Former Eloqua Executive, Steve Gershik talks about ways marketing automation vendors can help adoption and implementation of marketing automation technologies in this blog post from The Innovative Marketer. Here is a recap of his ideas…
1. Better helping users to understand and adopt their technology
When I was in the MA industry, I used to say that the best position to be in was as an implementation partner. At the time, we were just starting our partner program and partners were getting to use our world-class sales team to source deals for themselves and getting tons of service revenue without having to spend much in marketing and sales for themselves. I think we did a good job explaining to the market WHY they needed MA for their business, but we relied on our partners to explain HOW to get from where they were presently to how to achieve marketing success.
I should point out that in the intervening years, MA companies have gotten MUCH better about this second part, but they could do more to help customers understand the lifecycle of adopting MA for small, medium and enterprise sized organizations.
2. Periodic heath checks
Let’s face it: Marketers are infrequent purchasers of major technology for their companies and that means we’re not always so great at it. One of the things vendors can do is to help their customers: determine how far along the the marketing “maturity” path they are; what they are doing well; and where (and how) to improve.
Since most MA vendors are on-demand, they live and die by their attrition numbers, so keeping customers happy and feeling successful is the key to loyalty and increased revenue.
3. Understandable pricing
When I first bought MA technology, seven years ago, I paid according to the number of transactions, basically the number of “hits” to the database we made as an organization. This pricing, based on page views, forms submitted, etc. created unpredictable pricing, something I could not reliably budget for from quarter to quarter. In fact, the more successful I was in my campaigns, the more hits to the database and the more I would have to pay. It was possible some quarters for the success of my campaigns to translate into short-term pain as I had to go beg the finance department for a mid-year increase in my marketing budget!
Nowadays, vendor pricing is a lot more predictable. But it’s still not priced to value. While it’s challenging to determine the economic impact of a single piece of functionality (lead scoring, landing pages, etc.), allowing more ala carte pricing will smooth a marketer’s tradition from less sophisticated marketing technologies (like email platforms) to fully featured MA applications.