Brian Kardon Interview with Marketing Automation Times

Brian Karndon, Eloqua CMOWe had a chance to catch up with Brian E. Kardon, Eloqua’s Chief Marketing Officer at Dreamforce 2011. Brian is responsible for Eloqua’s global marketing and brand strategy, demand generation, and communications. Before joining Eloqua, Brian was Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Forrester Research, where he helped to more than double the business in less than five years, and significantly improved Forrester’s profitability. 

Tell us about Eloqua 10.

We hired IDEO to help us with the user interface.  They are one of the world’s greatest in product design and helped Apple with iTunes and the iPhone.  We realized that our software was 1st generation and the bar had come up from a usability perspective.

Nobody uses manuals any more. Eloqua 10 requires very little training and is drag and drop on many features.  By the end of the year we will add Revenue Suite, social, mobile, and benchmarking data.

Benchmarking is very exciting for us as we have 1,000 customers that will let us offer benchmarks by industry and revenue size.  This will give Eloqua customers great insight on how their campaigns are performing.


Why did Eloqua become a sponsor of The Marketing Automation Institute?

Good marketing automation is more about how you think versus technology.  How do you put together a meaningful email campaign? When should you send it out? How should you route leads? What is a sales ready lead? How do I score leads?

You can never have too much education and we are very supportive of Carlos Hidalgo and his efforts.  More people that are better educated is good for the entire industry.


What is Eloqua’s primary focus in 2011?

Our biggest initiative is our Revenue Suite. In the past, marketing automation has been about open rates, click rates and the CEO does not care.  They care about how marketing drives sales.

This tradeshow is a good example.  Most will come back and say we generated x number of leads.  Very few can say how many had marketing qualified leads that eventually lead to sales.  Revenue Suite gives marketers the power to speak intelligently to executives on these key financial metrics.


What is the biggest challenge facing the industry.

The industry is growing fast, but not as fast as we think it should.  Under 10 percent of companies that could benefit from marketing automation (Eloqua estimates B2B with $25 million in sales per year or higher) have adopted the technology.  We estimate that it is an $8 billion market size which means we have a lot of work to do.

There are various reasons why adoption has been slow.  Deploying revenue performance management (RPM) is not a small initiative.  Some marketers do not want the visibility that marketing automation provides.  They do not want people to know things are underperforming. There is a lot of caution.


What trends are you seeing at Dreamforce?

Social is big here.  The first generation of social was Facebook Fan pages and LinkedIn group conversations.  The next wave is demand generation and customer service.  The biggest source of social lead gen that Eloqua receives (80%) is from Facebook.  People trust their social network.

Social sign on.  Right now if you want to get content you need to fill out a form which has 6 fields.  With our customers we see that the average completion rate is 10 percent.  We now offer landing page users the option of loging in with a Social Handle.  Right is traditional form and on the left if you can sign in with Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.    What we have seen is 3x your current completing.  Two clicks you are in.

Mobile is huge.  Mobile for us is about the sales team.  We offer mobile alerts to sales team as well as other features.

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