Marketing Automation is too complicated for Free

November 10th, 2010 by Tom Elrod

In the past few months there has been a great deal of industry discussions related to whether Free Marketing Automation is a good thing.  Many of the enterprise vendors in the space claim that Marketing Automation is too complicated to leave novices on their own to figure it out.  I couldn’t agree more, but not for the reasons they spread.

LoopFuse simplifies Marketing Automation

At the core of the issue, there needs to be a distinction between product and process.  Designing automated marketing processes can be difficult.  It often requires intimate knowledge of the market space; such as buyer behavior, involvement by non-decision makers, customer purchasing process, or financial cycles within the sector.  Many organizations already maintain this knowledge and expertise in spades and don’t necessarily need outside assistance in figuring out the processes.  Organizations that do not have this knowledge internally, need to seek out who can best help them with their processes and know their space well.  There are many vendors that have knowledge in some industries, but none are experts in them all.  Obviously, care must be taken in selecting the right one, as you know your business better than anyone else.

To illustrate the point, I’ll refer to some of the knowledge I gained while at JBoss, an Open Source application server vendor.  To start, selling to the early adopters was not a good idea.  They are not interested in purchasing support because they have already pushed through the learning curve and by nature, want to dig in and understand things fully on their own (remember this is Open Source, so they have access to all the code to review themselves).  It was much better to market to the early adopters to become advocates as they have already fully “bought” into the product.  Another lesson learned was to not sell into the developers.  Instead, help make the developers successful using the product by providing them with information and resources and then they will help you sell into management.   In the case of an Open Source vendor, seeking out experts in the Open Source space such as the Olliance Group makes the most sense given they already understand these facets of the business.

Once the marketing processes have been laid out, putting those processes to work is where organizations can leverage a Marketing Automation product.  The main selection criteria for a Marketing Automation product should be based on which ones have the feature set that will support the processes you want to implement, such as lead nurturing, data segmentation, scoring, etc.  Another selection criterion to consider is what it will take to implement those processes within a Marketing Automation product.  Does the product require a separate team of people to do the actual implementation or is it easy enough to be done in-house.  How will this impact the total cost of ownership over the long haul?  How will this impact speed to delivery when the processes need to change to fit the dynamics of the business?

Marketing Automation is about process and product.  At LoopFuse, we have built a strong partner community to ensure our customers can get the help they need developing the right marketing processes for their business from experts in their business space.  But make no mistake, LoopFuse is a Marketing Automation technology company… just like is a Customer Relationship Management product company.  Our focus is on building the best product to meet our customers’ needs.  Given the several hundred FreeView account sign ups we’ve had over the past 4 months since offering a free version of Marketing Automation and the success that they are having, we’re confident that free works just fine.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply