Random Digital Biz Predictions Tricks or Treats

Boo. It's trick-or-treat night.

For those who don't celebrate, it's that Oct. 31 tradition where people dress up in costumes and hypnotize themselves into believing that chocolate has zero calories. 

Kids knock on neighbors' doors, asking them, "Trick or treat?" The adults usually go with the treat answer and give the kids candy (of course, not the good candy. Adults save that for themselves for late-night snacking).

But the trick or treat thing is applicable to the digital business world, too. Predictions on marketing automation? Trick or treat? Larry Ellison "stepping down" and losing influence. Trick or treat? Big data vendors are awesome. Trick or treat?

We wondered. So we asked.

So What Do You Think?

Marketing automation software will grow into a multi-billion industry.

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Treat: "When I think about marketing automation, I think of messaging from brand to consumer, and then the collection of responses from the consumer," said Jonathan Moran, senior product marketing manager for customer intelligence at SAS. "I can’t speak to the monetary size of the industry – but marketing automation will continue to move forward as less mature companies adopt this type of technology."

Channels used by marketing automation software, Moran told CMSWire, will continue to change as well as mediums like text, tweets and pins "enter the ether."

"Alongside of marketing automation however – comes the idea of decision management – or responding to inquiries initiated by the consumer to the brand," Moran added. "I believe that decision management software will grow at a more rapid rate than marketing automation software – as those companies that have mastered outbound communication now try to tackle inbound communication – whether it’s a web message, chat question, or social inquiry initiated by a consumer that needs addressing."

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Treat: "It works," said Tony Byrne, founder of the Real Story Group. 

Social media can be an effective tool for B2B marketers 

Treat: "At this point is social media a necessary evil? Probably so," Moran said. "It is certainly another data channel that marketers must account for. Fact is – a lot of companies still aren’t giving social channels the proper care and feeding that they deserve."

Moran said the "most important ingredient" here is engaging content. Further, coverage outside your own company must be there. And of course, creativity.

"Make it interesting and something I haven’t seen before – please," Moran said. "Be original, it’s worth the time it takes. For example, the engagement levels we see from a fresh new animatic video are far different that linking to that same 30-page whitepaper." 

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Trick: Sponsoring updates to your Twitter and LinkedIn pages are a great way to drive deal flow, said Michael Idinopulos, chief marketing officer at Philadelphia-based PeopleLinx.

However, those B2C tactics don’t work in B2B, which is all about one-to-one relationships with buyers."Social selling, not social marketing, is the real B2B opportunity," Idinopulos. "Get your reps on social."

Treat: It already is, Byrne said, "but as a conversational supplement, not as a new prospecting tool."

Enterprise social networks will continue to drive innovation for enterprises 

Treat: The key will be finding just the right types of candy for your business, though, Byrne said.

No one will be able to challenge Salesforce's CRM in the near future

Trick: Microsoft will remain an important challenger, according to Byrne. 

Email will die soon in light of enterprise collaboration tools

Trick: "Sometimes collaboration tools actually increase the volume of emails," Byrne said. "But email will become more of an alerting mechanism than a collaboration mechanism, and that is a good thing."

Larry Ellison will not have as much influence now at Oracle as he did as CEO

Trick: The man's outsized personality has indelibly imprinted Oracle culture and operations, according to Byrne. "He could be dead and it would still be Larry Ellison's shop," Byrne added.

Vendors have their arms around the problem of big data and are making companies profitable with their offerings

Trick: Vendors may have their arms around the problem, but most of the rest of us do not ... yet, Byrne said.

The Internet of Things is still hot and will drive major business for enterprises in 2015 and beyond

Treat: "I'm not clear how it will play out in terms of "major business," but large enterprises are already investing in it, Byrne noted.

We will see major web CMS innovation in 2015

Trick: "We'll see more innovation for sure," Byrne said, "but customers won't use much of it since they are still struggling to catch up with the CMS technology they already have."