The mojo of marketing was in full swing at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce 2011. As a marketer, if you were not sure what you would learn and find, Dreamforce did not disappoint and was a great opportunity to visit with 40,000 of your closest friends.
Even if you prepared by reading Mark Smith’s Dreamforce Guide for Marketing Professionals, navigating around the conference was difficult with all the new attendees. But, the large numbers proved this year to be an important networking event for both sales and marketing professionals. Marketing pros were spotted socializing during the day between sessions, on the Cloud Expo floor and most definitely at the after-hour marketing schmooze fests being sponsored by a range of marketing automation players including Eloqua, HubSpot, Marketo and Pardot. The atmosphere was exciting and energetic and the Cloud Expo was packed with innovative solutions for integrating Marketing, Sales and even IT.
The marketing automation vendors have seen a large maturity in their buyers over the last few years and also in their solutions. The questions have moved from the basics — what is this and how does it fit into my marketing plans — to the more sophisticated — how to manage drip campaigns and market across social media channels. Marketing professionals are becoming increasingly aware of how they can have an impact on revenue and are looking to the right vendor partners to support that. While “social enterprise” was the resounding marketing message from Salesforce, I couldn’t help noticing a few themes in the interest areas of marketers I spoke to.
Marketing Automation and Web Site Integration – While talked about a lot, the fact is that marketers are just beginning to integrate visitor tracking, landing pages and progressive profiling to drip marketing campaigns. In addition, the advancements in workflow and action oriented nurturing are now possible without developers or geniuses. The advanced features have become commonly demonstrated by many of the marketing automation providers including Act-On, Eloqua, Marketo and Pardot.
Social Media – Now that the volume of potential customers continues to grow dramatically, there is a need to not just promote on social media channels like Twitter and Facebook, but interact and engage marketing contacts as part of targeting potential buyers. This was demonstrated by Act-On quite nicely with its Twitter Prospector.
Marketing Analytics – The need for more intuitive metrics on the state of both inbound and outbound marketing efforts is now a reality, further stepping beyond the static campaign reports. Marketo was showing their Revenue Cycle Analytics solution, which is a new application that can be purchased to get more intelligence about marketing investments to the revenue impact. Pardot was showing the integrated use of GoodData for an interactive marketing dashboard that comes with its application today.
Marketing to Sales Contact to Leads – The need to have more intelligent integration and synchronization of contact to customer data between marketing automation and sales force automation like Salesforce is becoming even more important for real marketing and sales alignment. Marketo was demonstrating its new application for inside sales to access leads as they need validation after being scored. Pardot was showing LeadDeck and accessibility via an Apple iPhone.
Data –Jigsaw was an obvious big promotion as it was acquired by Salesforce and is an active part of their play into the need for contact data creation and augmentation. Reachforce and DemandBase were also worth looking at.
The marketing automation vendors were out marketing in full force, using social media to drive booth visits ranging from foursquare check-ins for lottery tickets to Twitter promotions. And, of course, some great giveaways — we personally loved the Hubspot unicorns and the Birst flying frogs, to name a few. Either way, we are looking forward to start using some of the new technologies presented at this year’s Dreamforce.
Cari Baldwin is a seasoned demand gen guru, recognized thought leader and frequent industry speaker on marketing automation with nearly 20 years experience. As partner and Co-Founder of BlueBird, Baldwin ensures the firm drives marketing programs that deliver measurable ROI for their clients. With a solid technology understanding of leading marketing automation solutions, her strengths include a deep focus on lead nurture content and process strategy, demand generation planning, content and offer development, scoring, program planning, management, execution and analysis.