesses are beginning to care less and less about vanity metrics like Facebook likes and page views, and more about business metrics like qualified lead sources, days in each stage of a sales cycle, and revenue generated per campaign.  Bad news for the vanity metrics of my lunch, but good news for those in marketing who want to prove we actually contribute to revenue. The tracking built into marketing automation, along with closed-loop CRM integration, allows marketers to truly show impact on revenue and the campaigns and channels generating it, allowing for ongoing optimization. Taken one step further, business intelligence (BI) tools connected to your marketing automation platform like Pardot’s GoodData allow you to easily analyze, report and visualize data from your marketing automation tool and CRM to wow the C-suite.

While these features only scratch the surface of the sophistication that most marketing automation platforms offer, if you’re looking for a justification to invest in marketing automation, start with these four. Couple the right platform with the right modern marketer to guide the strategy, and you’ll soon understand the power of marketing automation.

Marketing technology is only as effective as the strategy and content that goes into it. Get content marketing guidance you can use from Right Source and other industry experts in our free content marketing eBook: “How to Grow Your Business with Content Marketing.”

Agree? Disagree?  Think I missed a key driver for growth or think I’m just a geek pushing software? Please share your take in the comments below.

The post Believe The Hype: Why Your Business Needs Marketing Automation appeared first on Right Source Marketing.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Will Davis

Right Source Marketing helps organizations build their marketing strategy, organize the structure to accommodate that strategy, and deliver the specific services to execute that strategy. We do this through a unique model that provides senior level strategic consulting as well as specific services that cover every area of an organization’s marketing plan.

@ThingsExpo Stories
We’re entering a new era of computing technology that many are calling the Internet of Things (IoT). Machine to machine, machine to infrastructure, machine to environment, the Internet of Everything, the Internet of Intelligent Things, intelligent systems – call it what you want, but it’s happening, and its potential is huge. IoT is comprised of smart machines interacting and communicating with other machines, objects, environments and infrastructures. As a result, huge volumes of data are being generated, and that data is being processed into useful actions that can “command and control” thi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Collecting data in the field and configuring multitudes of unique devices is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that can stretch IT resources. Horan & Bird [H&B], Australia’s fifth-largest Solar Panel Installer, wanted to automate sensor data collection and monitoring from its solar panels and integrate the data with its business and marketing systems. After data was collected and structured, two major areas needed to be addressed: improving developer workflows and extending access to a business application to multiple users (multi-tenancy). Docker, a container technology, was used to ...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...