Silverpop - Judging Marketing Automation Vendors Based on Their Approach to Helping Marketers Address the 'Brave New World' of B2B Marketing
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Judging Marketing Automation Vendors Based on Their Approach to Helping Marketers Address the 'Brave New World' of B2B Marketing

by: Adam Needles (@IBMforMarketing)
15 September 2009

Our focus on this blog is typically on best practices for B2B marketing and on thought leadership around the major opportunities and challenges facing B2B marketers today. So it's not often we do a blog piece directly focused on our marketing automation platform, per se. But I was recently asked to contribute a guest blog piece to the ReachForce blog, "The B2B Lead," on our platform and how it is different from other leading marketing automation platforms. The piece is titled, "What is Silverpop Engage B2B? -- Marketing Automation Who's Who," and it was published yesterday.

Putting together this post was a great thought exercise. In approaching it, I tried to not focus so much on features and functions -- as these are constantly changing -- and instead focused on how I think Silverpop approaches the market differently with its Engage B2B platform.

After all, the point of marketing automation is to really to help marketers improve how they market; thus, evaluating which marketing automation platform is best for a given marketing organization requires understanding their specific challenges and opportunities. In the B2B marketing arena, much of the challenge (and opportunity) is related to seismic changes around the B2B buyer -- what the SiriusDecisions team calls 'Buyer 2.0' -- which is a good starting place.

So I thought I would share an excerpt of this post with you and invite your feedback on my thinking.

Here is an excerpt:

There are many challenges facing B2B marketers today, but they are almost all traceable to one inflection point -- a fundamental, Internet-age shift in power that has taken place. Today, the B2B 'buying unit' has immense information-based resources at its disposal. Couple this with a corporate accountability and transparency mindset, and the result is a B2B buyer that is now calling the shots ... not the B2B vendor.

The implication is a new B2B marketing dynamic that demands responding to customer 'pull' over a traditional marketing 'push' mentality. MarketingSherpa has published data indicating that for every sales-ready lead that comes into a B2B vendor, there are 5-6X more leads that are longer-term and must be patiently nurtured until they are ready to purchase.

Buyers increasingly set the ground rules on when and where they will engage. Buyers also increasingly turn to trusted third parties for education, not sales people ... whom they engage as an almost final stage in their process. This means B2B marketers must focus heavily on 'getting found,' nurturing prospects and managing pre-sales buyer dialogue.

And yet the impetus for B2B marketers to proactively generate leads, drive sales and support customer lifetime value has never been stronger. Enter marketing automation.

How We're Different

The drivers above explain the rapid growth in the marketing automation marketplace. But what makes one vendor different from another?

At Silverpop, we believe assessing how one marketing automation vendor is different from another comes down to understanding their approach to helping marketers address this 'brave new world' of B2B marketing as described above.

Our approach is simple.

> Total Focus on B2B marketing. First, we have a marketing automation solution built, from the ground up, around the unique needs and issues of B2B marketers. This is our focus, and it's how we rationalize everything we do to extend, expand and innovate its features and capabilities.

> Orchestrating buyer-centric marketing; powering sales and marketing collaboration. Second, our products and services are designed to address the major external and internal issues facing B2B marketers today. What are these issues? At an external/marketplace level, it is being more buyer-centric than ever before (given the environment described above). At an internal/organizational level, it is better aligning and collaborating with the sales organization.

This is the approach that underpins and drives our Silverpop Engage B2B marketing automation platform.

Click here to view the entire post on the ReachForce blog.


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