Archive for the ‘Market Talk’ Category

Marketing Automation for the CEO

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Over the past couple years I have spent a considerable amount of time on the road meeting with customers to learn what they liked and didn’t like about LoopFuse. One of the more surprising discoveries for me is how many of these companies’ CEOs log into our product. Candidly, our product was never designed specifically for the CEO but rather for the marketing and sales teams. Primarily the CEOs are infatuated with the visibility provided by the real-time dashboards. It can be kind of hypnotic, like watching the stock ticker on CNBC because the dashboards automatically refresh themselves every few minutes (configurable). One of the executives I met with kept the LoopFuse dashboard running on his 2nd monitor throughout the day during large campaigns or major announcements to track the buzz generated throughout the day.

Welcome Cindy Ryan, Director of Marketing

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

I would like to welcome Cindy Ryan to the Loopfuse team.  Cindy joins us as Director of Marketing at a time of rapid growth for our company especially with the recent launch of Loopfuse Freeview, the first and only freemium marketing automation offering.  Without question, Cindy’s marketing experience and Loopfuse knowledge will be a huge asset both internally and externally.  Specifically, Cindy led and executed marketing campaigns for JBoss (acquired by Redhat), a highly successful open source software company and where she worked with our founders, and led daily marketing operations for Joe McGonnell at Openspan using Loopfuse OneView.  As a Loopfuse user, Cindy will be invaluable not only to Loopfuse internally but also to our prospects and customers by sharing her Loopfuse OneView experience to help them make marketing profitable within their own organizations.  So if you are a Loopfuse prospect or customer, please expect to hear from Cindy on how she uses Loopfuse to drive opportunities and ultimately revenue.

Cindy, on behalf of the Loopfuse community, we’re glad you joined us to help transform the marketing automation industry.

Are you ready to lead?

Monday, July 19th, 2010

The face of marketing is changing.  Techniques and approaches that worked as recently as 18 months ago will fall by the way side within the next 18.  I’ll paraphrase Gretzky here; the goal is to not be where the ball is, but where it’s GOING TO BE.  To take advantage of the emerging opportunity you need to start preparing today.

While there will be other components to the messaging mix, the most important ones, that I call the Big 6, are going to be key.  Review the following list.

Are you ready, or do you need to get to work?

1.  Website
– Optimizing page structure and wording for SEO
– Setting up tailored landing pages for cross channel campaigns
– Hosting webinars and other rich media destination content

2. Email
– Eliminating acquired list mailings
– Growing list of 1st party opt-ins
– Using for retention campaigns

3. Search
– Building a link back network
– Optimizing all forms of content for specific keywords
– Exploring emergent search engines like Facebook

4. Display
– Incorporating as part of a broader cross channel campaign
– Utilizing highly targeted, verticalized networks
– Tracking all of your referral sources

5. Content Syndication
– Developing content specifically for off-site deployment
– Establishing outlets on YouTube, SlideShare, Scribd, etc.
– Using simple syndication through RSS, Feedburner, etc.

6. Social Engagement
– Targeting specific communities to penetrate
– Actively commenting and publicizing others content
– Growing followings and connections

If you can put a check next to all of these you are in pretty good shape.  You have a strong foundation to work from and are ready to start innovating!

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.

Oracle acquires a million lines of code

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Yesterday, Oracle announced the acquisition of long-time Marketing Automation vendor, Market2Lead. The acquisition marks the first in the space by a major player in the CRM market, and a public company. Although many of the pundits have suggested a coming wave of acquisitions, I’m not so bullish on that transpiring any time soon as we are living in an economy that’s in the doldrums and are working in a space that’s overcrowded and growing slowly (less than 5% penetration to-date, according to Forrester). Good/Healthy acquisitions don’t happen on this setting.

So let’s paint the picture with our reality brush…

Oracle acquires a company’s IP, throws up a one-line blurb on their site, and releases no further details on the move. So we have no big PR announcement, no big analyst briefing… nothing, nada, niente. The company never took a round of funding and seemed to have stalled on growth over the last few years.

Now that the picture is painted (it’s really more like a doodle), it should be pretty clear that this thing was not Oracle buying a winner in the space for its customers and wanting to extend its reach. This was Oracle buying quicker time-to-market for tech they can integrate in to their offering. Tech-buys are low-dollar, scuttle-the-ship acquisitions, by nature.

We don’t care about your customers or your revenue, because it’s insignificant.

We want your bits and bytes. Everyone can go work at Wal-Mart, now.

Kind Regards,


Here’s why the acquisition does matter to the rest of us (in the short-run):

  • If Oracle can integrate this thing in to their offering and make it work, now we have a major player in the CRM market with true Marketing Automation capabilities. Oracle is very good at acquiring, and integrating companies. If they can make MA grow within their product-line, that is a signal to other players to start buying. Will that push in to a buy? SFDC seems to only buy Java, so there are slim pickings in this market… who knows? (Did I mention LoopFuse was built on Java?)
  • This is a sign of things to come… sort of. Jep Castelein and David Raab point to the fact that the space is overcrowded. The herd will be thinned, and I believe the shake-out will look more like this over the next couple of years. Those executing, innovating, and performing well will carve out their niches, all others will either go belly-up or get acquired for assets. The potential market is enormous, larger than the CRM market, so there will be room for several players at the top (LoopFuse is one of those and maybe Eloqua) ;-) .
  • Expanding on #2 above. Look for Email Marketing and Web Analytics vendors to gobble-up some Marketing Automation players. The world is moving away from batch-n-blast marketing and simple Web Analytics tracking. MA is the future. A few years ago, my old stomping grounds SilverPop (Hi, Bill!) acquired vTrenz. Expect more of that in the next 2-3 years. Again, these are mostly tech-buys.

Personally I believe this to be a non-event in the immediate and short-run. The impact may be felt in the long-run, once Oracle re-brands and integrates this thing.

Loopfuse Welcomes Marcus Tewksbury!

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

I would like to welcome Marcus Tewksbury to the Loopfuse team.  Last week, we formally announced that Marcus joined our advisory board but Marcus has been good friend of the Loopfuse team for about a year.  By way of introduction, he is an expert on how companies can turbocharge their inbound marketing efforts, select and implement successful social media marketing strategies, and drive customer engagement.  In addition, Marcus is known throughout the industry for his work in engagement marketing, where he focuses on helping marketers manage the disruption of digital saturation and the effect of word of mouth.  While Marcus has worked companies such as Wal-Mart, JP Morgan, Hallmark, Walgreens and Coach, he is currently the director of customer intelligence at Alterian, a publicly traded, integrated marketing platform company.  Without question, Marcus brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and engagement strategies across sales and marketing automation, demand generation technologies, and social media.  We are very excited to have him join LoopFuse’s advisory board and contribute to our next stage of growth and success.

Tweet this blog post

Q&A with Laura Ramos of Forrester Research – Part 1: Defining the Market

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Without question, Laura Ramos of Forrester Research (blog) is an expert in the marketing automation space with a specific focus on the best practices in lead management.  While I did not actually meet Laura in person until late 2009, I have certainly known that she is a thought leader in the industry.  I have enjoyed getting to know her over the past few months and I think Laura has become more familiar with what Loopfuse has to offer B2B marketers, especially in the product releases that Loopfuse has made in late 2009.

As Laura and I recently discussed, one of the challenges to Lead Management Automation adoption is education in the marketplace.  So I asked Laura if she would be willing to answer a handful of questions for me about the market and talk about what she sees happening in 2010.  So I sat down with Laura a few weeks ago for a quick chat and today we are releasing the first part of our interview:

Part 1:  “Defining the Market”

1.    Dwyer:  The term Marketing Automation is thrown around internally at companies and in the marketing media, how do you define Marketing Automation?

Ramos:  As part of Forrester’s research team that serves the marketing professional, I agree that the term Marketing Automation is bandied about ambiguously. To help marketers use technology to improve marketing effectiveness and efficiency, Forrester writes about the Marketing Technology Backbone.  It’s a term we have used since 2004, defined as, “A technology infrastructure that supports an integrated, quantitative approach to marketing strategy, development, delivery, and measurement — across the marketing mix.”  This definition helps to keep marketers focused on the entire discipline of marketing and not just on technology for executing tactics and campaigns. It also includes two important words, integrated and quantitative, because I see B2B marketers worry too much about running programs and not enough time connecting the dots between marketing activity and bottomline business results.

Looking at the marketing technology landscape, Forrester sees marketing automation focus on six core applications: 1) campaign management; 2) customer analytics; 3) interaction management; 4) marketing resource management (MRM); 5) marketing asset management (MAM); and 6) lead management.  Lead management plays a key role in the marketing automation space and in our view of what marketers need to put an effective marketing technology backbone in place.

2.    Dwyer:  From a B2B perspective, when a direct salesforce is involved, what is the difference between Marketing Automation and Lead Management Automation?

Ramos:  In my research, I study and write about lead management automation specifically.  My counterpart, Suresh Vittal, writes about marketing automation generally. In B2B marketing, where a direct salesforce or channel partners sit in the driver’s seat for winning new deals and retaining existing customers, technology that manages demand is an essential part of the marketing technology backbone.  Wikipedia has a solid definition of lead management that I used to develop a working definition in my research.  In short, lead management is the tooling and processes that help firms generate new business opportunities, manage volumes of business inquiries, improve potential buyers’ propensity to purchase, and increase alignment between marketing activity and sales results. Increasingly this process is becoming tech-centric, and lead management automation is the technology that helps marketers to manage this process.  I would also point out, however, that technology alone is not sufficient and that automating ineffective, immature processes – especially those that lack a tight alignment between marketing and sales measured in the creation of more qualified opportunities and closed sales — will likely cause more problems than it solves.

3.    Dwyer:  Is Lead Management Automation (LMA) a term that is catching on in mainstream business?

Ramos:  I would like to see it catch on more than it has. The 2009 recession, which appears to be experiencing a slow recovery in 2010, forced many firms to concentrate on demand generation as business investment was deferred, delayed, or shrank. The down economy benefited lead management solution providers as marketers invested in LMA technology to get sales pipelines pumping again. Despite this trend, lead management automation is still an emerging industry category. Today, LMA has yet to emerge as a separate, distinct category from Marketing Automation.  Based on our estimates, I see market penetration growing from 5% to 10% over the next 18 to 24 months – but there are many marketers out there who have yet to explore the value that lead management automation can bring to their organizations.  This can be both a blessing and a burden to firms like Loopfuse who look to grow their share in this emerging space.

Stay tuned for Part 2:  “Market Momentum” coming soon

Tweet this blog post

Summary of 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

And to summarize from my original post in January:  The rules of engagement are changing, but the rules of marketing accountability are changing more quickly.  Measurement and analytics bring job security to the marketing function; particularly when traditional antiquated thinking and manual systems are failing to deliver a competitive advantage in any economy.

Marketing automation tools can help automate the process of optimizing marketing effectiveness and more importantly help marketers demonstrate their impact on top and bottom line results.  The question every marketer should be asking is “How do I maximize my value to the organization?”  If the answer involves demonstrating results or linking performance to top or bottom line organizational objectives, then it might be time to start embracing a marketing automation initiative.   Don’t wait much longer to get started… it could cost you your job.  Instead, adopt marketing automation within your organization and ask your boss for a bonus based on qualified leads.

Download a free copy of 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers

Tweet this Blog Post

Identify exactly how marketing can reduce the sales-cycle time and nurture prospects to action

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

We are now up to fourth way marketing automation provides job security for marketers from 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers.  Below is the excerpt from the white paper:

“4. Identify exactly how marketing can reduce the sales-cycle time and nurture prospects to action.

When was the last time you sat down and mapped your marketing collateral to your prospects buying cycle?  Funnel analysis provides marketers with quantifiable data, reflecting the rate at which prospects are advancing through your sales process. This report answers the most important question a marketer has to answer – “At what rate are my prospects moving along the lead funnel?”  Marketing automation can transform this analysis and benchmark it over time delivering key metrics, such as the rate of conversion between first contact-to-conversion or lead-to-opportunity. This analysis can help marketers beef up nurturing and campaign initiatives accordingly.

Funnel analysis gives marketers visibility into the sales cycle and helps identify how marketing can do a better job educating prospects from lead to sale.  Marketers can use funnel analysis as the basis for collaborating with sales by working together to build programs more efficiently at each stage of the pipeline.  Marketers can then support the sales process with thought leadership or specific campaigns while sales may be able to provide key insight about the customers’ buying triggers.

Did you ever want to know how many days it takes for your prospects to move from one step of your sales process to the next?  Marketing automation can empower marketers with dashboard analytics on marketing and sales cycles.  Insight into the funnel progress enables marketers to know exactly how long it’s taking for prospects to move along every stage of the sales cycle and lead funnel. The ability to benchmark this metric over time further extends the power of this reporting tool. This information can be used to build better budget forecasts for finance and help the marketing department become more responsive to unpredictable market conditions.  A sudden change in the sales cycle could alert marketing to changes in the competitive landscape or macroeconomic environment.  The quicker marketing can take advantage of these changes, the more valuable they are to the organization.

Job Security Scorecard:

  • Benchmark the lead-to-sales conversion rate over time.  Identify when campaigns or initiatives drive above average close rates.
  • Forecast more accurately by benchmarking the total number of leads it takes to drive revenue targets at the bottom of the funnel.  Set realistic achievable targets for marketing and sales during strategic planning sessions with the CFO and CEO.
  • Identify what roles are most likely to evaluate products and services and how to meet the unique needs of these individuals based on role, region, or industry.
  • Identify how long it will take for prospects to convert to revenue based on historical averages.
  • Identify bottlenecks in the sales cycle.  Are sales reps incapable of addressing specific objectives?  Does marketing material address all of the buyers core needs?”

Download a free copy of 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers

Tweet this Blog Post

Identify which marketing channels, or combination of marketing channels, have the greatest impact on lead conversion and revenue

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Following up on my blog post last week, we are now up to third way marketing automation provides job security for marketers from 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers.  Below is the excerpt from the white paper:

“3. Identify which marketing channels, or combination of marketing channels, have the greatest impact on lead conversion and revenue.

With so many marketing channels, it’s difficult to tell which combination of channels to build into the marketing mix and how much budget to allocate to each of them.   By measuring customer acquisition across marketing channels, the CMO can determine which channels are more likely to impact top-line revenue and allocate budget more effectively based on tangible results.  Conversations with the CFO become much more meaningful when the cost per customer acquired can be linked to expected revenue targets and to the marketing spend.  It’s difficult for finance to reduce overall marketing budget without also reducing revenue targets when marketers can demonstrate the relationship between cost per acquisition and revenue.

The marketing mix can be analyzed based on the tangible impact specific marketing channels have on cultivating prospects.  This allows the CMO to make better decisions about where to allocate budget based on tangible metrics, not gut feel.  At the same time, marketing automation tools become a central database with marketing campaign information and sales information allowing organizations to calculate return on marketing investment by campaign, period, or marketing channel.

Job Security Scorecard:

  • Justify marketing budget by demonstrating exactly which marketing channels drive the highest conversion rates.
  • Calculate customer acquisition by marketing channel
  • Forecast more accurately by linking customer acquisition rates to overall marketing budget.  “If we spend this much money in the following channels, history tells us we can achieve the following revenue.”

Download a free copy of 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers

Tweet this Blog Post