Three Views on Marketing Automation – Focus Experts and MAI

Unquestionably there are many ideas and theories on marketing automation and the automation industry. Today the Marketing Automation Institute sponsored a Focus roundtable discussion that examined three views of marketing automation through the eyes of an analyst, a customer and a vendor.  And I got to be the customer instead of the analyst this time!

Carlos Hidalgo, CEO of the Annuitas Group and Executive Director of the Marketing Automation Institute, asked me to join some folks I haven’t spoken with in a while — Jeff Erramouspe, President of Manticore Technologies sand David Raab, long-time marketing automation technology and market analyst — for a conversation about the marketing automation industry, where it’s heading, how companies use lead management technology, and what to do to get more value from value from automation.

You can find the full recording and Twitter stream here.

Some of the questions we tackled — well, that I tackled – include:

1) Moving from analyst to practioner, what do I see at Xerox as some of the driving factors behind the push for automation?
(A growing profusion of marketing approaches and little consensus about what really works to drive demand. Therefore, the need to measure and automate marketing to better demonstrate its impact on the business.)

2) What are some of the ways an organization can use automation to reach buyers besides using it as an email engine
(I think it’s all about finding new ways to reach buyers outside of email — syndication of content to industry and association Web sites that link back to a landing page, publishing YouTube videos, starting a Facebook fan page, developing a community destination outside of your Web site are but a few examples.)

3) Of people, process and content, which one trumps the others — or all they all equally important — when it comes to successful automation? (Depends on where you are in the adoption lifecycle. Marketers starting out talk more about technology and skills their key needs. But more mature practioners point to content development as the gating item to success.)

Want to hear more?  Visit the site.  Listen to the recording. And share your views
UPDATE! — To hear the Sales’ view of marketing automation — sign up now for the November 10 Focus/MAI Roundtable.

Maturing Your Lead Generation and Marketing Automation

  Today I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with the Corporate Financial Group about maturing lead generation and lead management automation. This association of commercial banking marketing professionals offers the latest, industry-relevant insight into business-to-business marketing trends, practices and people in the financial industry.  I first met this group, spearheaded by the effervescent Pat Scanlon, over 4 years ago when I was a Forrester analyst and just starting out in the B2B marketing arena.

Pat connected with me, probably through LinkedIn, a few months ago and asked if I would be interested in speaking to the group, who was planning to meet in San Francisco this year.  When we last met in Chicago, I found CFG members to be at the cutting edge of both industry and marketing trends for large enterprise/business banking. That day we talked a lot about lead management, marketing automation, why both are important, and the four stages that B2B marketers progress through as they adopt lead management best practices. Their comments were both insightful and challenging.

So naturally I accepted Pat’s invitation to speak to this group again. We talked about the problem of lead generation in B2B marketing and the promise of automation in solving challenges like:

  • Getting alignment between marketing and sales around how you go to market
  • Market segmentation, understanding the buyer’s journey, and profiling buyer behavior.
  • How to deliver relevant, inspiring content — and how “thought leadership” helps marketers do that.
  • Integrating marketing tactics that attract and engage prospects.
  • Creating advocacy among customers – in particular through social media.
  • Enabling sales – and get credit for doing so.
  • Shifting the marketing discipline from creative to operational — from right brain to left brain.

If you would like to see a summary set of the slides I presented to this group, take a look at this link on Slideshare

Key takeaways for this group concerned where to focus their time, money and investment in lead management:

  1. Beg, borrow or buy talent in three key areas: journalist-quality writing talent, business/data analyst (who also has a segmentation specialty), and an operations techie with HTML experience.  Buying a tool is not enough – you need tech, content and analytics talent to make it work. On the content side, you can get some of this from your agency.  You need a partner in IT to help with the rest.
  2. Be prepared to build a marketing database and to perform regular data quality management. Also, you must plan to invest in a library of content that covers issues, roles and industries for the target buyers you approach.
  3. Start with a “Quick win” project that shows how marketing scales sales, but make sure your lead management efforts reward marketers and sales for using it and “doing the right thing” – these rewards provide the change management and cultural cues that signal the importance of this new way of going to market to all the players involved.

Take a look at the slides and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

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