My 2014 Marketing Automation Holiday Wish List


crossed-fingers-200x300By Brian Hansford, director of client services & marketing automation practice lead for Heinz Marketing

As the resident Marketing Automation nerd here at Heinz Marketing I am really excited about what’s in store in 2014.  Marketing Automation in 2013 was full of change and excitement and I’m eager to see what we will see in 2014.    

Most of 2013 seemed to revolve around consolidation through M&A and IPOs, with little in the way of real innovation.  As the dust settles from 2013’s mergers, acquisitions, and IPO’s, I wanted to share my holiday wish list for marketing automation in 2014. 

Present #1 – A Comprehensive Real-Time CMO Dashboard for Past, Present, and Future Analysis

B2B marketers are starving for meaningful information that goes beyond campaign attribution and measuring past performance. What’s even more critical is showing marketing’s potential future impact on opportunities and revenue.

If this was easy, everyone would offer it.  I fully realize this is a complex item but it’s more important than ever for the CMO.  Some platforms are getting close to making this happen.

Eloqua is developing a “CMO Stack” that integrates multiple channels and will potentially pull data from multiple sources.  Marketo’s analytics engine and their guidance on metrics analysis are excellent and provide a fantastic starting point.  As the CEO and CFO rely more on the CMO to drive revenue and customer engagements, 360 degree data modeling is the key to critical decision making.

The CMO Dashboard needs to pull real-time analytics from multiple data sources including social, CRM, web, events, content marketing and ERP systems.  (Before ‘Big Data’ was bantered about, these systems were called Data Warehouses.)

Configuring systems and getting people to properly capture the data is not easy. Enterprises are the pioneers who have the budgets to invest in these sophisticated capabilities.  But as mid-market companies will demand this capability in 2014 beyond the (mostly) canned reports currently available. Marketing Automation companies will have to innovate and develop CMO Dashboard capability and available for rapid configuration and deployment.

Present #2 – Meaningful Social Platform Integration

Social platform integration is woefully lacking from Marketing Automation in 2013.  Social integration goes beyond offering share buttons on emails and blogs. Specifically I’d like to see integration that monitors and measures content engagement through multiple sites and events.  Social platform integration needs to measure engagement behavior and deliver content that customers want.

This integration should also allow for broad campaign execution and personalized engagement.   Eloqua introduced their social engagement solution at Eloqua Experience 2013 and Marketo has their new Dialog Center.  These are nice incremental steps but more can be done to connect with and engage customers and advocates AND tightly integrate the capability in their platforms.

Present #3- Salesforce Finally Finishes Building their Campaign Object

I’m concerned Salesforce has inertia when innovating and building on their core platform.  Over the last few years they have expanded the platform footprint almost entirely through acquisitions.  In my opinion, Salesforce hasn’t innovated or developed new platform capability for a few years.

The Campaign Object specifically is long overdue for an innovative update. The Campaign Object is a critical workflow integration point for any email marketing or Marketing Automation platform.  The value to customers is critical and would help with everything from campaign attribution to account-based marketing.

Present #4 – Connected Mobile Marketing

Marketing Automation vendors can provide more ways to engage customers through mobile devices and social channels. Mobile behavior can be scored and cross referenced with running campaigns to ensure complementary assets are provided, instead of redundantly.  Typically behavior tracking centers on email address and whether someone “converts” on any device or platform.

B2B marketers are missing a significant amount of behavior activity on mobile devices and social channels, which impacts scoring and sales engagement.   The idea is to make it easier for mobile users to engage with companies and content.

Present #5- Peace on Earth and Data Management Gets Real for All

Data management practices, or the lack thereof, are dangerous to any organization that utilizes Marketing Automation.  More B2B marketing companies are getting blacklisted by ISP’s and outbound campaign performance can suffer along.  (Not to mention damaging reputations with customers!)

The risk to revenue is incredibly high.  Marketing Automation companies can provide more tools and education to help customers with data management.  Normalizing data records, de-duplication, real-time spam trap detection, and more detailed reputation measurement on shared-IP implementations.

I’ll revisit my wish list in December 2014 to see if Santa was able to deliver. By then I’m sure there will be other cool new things to wish for!  What’s on your Marketing Automation Holiday Wish List?