Marketing Automation Space Still Tracking Strong Based On Healthy Q1 Business

Published: April 5, 2011

Malcolm Friedberg, President of Left Brain Marketing, a leading demand generation agency based in Silicon Valley, also said Q1 was the company’s strongest quarter to date. “We picked up several new enterprise clients and we expect that 2011 will continue to show significant growth, especially in the enterprise area.”

Although’s recent acquisition of Radian6 and other social media M&A activity may have grabbed the spotlight away from the marketing automation category, industry consultants predicted these moves will ultimately benefit the category. “Marketing automation is still not getting all the attention of social media, but this activity is putting a laser focus on this space,” said Jeff Pedowitz, CEO of The Pedowitz Group, a leading demand generation agency based in Atlanta.

Pedowitz said social media is “pouring gas on measurement. It’s a harder channel to measure than other marketing channels — you have to aggregate data to measure. The key is to market to the right audience and convert them.”

The increased emphasis on funnel management and measurement continue to be key drivers for the category, but industry consultants also point to the challenge to keep up with changing buyer behavior as another imperative. “We see a continuation of the trends that have emerged over the last 12-18 months including engaging the buyer, utilizing social media, delivering relevant content, ensuring a developed and implemented process,” said Carlos Hidalgo, CEO of The Annuitas Group, a top consultancy in the BtoB lead management space. “The BtoB market is moving and changing so rapidly that organizations are trying desperately to keep pace and the more the buyers change, the more corporations will be forced to react.”

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While Lewis pointed to deeper sophistication within clients driving some of the growth, Friedberg said the skills gap that still exists among many users is now being addressed more aggressively. “Because there is still a shortage of expertise required to create sophisticated demand generation programs, success levels are only marginally improving. We see plenty of marketers who have had automation for a year or more and are still doing just the basics,” Friedberg said.

Ultimately, the marketing automation category is moving marketing deeper into the revenue conversation, as Lewis said the emergence of Revenue Performance Management tools and tactics are becoming more popular and prevalent. “Unlike the accounting department, marketing hasn’t the equivalent of a general ledger or P&L report to bring to the table. Until very recently marketers haven’t had well-defined metrics for tracking the health of their business,” Lewis said. “As we work with marketers on building dashboards that are relevant to C-level meetings, they realize it is less about click-through rates and open rates and more about how marketing is contributing to revenue performance.”

Since Q1 was heavy with M&A and VC activity, with ReachForce, InsideView, HubSpot and all reporting new and/or additional funding to fuel company growth, insiders predict an acquisition of one of the marketing automation vendors is inevitable. “I would be shocked if one of the one of the major vendors does not get purchased by end of the year,” said Pedowitz.

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