Marketing Automation Predictions 2016

Marketing Automation’s destiny is to integrate deeply into a CRM system!

Marketing automation systems are built to move a marketing team beyond discrete activities and campaign management, to managing a unified marketing and sales funnel that drives topline revenue. Ideally, this combination will yield the foundation for a culture of sales and marketing alignment ~ Kevin Miller – ClickZ

Let’s define “deeply” and scalability while we’re at it

From my days in IT consulting, we always favoured native functionality over needless customization wherever and whenever possible. In my opinion anyway, the very best way to approach any integration is to leverage as much standard functionality as possible. With cloud, NCAs are the way to go in my opinion. NCAs are programs that are designed specifically for a specific cloud computing architecture.

I know, I know… some of you IT guys out there will disagree with me. But remember, the topic of this piece is Marketing Automation. And in looking at all the data, the only conclusion I can draw is that native is definitely better.

So back to the point; Marketing Automation.

There are over 200 marketing automation solutions on the market today, however, there are only a few that I would qualify as excellent as a digital marketing professional. And of those few, there’s only one that has native integration with Salesforce CRM. And that’s none other than Pardot.

Leader of the pack

Yes, there are others that can integrate with Salesforce CRM but none of them are native. Why do I make this point you might ask? Because Salesforce is the single most innovative cloud provider in the world today. Don’t believe me? Ask Forbes. For 5 years in a row now Forbes has named Salesforce as one of the most innovative companies in the world.

Salesforce CRM is currently used by nearly 150K companies and they have the perfect native marketing automation platform that is growing in innovation all the time. As a Salesforce owned product, Pardot integrates with the CRM system much more closely than any other marketing automation solution. The integration is seamless and in my opinion, other providers will struggle to keep up and over time, I’d even say over a short period, divergence will happen.

Just take a look at the most recent innovation. Sales Cloud Engage. Sales Cloud Engage is a key new feature of Salesforce’s Pardot-powered Sales Cloud automation product. What it does is empower sales with real-time, mobile marketing tools that empower them to deliver their own personalized lead-nurture campaigns with marketing curated content and insights. Salespeople can now add someone to their nurture campaign right from their smartphone. Nobody else has it. It’s unique and a key competitive advantage for any business running it.

In 2015 I said that there were only two marketing automation platforms that did it all. In 2016, that’s now down to one. I’m not even saying the others aren’t good, because they are. However, there still can only be one best, and in my opinion that’s Pardot.

Let’s look at some stats

  • Marketing automation systems revenue grew 60% to $1.2 billion last year
  • Growth is being driven by a wave of adoption in vertical markets outside the core hightech base. These companies now comprise as much as 75% of the customer base for several vendors
  • Only 9% of potential software buyers currently use a marketing automation system
  • Just 3% of micro-businesses and less than 10% of large firms use marketing automation
  • 85% of B2B marketers using marketing automation platforms don’t believe they are using them to their full potential
  • 20% of marketers recently switched or were in the process of switching their marketing automation platform provider
  • The growth trend will continue and as adoption grows so will the pressure to automate and market differently.

So who do you want on your side?

Third Door Media overviewed the top marketing automation vendors in their 2015 Market Intelligence Report. In examining their data there were only two that did everything we digital marketing folks look for in a platform, and there’s only one that stands alone with fully native integration to Salesforce CRM and that’s Pardot.

In addition, Salesforce Engage stands alone in empowering sales people to run their own marketing campaigns with marketing curated content.

We know who we want!

I think this is the first platform to figure out how to truly align marketing and sales through technology. So much so, that we actively pursued an implementation partnership with Salesforce this year and we’re looking forward to working with their teams throughout 2016 for the benefit of our own client base.

Sources: Gartner, Third Door Media, Sirius Decisions, Aberdeen

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