Archive for June, 2010

Why Free? Why Now?

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Earlier today we announced the release of LoopFuse FreeView, a free version of our popular OneView marketing automation service. The decision to take LoopFuse freemium was made almost a year ago and we have spent much of that time preparing for this launch. After briefing some of the analysts, journalists, and bloggers who cover this space I realized that many of the questions they posed regarding our adoption of freemium may be of interest to others.

Why Now?

The timing of this move is based on several factors. Digital marketing is no longer a niche part of the overall marketing budget. It is quickly becoming the dominant channel for marketers to reach their prospects and their budgets are reflecting this trend. Zenith Optimedia reports in their Advertising Expenditure Forecasts that online advertising spend has doubled in the past 4 years and Forrester’s data indicates that it will likely double again in the next 4-5 years.

We have also witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of digital touchpoints over the past few years from traditional email marketing and website click tracking, to banner ads, SEO, paid search, online events, communities, and the onslaught of social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. By tracking every one of these touchpoints for each prospect we can create an extensive behavioral dossier that allows marketers to gauge and engage prospects more effectively before they are handed to sales.

If DIGITAL is the future of marketing then MARKETING AUTOMATION is the future of digital. However most analysts in the space estimate market penetration for marketing automation is between 5 and 10%, meaning that the space is still in its infancy. The most technically sophisticated marketing organizations (e.g. software companies) are, of course, the early adopters. These organizations pay a premium to gain a strategic advantage through the adoption of new technology and marketing automation vendors are likewise able to charge a fat premium to provide this advantage.

Unfortunately, many of these services require require 12 or 24 month subscription contracts, professional services implementation consultants, onsite training, and often a pricing model based on the size of your wallet. All of these factors create artificial barriers to adoption, especially for SMB companies. Organizations who do take the plunge face a daunting task of evaluating an overcrowded vendor list with minimal distinction and hope that they make the right decision.  The time is right for marketing automation to “tip” and become a tool for the 90-95% of B2B companies who have yet to adopt it.

Why Free?

As certain markets mature, a disruptive player sometimes steps in to challenge the accepted pricing model in the interest of mass market adoption. Sometimes it’s a free on-ramp that lowers the barriers to adoption. Other times it’s a massive price reduction in the market. Either way it provides the opportunity for a de-facto provider to emerge. Over the past decade we have seen several examples of this : PayPal did it to Western Union, opensource software did it to proprietary software, Skype did it to the telcos, AVG and Avast did to McAfee and Norton, and DimDim is doing it to Webex right now. A highly efficient sales, distribution, and support model can disrupt high-touch / high-margin industries by providing a cost effective alternative for the masses.

Freemium business strategies can be very challenging to organizations who are not well prepared.  For example, sales teams and processes must be able to adapt to the internal competition provided by the free offering.  Infrastructure and architecture must be designed to scale for massive volume. The user experience must be refined to enable mere mortals to be productive without week-long training courses. And dozens of other changes must be undertaken to support freemium. Balancing what is provided gratis against what is available to paying customers. Lucky for us, all of the members of LoopFuse’s executive team have experience in freemium and/or opensource (which is a flavor of freemium).

With the introduction of FreeView, LoopFuse provides an on-ramp that will allow SMB marketers in the B2B space to adopt marketing automation without the hassle and cost previously required.  Use it for free and prove to yourself that marketing automation can benefit your organization with zero risk.

LoopFuse OneView 3.26 Released!

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Enhancements in this Release:

The Company Fuse Bar

The Company Dashboard now sports a nifty new feature, we’ve labeled the “Company Fuse Bar”. The Company Fuse Bar is meant to serve as a visual indicator of how your marketing efforts have penetrated a specific company. The key set of metrics used are WebPage visits, Email Campaign opens and clicks, CRM Leads and/or Contacts created, and Lead Capture forms submitted.

Company Dashboard Enhancements

Several new enhancements were made to the Company Dashboard, but aside from a general face-lift, you can now view all marketing touchpoints for a specific company: From Lead Capture Forms submitted to Email Marketing Campaigns opened and clicked…

Current users will see a new set of tabs along the top of the Company Dashboard page. Each of these tabs displays content and charts that focus on a specific set of marketing events or touchpoints your organization has had with a specific company.  Read the Documentation

CRM Lead and Contact Reports with GeoIP

Two new reports were added that enrich the Reports Manager experience. These new reports display daily view of all Leads and/or Contacts created within the CRM. Additionally, we have added GeoIP information to these (and many other) reports.

Special thanks to our customers for submitting these and other feature requests via the LoopFuse Community!

The Most Interesting Marketer in the World

Friday, June 18th, 2010

While you have all heard of the most Interesting Man in the World…..



most Interesting Marketer in the World:;

The Future of Marketing Automation

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Over the last couple of years, particularly in the marketing space, nothing has been hotter than the marketing automation space.  The promise of doing more with less, speeding response times, and focusing sales efforts on the most likely prospects have held wide appeal during these lean times.

Looking to the future of the space, however, I think the near term promise is going to have less to do with the automation and more with the data capture.  As digital begot social, and social continued to fuel the adoption of digital it cumulatively is changing the face of marketing.

When the current crop of marketing automation tools was built email marketing was pretty much the centerpiece of an online strategy.  Connect an outbound email to eventual web site behavior and you really had something.  Largely this really is no longer the case.  Email is rapidly approaching extinction as an acquisition vehicle.  Today you need more diversity in your mobile mix that equally represents web, search, email, display, social syndication, social engagement, and some cases mobile.

One of the most intriguing early features of marketing automation was the ability to spot and track the behavioral trends of customers.  Steven Woods over at Eloqua did a great job of describing this in his book Digital Body Language.  As digital volumes grow his perspective becomes more and more relevant.  The challenge now lies in figuring out how to do this in the multi-channel, digital world.

The future of marketing, all marketing, lies in the ability to craft relevant offers to much smaller audiences.  What will fuel this is the ability to capture integrated customer profiles that span all the relevant channels.  Customers are sharing more data than ever before and the smart marketer will use that to inform their creative, improve their offers, and begin a dialog with their customer.