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The “on demand marketing suite” is becoming a reality October 17, 2007

Posted by Elana Anderson in Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online Marketing.
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For the last year and a half at Forrester, I was incubating the idea of the “online marketing suite.” Yes, I did author the Forrester Big Idea, “The Marketing Technology Backbone” in 2004 and I’m not dismissing the idea now — I still believe in the vision. I just don’t believe that most marketing organizations are ready to swallow it. There are too many barriers including the (to name a few):

  • Structure of the organization and all of the competing fiefdoms.
  • Mutual disdain that marketing and IT professionals often hold for one another.
  • Priority of short term results over long term investment for growth.

Furthermore, the enterprise marketing technology leaders in the market today only offer installed solutions that require a lot of technical manpower to implement and manage over time. These applications – like any other installed software – are hard to update so marketers, who always want the next new thing yesterday, have no choice but to cobble something together in order to get their job done. The cobbling results in more disconnected silos (data, process, etc.) which make it harder to execute seamlessly and measure effectiveness. An unfortunate cycle that marketers have a tough time getting out of…

Enter the “on demand marketing suite”   

So what does marketing need? Over a year ago, here’s what I wrote in Forrester’s Marketing Blog:

Marketers are always looking for the next thing that will help them differentiate the way they approach their audience. In my opinion, the vendor that figures out how to provide a framework that integrates the marketing process while enabling marketers to “plug in” new features, functions, and extensions will ultimately win the marketing technology race. What does this vendor need to “own”? The customer data layer, a consistent way to define and roll up marketing activities, campaigns, and programs, the marketing plan, the marketing calendar, marketing measurement, and so forth. All of the design and execution tools that leverage the customer data can fall within “the network.”

To date, Omniture has been the most successful (just look at the nearly $2B market cap – not bad for a company that has yet to turn a profit) at pushing the vision. But, while Omniture has made some recent acquisitions – namely Touch Clarity and Offermatica – which provide it some marketing execution capabilities, the company still has a long way to go before it can claim to be a marketing suite (which, by my definition, needs to support the marketing lifecycle from planning and design through execution and measurement).

It’s easy to argue that Responsys has more right to stake a claim on the suite… Away from the spotlight of the public market, Responsys has been aggressively bringing in senior talent, expanding its platform, and getting deeply involved in customer success. Then there’s Unica, which has as much (if not more) of a right to stake its claim on this space than anyone else. But, Unica has yet to really aggressively go after the on-demand “marketing suite” and seems to have spent much of the 18 months since its acquisition of Sane Solutions simply competing for Web Analytics deals. My opinion? This is THE key issue that Unica (which is pretty close Omniture in total revenue but only has a market cap of $233M) needs to address in order to get Wall Street drooling as it is doing for Omniture.

The battle is heating up

Just yesterday Eloqua announced that it had closed a $23M Series C round of venture funding (see the press release). Eloqua, which has largely focused on the high-tech sector to date, arguably has the broadest (not necessarily deep) set of suite functionality encompassing light data management, web analytics, chat, email, print, process-driven campaigns, and so on. From the press release, Eloqua is clearly renouncing its roots as a mid-market player to go after the enterprise.

Today Eloqua has more than 25 clients with more than $1 billion in revenue each – clients who need us to support them around the world with our industry-leading technology.

Eloqua will likely use this money to aggressively move into new vertical markets as well as to expand geographically. Hopefully the company will also invest in beefing up its engineering team as well. So, the marketing technology sector is heating up! But, my word of advice to players that want to be on the battlefront is to focus on two key areas:

  • On demand
  • Interactive (digital) marketing

That is where the heat will be for the next five years. During this time, I hope we’ll learn something that will help us get on track towards the ultimate vision of “The Marketing Technology Backbone.”

In case you missed this… October 15, 2007

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Experience, Marketing.
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We’ve been talking for years now about consumers are in control and marketers need to change their approach. Marketers need to get to know their customer — listen, interact, establish a dialog. A colleague at Forrester turned me on to The Breakup video by Geert Desager a couple of days after it was published back in May. I showed the video in June at Cheetahmail‘s Client Summit and the audience loved it. I’m still running across lots of you who haven’t seen it. So, if you haven’t yet had the pleasure, take a peek — it’s hilarious.

Three key questions differentiate go-to-market strategies October 12, 2007

Posted by Elana Anderson in Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Product Marketing.
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In my last post I kyboshed the blanket generalizations that we – the industry – have created with the acronyms B2B and B2C. So what then are the key differentiators that enable us to break down the marketing problem into a more manageable morsel? I’ve been talking with friends and colleagues about this recently. Here’s my take – at the top level now (I don’t want to create another blanket generalization) – on three key questions that drive marketing strategy, tactics, skills, and technology requirments:

1.       What are you selling? Product vs. service.

2.       How much thought does the buyer need to put into it? Low consideration vs. high consideration.

3.       What is your sales distribution model? Direct vs. indirect. 

Why do these questions matter?

If you are a marketer at a large company, they probably won’t help you that much (this isn’t rocket science after all). For you, the answers are a given — something you already inherently know and take into account when you are defining your strategy. But, keep reading the blog, I’ve got ideas coming for you too!

If you are a marketing services or technology provider, on the other hand, these questions are something you need to consider. I’ve talked to tons of you over the years and I think that you tend to put yourselves in artificial B2B or B2C buckets (and then get pinned there) because it’s easier to do so. IMO, you’re selling your company short and you’re limiting your growth.

Consider these questions in the context of how you are serving your clients. Maybe your clients today are all high-tech software companies today. Peel back the onion… Your clients are selling a product, likely a high consideration one, and the lion’s share of them probably fall into a direct OR indirect sales model. Why am I so sure of this? Well, the marketing strategies, tactics, skills, and technology required to serve these clients are different than they would be for clients selling through an indirect sales model.

So, my recommendation…

When you are developing your strategy for growing your business, don’t assume that the next logical area to focus on is “other B2B (or B2C) categories.” (remember, as a Forrester analyst, I heard many of you say this). Think about categories that have similar marketing requirements – regardless of whether they are B2B or B2C – and use the three questions to guide your thinking.

B2B vs. B2C – humbug… October 11, 2007

Posted by Elana Anderson in Marketing, Marketing Strategy.
1 comment so far

I think that many of us (yes, I’m guilty too) in the industry are too fixated on the differences between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing.

A while back, I was working with a group to scope a peer community for top marketing executives. One argument was that we should only include marketers from B2C firms. “Huh,” I said, “What’s a B2C firm? Do the CMOs at Wells Fargo and P&G really have more in common with one another than they do with the CMO of Cisco?”

I think not.

The CMOs of these firms share common challenges and have unique differences that are more related to the type of product they are selling and their distribution model than the audience that they are selling to. Furthermore, if you step back and look at large companies in North America (and worldwide), you’ll find that most market themselves to both consumers and businesses. The fact is that CMOs from most large companies must focus on issues related to many different audiences including consumers, businesses, investors, etc. – and each group has different needs and expectations. To think of a company – or the CMO job — as B2C- or B2B-focused is too simplistic.

There are a lot of marketing suppliers out there trying to gain entrance to the CMO suite. Most marketing services and technology firms I talk with tell me they want to position themselves “key long-term partners and advisors to the CMO.” Well, you know what? Many of these firms are also focused on tactical issues – like email, SEO, campaign management, content management, etc. — that are only intermittent blips on the CMO’s radar (and if they’re not, I question the longevity of that CMO). If you really have dreams of being the first party the CMO thinks about for most issues then you probably need to reevaluate. But, to figure out if you have a shot, start by understand the challenges of the job. Then, clearly identify where you fit in and whether your firm really addresses one or more of those challenges. If you can’t do this, then don’t bother knocking on the CMO’s door – you’ll be wasting her time.

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Do we really need another marketing blog? October 3, 2007

Posted by Elana Anderson in Marketing.

Good question… There are an AWFUL lot of marketing blogs out there already, so why bother? A few reasons…

  • I need an outlet: I recently left Forrester Research where I was VP and Research Director leading Forrester’s marketing practice. Forrester analysts enjoy lots of attention and, frankly, I miss that part of it!
  • I have ideas and experience worth sharing: I’ve been living and breathing data-driven marketing and marketing technology for years now. I haven’t always been an observer. Before Forrester, I spent 14 years as a consultant working side-by-side with marketers to develop analytic marketing strategies and define and implement all of the technology, process, and organizational changes to deliver on those strategies. I’ve had some major successes and a few debacles – I’ve learned from both.
  • Maybe it will help my business: Hey, I’ll be transparent, I’m planning to make a living as an independent consultant for a while. I’m done working for “THE MAN” (at least for now). This blog will be a great way to illustrate my ideas, personality, and experience. It will also help me continue to keep the brand and network that I was able to build through Forrester. 

Why NxtERA Marketing?

It’s personal: My initials are ERA (my mom was a Ph.D. candidate at MIT in the 60’s – go figure!). I turned 40 in August. Both my kids are now in school. I’m planning the next phase of my life (stay tuned)…

It’s professional: You’ve heard it before — we’ve been talking about it for years at Forrester. The consumer is in control, audiences are fragmenting, more and more marketing channels are becoming direct and interactive. Marketing needs to engage, interact, establish a dialog – yada, yada, yada… Yep, all that stuff. Marketers need to move into a new ERA and radically change their mantra, their role, and their approach.

What content can you expect to find at NxtERA Marketing?

I admit it – I’m not a fan of marketing. I think marketing today is way too much about being a bullhorn and, despite all of the noise, few marketers really walk the “customer first” or “customer-centric” (you pick the cliche) talk. When I built my first customer marketing database (at Staples) in 1995 my mother complained that my job was to send more junk mail… I want to prove her wrong!

Through this blog, I will share my:

  • Ideas and insights on “customer-centric” marketing, integrated marketing, relationship marketing, database marketing, marketing analytics, and marketing technology based on my experiences past and present.
  • Reactions to news, events, and personal marketing interactions related to the topics outlined above.
  • Recommendations about the small and big things that marketers — and marketing suppliers — can do to help move the needle towards the customer.

My goal: To entertain, inform, and share experiences.

My biggest fear: Talking to air! So, please add your comments and feel free to agree, disagree, and expand the thinking!

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