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Marketing Automation News & Analysis

Marketing Automation: Not All Agree on Leading Vendors

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Everyone wants a piece of marketing automation, it seems. But not everyone agrees on which vendors lead the pack.

The latest marketing automation software rankings -- crowdsourced G2 Crowd's Grid report released this month -- proves the rankings companies don't exactly agree when determining leaders.

But they do concur on one thing -- Oracle-Eloqua and Marketo deserve to be leaders. They were the lone vendors that got leader love in each of the five marketing automation vendor rankings we profiled. Salesforce-Pardot was ever so close, being named a leader in four out of five, with the fifth determining Salesforce-Pardot was a runner-up.

CMSWire Tweet Jam: Putting the Person in Personalization #CXMChat

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Automation -- marketers love it, customers hate it.

While automation may provide a seamless experience some of the time, a lot is to be said about personal attention.

So, how can companies put the person back in personalization while also using the automation techniques marketers have come to adore? Find out at our November Tweet Jam!

Time to Embrace Marketing Automation #KenticoConnection

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If you’re like many marketers you’ve probably got a list of tasks you think would improve your website and e-mail marketing. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get them done.

If this scenario sounds familiar — it’s time to automate, Brian McKeiver, a senior solution architect and co-owner of BizStream, an Allendale, Mich.-based web and software development company, told attendees at he Kentico Connection 2014 in Boston last week.

Are You Offering a Personalized Journey or a Guided Path?

2014-18-November-Disconnected.jpgHave you tried to get a real, live person on the other end of the phone lately? After pressing 20 buttons on the phone’s keypad to navigate through a labyrinth of menu options, you will likely find yourself still on hold. This familiar scenario illustrates how companies are struggling to find the balance between data-driven efficiencies --automated, generalized responses -- and customer expectations for a personalized experience --the actual answer they are looking for from a living, breathing human on the other end of the phone or chat session.

3 Messages to Personalize, 3 to Automate

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Customers not only expect outstanding support, they deserve it. In this digital age, client inquiries should receive a response within 24 hours. If you fail to do so, chances are your customer is moving onto another company that can.

To provide the quickest, most efficient and most helpful support, a combination of personalized and automated messages promises the best results. The challenge lies in deciding when to take the time, energy and effort to customize a personal response and when to provide a quicker, more efficient automated response.

Random Digital Biz Predictions: Tricks or Treats?

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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.

Leverage Data-Driven Marketing to Measure Business Impact

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As the growing reliance on data reshapes marketing, many CMOs wonder which metrics to collect and how to use them to boost company profits. There's a secret to that. In fact, there are four.

Heidi Bullock, vice president of demand generation at Marketo, outlined those yesterday in a CMSWire webinar, The Survivalist's Guide to Data-Driven Marketing. The session was sponsored by Marketo and you can watch it by clicking on the frame at the end of this story.

Bullock explained that marketers need to understand the close connection between their budgets and the company's financial success. For example, they could ask themselves what impact would a 10 percent increase in the marketing budget have on their company's profit?

Constant Contact has the Toolkit for Growth

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The main growth levers at Constant Contact continue to point in the right direction, as the company — a provider of cloud-based digital marketing solutions for the small and midsize business (SMB) market — gains traction with its Toolkit online marketing platform.

Thanks to Toolkit, introduced in April, Constant Contact is seeing better customer engagement, higher average revenue per user (ARPU), improving retention rates and increased lifetime customer revenue, according to CEO Gail Goodman. 

A Signpost on the Road to Marketing Automation

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As technologies mature, two nice things typically happen: the price falls and capabilities rise. Soon almost everyone can take advantage of it.

Consider cell phones. They were expensive, bulky status symbols when first marketed, but 4.55 billion people will use better, cheaper phones this year, according to eMarketer. Computers? Over the past 20 years, the price of a medium-quality PC has fallen from about $2,000 to a few hundred dollars. And today's computers are much better.

So it shouldn't come as a terrible shock that a Software-as-a-Service startup is now offering a marketing automation system with basic cross-channel customer relationship tools for $200 a month, or $180 if you pay in advance. The company's target? Mom and pop businesses.

Marketo Hits its Mark, Delivers Strong Q3 Revenue Growth

It’s clear from the latest quarterly numbers out of Marketo that the company is sitting in the sweet spot of engagement marketing. Revenue in the third quarter rose 54 percent, billings advanced 50 percent and the addition of 140 new customers brought the company’s installed base up to 3,499.

More organizations are turning to San Mateo, Calif.-based Marketo after realizing that it’s now much more important to develop relationships with their customers instead of simply talking at them through advertisements.

Post-IPO HubSpot Still Playing Competitor Catch-Up

marketing automation, HubSpot Gains in IPO, Still Needs to Play Competitor Catch-Up

If competitor stories are valid precedent, HubSpot's IPO last week was a good move.

But it certainly won't be an easy road for the Cambridge, Mass.-based marketing automation provider that made its NYSE debut last week. Not with future investment in marketing automation from competitors and not with recent advancements like Oracle's integration with BlueKai, according to a marketing automation analyst. 

"IPOs worked for Marketo, Eloqua and Responsys, so the precedent is good," said Gerry Brown, senior analyst for customer engagement and marketing technology for Ovum Research. "Competition for HubSpot will become intense as other vendors, such as Sitecore, offer marketing automation as an add-on. HubSpot needs to make sure they don’t get distracted from execution by the razzamatazz of the IPO."

Wait Before You Invest in Hubspot

Yes, it's fun to see a technology startup make it to an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The Hubspot team deserves credit for making it to last week's IPO, with its stock now trading under the symbol HUBS on the NYSE. 

But for investors, it's a totally different story. It's time to take a wait and see approach.

Discussion Point: Who'll Win the Digital Marketing Arms Race?

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Sitecore CEO Michael Seifert caught our attention last month when he claimed the "arms race" among 1,000-plus digital marketing vendors is hurting the industry.

"Frankly, I think it's getting absurd," he told the crowd at his company's annual symposium in Las Vegas. "Marketing technology is starting to fail the marketer."

His argument was that the smaller players only operate on the channel they serve. Seifert believes Sitecore's comprehensive approach puts it among the marketing cloud superpowers -- like Oracle and Adobe -- that will thrive while smaller players fade away.

5 Ways Analytics Enables Smarter Action

2014-10-October-Action.jpgAnalytics has become the backbone of digital marketing success, and when used correctly, is a fundamental tool for smarter, data-driven marketing. Using analytics effectively means marketers are in a better position to recognize trends, uncover insights and take action such as personalizing content and remarketing in real time.

But the value of data to the business diminishes if it doesn’t enable timely action. That’s the reality that digital marketers face. They’re under increasing pressure to manage the deluge of data, extract real value and take action quickly.

Stock Market Makes Room Today for HubSpot $HUBS

Tech companies have spent billions on marketing automation in the last few years. The big guys. The kinda big guys.

More investors can get a piece of the pie now.

HubSpot, the Cambridge, Mass.-based marketing automation provider rivaling the likes of Marketo, Act-On, Pardot and Eloqua, had its IPO today. It's stock was valued $25 a share. HubSpot is coming off its annual conference last month and prior growth announcements. 

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