Marketo just acquired CrowdFactory. First, as fellow travelers, we at Kwanzoo would like to congratulate the folks at CrowdFactory upon their successful acquisition! It’s great news for Marketo, CrowdFactory, and their employees and customers. Marketo plans to build out their social marketing capabilities with CrowdFactory. We wish them the best in that endeavor.
Kwanzoo is a Technology Partner with Eloqua, Marketo and Salesforce. Besides marketing automation/RPM system providers, Kwanzoo integrates with all the social platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), as well as display advertising platforms, ad networks and exchanges (Google Display Network, DoubleClick DART, others).
Our work across these partners as well as with both B2B and B2C customers, we think, gives us an interesting perspective on industry dynamics, and where things might be headed. Of course, we might be completely wrong! Predicting the future is a hazardous business! That said, here’s our take on what’s going on, what remain some BIG unsolved problems for enterprise marketers, and what we think customers really want from marketing automation:
Why did Marketo Buy CrowdFactory?
David Raab has an interesting take on it here. He suggests that given the minimal product and customer overlap, CrowdFactory’s primary value to Marketo might be to penetrate new B2C accounts, that are looking for contests, sweepstakes, and referral marketing capabilities. Phil Wainewright talks about a potential strategy by Marketo to enable engaging in, and acting on social conversations by customers of a business, an area that also is more of a B2C activity. Marketo has traditionally serviced more B2B customers. So if you agree with what David and Phil suggest, the acquisition appears to be a decision based less on customer “pull” (i.e. current customers asking Marketo to address a critical need quickly) than a strategic decision by Marketo’s Board and Management to go after new customer accounts in a different category (B2C). Does this signal a strategic add-on focus on B2C by Marketo? Are they planning to go broad, and ramp up sales efforts into B2C in one segment (e.g. SMB) or across segments (Enterprise, Mid-market, SMB)? Only time will tell.
What B2B Customers Want Today
With all the buzz around social marketing and now social marketing automation, we believe what has not changed is the B2B marketer’s strong desire to drive more top-of-funnel leads, and nurture leads even faster, to maximize the value of their marketing automation investment, whether it’s in Eloqua, Marketo or another system. In simple terms, this requires that they address 3 key challenges:
- Proliferation of channels – B2B marketers we talk to say they want to be able to quickly and easily execute highly effective demand generation campaigns across channels (email, web, social, partner, display, re-targeting, mobile).
- Better audience segmentation, and Personalization – Marketers want new ways to engage their prospects, and segment their audience across channels. Engagement necessarily means using all available data on a prospect (e.g. identify the prospect’s target account via reverse IP look-up, or match “known” prospects against the marketing automation database) to determine the message, content offer, or promotion.
- Break Down Silos with Re-Usable Campaign Assets - Marketers want to quickly re-purpose and reuse a winning campaign concept or approach across marketing systems (whether marketing automation, CRM, CMS, Facebook Pages, community platforms, blogs, 3rd party publisher placements, partner email blasts).
All of these cross-channel challenges remain largely unsolved! In fact, within B2B, we see strong interest from marketers at larger enterprises in optimizing their multi-channel demand generation programs, with advanced capabilities such as progressive profiling, multi-channel lead nurturing, and relationship-based targeting, all areas where we have been making some focused efforts in partnership with Eloqua.
What Kwanzoo Brings to Marketo Customers (Post CrowdFactory)
While Kwanzoo also offers a tell-a-friend / referral marketing capability similar to CrowdFactory as one of over 20 ready-to-deploy multi-channel campaign strategies, we do expect Marketo customers may choose to leverage the new native referral marketing capability now available via CrowdFactory. B2B referral marketing, in our experience, has primarily been around driving webinar registrations and conference sales and a lot less around contests and sweepstakes.
We believe Marketo customers will continue to see strong value in adding Kwanzoo into their marketing mix in the following ways:
1. Drive more top-of-funnel leads across channels with smart lead forms, polls/surveys + lead forms, and smart banners with A/B testing
2. Nurture leads faster in the mid-and-lower funnel across channels (including nurturing emails) with rich media polls & surveys.
3. Automated lead capture from paid media campaigns into Marketo for instant lead nurturing emails.
4. Named account IP targeting of interactive ads and smart banners across all channels.
Where Are We Headed?
Here at Kwanzoo, we are talking to marketers everyday. We are all part of an exciting, vibrant space with many new platforms, products and tools that promise to make life easier for marketers. What’s clear, however, is that customers continue to find the process of implementing, and extracting optimal value from marketing automation quite daunting! It’s our humble view that all of us in the industry need to think about the following:
Open Up, Partner To Win: We need to partner, open up our systems, APIs and data across systems, to gain a greater level of loyalty and trust from our mutual customers. Customers want their problems solved. And they want it solved now, not months from now.
Do Less, But Do It Well: Marketers want to know what really works, what can be implemented quickly to deliver results. The 80/20 rule still applies. For every customer, we need to make the 80% that is top-of-mind for them really easy to address.
Fix What’s Still Broken: Marketing automation platforms have a head start on addressing some key issues within traditional B2B marketing. That said, today’s systems continue to take a channel-centric view (website landing pages, and emails). The world has evolved a lot, and there are big, wide swaths that marketers worry about (e.g. display advertising) that remain completely disconnected from marketing automation.
There’s a whole new way marketers today are viewing marketing automation, that’s centered around the prospect, regardless of when, or where, or how they engage with the business or brand. This as opposed to the channel, or set of tactics (e.g. landing pages, email templates) supported by their tool or platform. When they approach things holistically in this way, it becomes possible to re-draw marketing processes in completely new ways that reset the bar on traditional metrics and targets for lead conversions, ROI and revenue.
Imagine capturing a lead inside a banner ad in a display campaign, or a paid placement somewhere. The lead is instantly captured inside your marketing automation system, to drive a triggered lead nurturing email, within 15 minutes of lead capture! This is just one example of how seamless marketers really want their world to be, as they engage with their prospects, customers and partners everyday.
Kwanzoo looks forward to being a part of the journey, as our industry continues to evolve in the coming months.