I recently read an article by Jeff Pedowitz about the state of marketing automation and it caused me to think back to a lunch I had with Jeff just a couple of short years ago. At that time he was employee number one of a one person company and he has since experienced rapid growth; no doubt due to his background and the fine work of his experienced team. I caught up with Jeff recently and I think you will enjoy reading his thoughts on the state of marketing automation today:
Do you feel that part of the problem with marketing automation's growth is power shifting away from marketing? If so, why has that occurred and what should marketers do about it?
This is not a problem, but an opportunity. For marketing automation to truly take hold in the enterprise, more departments like IT and Finance need to weigh in. It is occurring because revenue is an enterprise wide problem and no successful enterprise software platform finds wide market acceptance without winning over IT. Marketing should embrace it.
Marketing automation looks hard as compared to email marketing solutions, as an example. Do you feel that the adoption rate is a function of individuals recognizing that they don’t have the content, staff and processes to make it work?
Certainly the complexity and usability of most platforms has slowed adoption. Vendors are getting much better at making the applications easier to use and are producing templates that streamline adoption. However, this is still a comprehensive exercise any way you look at it. Enterprises will be successful when they embrace the change and optimize their processes.
Could marketing automation be a solution that requires a barrier to entry that might, in fact, call for more aggressive pricing rather than lower pricing?
Pay-for-performance pricing could be a very useful trigger to drive faster marketing adoption.
In your article you mention the need to solve key vertical challenges. Can you provide a couple of examples?
Manufacturer's dealing with OEM and distributors—trying to develop marketing and lead programs for a distributed partner network.
Sports and Entertainment delivering personalized messages to drive more ticket sales.
It would appear that marketing automation vendors share a certain enmity when it comes to their competitors. Could this be part of what is holding the industry back?
It certainly isn't helping. Vendors need to work much harder at collaborating to educate the market. The bickering and obsessive competition is turning prospects away.
Despite what I believe is adequate concern on the part of marketing automation vendors, many if not most of those who implement a solution do so with little planning, process or dedicated people. My sense is that marketing automation vendors have not involved consultants to the extent they could to ensure success, or at least provide a realistic estimate for what implementation costs (it is not uncommon for software to have a 2x or 3x consulting to software license ratio). Could this be a problem?
Saying that they need consultants would be a little self-serving. This is a problem that has plagued every major software category—CRM, ERP, Accounting, etc. Customers assume the software will solve the problem. To truly succeed, companies need to develop better processes, implement best practices, and determine key performance indicators. Whether or not they need outside help or hire someone to focus on it is a choice that they can make.
What do you see as some key markets not currently using marketing automation that should be?
Manufacturing, Education, CPG, Media
By Dan McDade
Topics: Marketing Strategy