Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Marketing Automation Trends

As we look out to 2010 we see several common issues at B2B marketing companies, and we also see some important trends:

Proving the Value of Marketing to C-Level Executives
Proving ROI is not a new problem for marketing; justifying marketing budget has always been an issue. However, more and more companies are requiring hard metrics from their marketing groups to justify budget spend.

Lack of Resources or In House Expertise
Marketing people are busy; they don’t have time to generate a 15 week nurture program. They barely have time to do a monthly newsletter and keep the blog up to date. A lot of marketing people have limited experience with running email marketing programs or are not up on all the latest tactics to ensure high conversion rates. It is really hard to stay on top of all the different tactics and methods available, and the game is always changing. Marketing automation by itself is not going to fix the problem.

Alignment of Sales and Marketing
The problem of Sales and Marketing alignment is as old as the times. Marketing generates leads, Sales says there were not enough of them, or they were not of good enough quality. Sales is very rarely involved in the planning process, and yet they know better than anybody what messages are selling. So the marketing team generates a bunch of collateral and campaigns that is not tuned for what Sales is doing. Then once Sales gets the leads, Marketing lacks the ability to see what happened to them, and which messages/offers resulted in closed deals.

Changing Landscape – New Tactics and Social Media
The advent of social media and new marketing tactics such as pay-per-click, SEO, and email marketing has marketing people reeling. There is so much information, so many blogs, so many top-10-tips whitepapers, and so many webinars that it is hard to determine the methods that are going to matter, prioritize activities, and focus on what you can actually have an impact on.

Do More With Less
Sales are down, deal size is down, and marketing budgets are down. Marketing people have to do more and more with less and less. In this environment, the technology they use has to be brain dead simple-to-use and also has to automate time-consuming tasks.

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