B2B Marketing Automation Continues its Inexorable Rise

Yesterday, Demand Gen reported that Marketo has signed up 700 customers in two years, grew 315% in 2010 and has now set its focus on enterprise customers, as well as its traditional SME base, with its first $1m win. This would seem to put it on a collision course with Eloqua, who has increasingly been focused on the small-to-medium size companies as it has ramped up its European operations.

This announcement follows closely on the heels of last week’s story that Eloqua is preparing for IPO, having ‘held briefings with various financial analysts and public investors about the future of the business’ and hopes to secure a $400m – $500m evaluation.

Both of these stories confirm analysts’ expectations – and my Blog predictions for this year – that marketing automation amongst B2B companies has come of age and is going to experience significant growth and consolidation, as evidenced by acquisition of Unica and Aprimo last year.

Inbound Enters the Fray

Meanwhile, in support of some contentions made in my last couple of Blogs on ‘funnel management’, Hubspot , with its “Get Found, Convert, Analyze” mantra is getting greater recognition and bringing metrics to SEO and social networking activities that tie them into the Eloqua/ Salesforce worlds, which are still primarily about outbound nurturing and engagement. This is where the future lies I believe.

Last year, I was using Hubspot for web tracking and enhancement, social networking tracking and optimising keywords. However, I was still using Blogware from Compendium for enterprise blogging, because of its expertise in publishing effectively to Search sites, Linked-In etc; and Vocus for press distribution, social networking; with Eloqua and Salesforce at the back-end. ‘Overkill’ do I hear you cry?

This ‘best-of-breed’ approach acknowledges the need for good publishing platforms for different channels (web, social media, email offers etc) combined with a ‘quantify it’ approach to managing each stage of the buying cycle, through tracking and reporting. I see the current platforms (and don’t even get me started on the free tools available for Twitter publishing/ tracking etc.) continuing to embrace a broader set of channels for tracking purposes – but we are still some way off a single solution for publishing, tracking, analysing and reporting on all digital and off-line channels throughout the whole buying cycle. Maybe we will never get there.

I’d really like to hear who you are using for what, so let me know who your favourites are and why.

Next time, I’ll look at the content challenge that this poses for all of us as marketers become publishers – as well as analysts and accountants!