Marketing to the Data Driven Customer

Customers with digital DNA expect data driven value
The digital native generation is bringing new expectations to brand relationships. They are mobile first, crowd sourced, and data savvy. Their first and most frequent interaction with your brand will be digital and mobile. They find out what’s cool, what’s trending, and what’s most likely to work best for them from their social networks. They don’t have emotional attachments to brands because the product is compelling or the advertising is cool. Their emotional engagement comes from unexpected insights that make them more successful. This is the new basis of customer loyalty, advocacy, and lifetime value.
Of course you still need a compelling product and cool ads (or messaging.) But once the prospect is a customer, continual engagement depends on over the top data driven insights. It’s no longer enough to just sell the hammers and saws and let the buyer go build their house. You need to monitor how they are using the hammer and saw. You need to deliver success by guiding their use of your product based on the behavior of your most successful customers. You need to leverage your position as the center of your customer universe to share best practices quickly and efficiently. The only way to do that at scale is through data.
Data Ownership vs Data Stewardship
In between the lines, you should be hearing a new philosophy with respect to customer data. Even though legally you “own” it, the data driven customer expects you to act as a data steward. You must treat their data as an asset to be used for their benefit, not just as the basis for driving revenue. Everything you provide to your customers should be designed to bring data back. Your customers should learn that the more data they provide, the more value they get in return – without negative side effects like having their data sold to an irrelevant ad network. Give to get and maintain the trust.
This has tremendous implications. Not only for marketers. Data marketing requires coordination with product development, IT, finance, fulfillment, point of sale, customer support, consulting services, sales. All these groups interact with customers and capture data on different aspects of their behavior – product usage, purchasing, problem resolution, planning, advocacy, etc. They all need to be understood to identify the most successful customers and the traits that drive their success. You can create tiers of services based on the level at which customer provide data. You can create cohorts of customers that exclude direct competitors. You can support exchanges within your customer ecosystem that enable strategic accounts to benefit from preferred peers. You can be extremely creative about how you structure your data marketing services.
The message is that in a world of shrinking product cycles, cheap knockoffs, and copycat services, data marketing is the new source of differentiation. No one else has the data you (should) have on how customers can be most successful with your products. Use it to attract and retain the best and leave the rest to your competitors.

To continue the conversation on data marketing and the data driven customer, contact me: gmurray (at) idc (dot) com.

Are Ad Agencies Keeping Pace with Marketing’s Massive Digital Uptake? (Hint: Maybe Not)

Today, marketing’s equivalent to the Brady Bunch’s “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” just might be “Digital, Digital, Digital!” This is with good reason. Since 2009, digital marketing spend within large B2B tech companies has grown, and is growing, at an enormous rate. As you might have seen, IDC expects the entire tech industry to pass the 50% mark of digital spend vs non-digital spend by the end of 2016! This is the client side, but what about on the agency side, are these important partners keeping pace with their clients? At the end of April, Ad Age published their most recent “Agency report”, it shows the agency industry’s digital revenue over the past 5 years. While, agencies’ digital revenues are growing and, as a percentage, these revenues are comparable to what their clients are spending on digital – the lack of substantial growth for agencies’ digital revenue is notable. 
As seen from the image above, 5 years ago agencies were already generating over 1/4 of their revenue from digital, where as tech companies were spending only 13% of their budgets on digital. Since then, these same digital marketing budgets have grown at a CAGR of approximately 21% – agencies’ digital revenue have grown closer to a 6.5% CAGR, a third the rate of tech marketer’s digital budgets. This begs the question, are agencies keeping up with digital innovation? Does the agencies’ slower digital revenue growth give us a glimpse into the future where in-house marketers are the digital experts?
Below are two comments that I think help parse out this story:
  1. Chapter  7 in Scott Brinker’s (AKA: @chiefmartec) marketing book, A New Brand of Marketing, “From Agencies to In-House Marketing”,  lays out the in-house vs agency shift perfectly. Traditionally agencies’ bread and butter is within the advertising campaign – as advertising has moved digitally, ad networks and ad-tech have continued to mature allowing practitioners to work directly with these networks and/or utilizing programmatic ad buying to optimize their spend. In a sense, cutting out the middle man (agencies). This might help explain the large difference in growth between digital revenue growth at agencies and digital spend from the practitioner. While companies are spending more dollars on digital, it is more of a do-it-yourself approach.
  2. Anecdotally, through my conversations with clients and marketing executives, on more than one occasion I have heard marketers bringing core agency work internal. The two main reasons for this action are:
    •  Scope: For marketing executives who are trying to build a full scale demand engine or attribution models, they are finding it very hard to identify an agency partner who can deliver this vision from start to finish, particularly with expertise across the entire project. (A fair caveat is very few companies can do this internally!) They are still utilizing agencies, but typically for projects around high level strategy or vision and/or very specific tactical portions of their larger campaigns.
    •  Speed: To truly compete digitally, marketers have realized that speed is an asset. From content creation, to adjusting advertisements in real-time and to making sure the latest and greatest technologies are being tested and used, speed is a factor. Advanced marketers are often realizing by bringing many of these activities in-house, it is much easier to increase speed – it is also much easier to retain the talent that can execute in the manner necessary to succeed.
The above instances and the overlying data are something for marketers to be aware of and agencies to be concerned about, but, like with most changes this is not a black and white scenario. With agencies, similar to most marketing organizations today, it’s about reinvention. My colleague Gerry Murray, outlines some of this reinvention that IDC expects to happen within the agency (or more specifically marketing services) world in his latest blog post, Marketing as a Service (MaaS): The next wave of disruption for marketing tech. Ultimately, the vendors that continue with business as usual, relying on media buys or traditional agency/client relationships, risk stagnant digital revenue growth and an outdated offering.
What success are you seeing within your “in-house marketing team” and how are you continuing to leverage your agency partners? I would love to hear your opinion in the comments below or by reach out to me on twitter @SamMelnick

2014: The year of Digital Marketing…Wait a Second, What Exactly is Digital Marketing?

Or maybe 2014 will be the year of mobile, or the year content marketing. Ok, Ok, I can guarantee one thing, 2014 will be the year of the horse.

While 2014 might not be the year of digital marketing, digital will continue to be deeply important to the marketing organization. As digital spend continues to increase, the focus grows. Despite this, there can be a lack of clarity around the topic. What exactly falls within digital marketing? How much budget is actually being spent on digital? And how does it all meld together?

Let’s dive in.

Digital Marketing Budget Trends:

From 2009 to the end of 2013 digital marketing program spend has increased from 13% to 34% of the total marketing program mix. For 2014 IDC’s CMO Advisory Service expects this to increase to 39% and to 50% in 2016 (highlighted within Kathleen Schaub and Rich Vancil‘s IDC Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) 2014 Predictions). While this level varies depending on sector and size, the upward trend is clear. 

What is Digital Marketing:

At this point all marketers agree that digital is important. That is all well and good, but without a consistent definition around the topic, digital marketing may mean different things to each person or organization. To be successful in building a digital marketing practice, having clear definitions is imperative. This will drive consistency throughout the organization leading to proper tracking and staff allocations.  Below is IDC’s definition of which marketing programs fall within “digital marketing.”

For specific definitions for each area please view IDC’s Worldwide Sales, Marketing, and Market Intelligence Taxonomy, 2013.

Digital as an Organizational Practice:

Defining and tracking digital marketing is important, but the modern marketer understands it must be executed in orchestration with the full marketing strategy. A key guidance for 2014 is to create “systems not silos.” In short, rather than creating another walled practice within marketing (think, advertising vs email marketing, vs events), make digital an organizational practice that spans across all tactics and staff. Separating digital and non-digital marketing will create more complex challenges for the organization. Avoid this approach and make digital a strength across all of marketing.

3 Take Aways:

  1. Digital marketing spend is growing, FAST, it will be 50% of the (multi-billion dollar) B2B tech marketer’s program budget by 2016. 
  2. Work to define digital marketing so everyone in the organization is speaking in the same terms. 
  3. Do not separate digital from the rest of marketing, it is too important to sit on an island. 
Now it’s your turn, what are you planning to do within digital marketing for 2014? What other suggestions do you have for your peers? What did I miss?
Follow Sam Melnick on Twitter: @SamMelnick

If Content is Still King, Data is Heir to the Throne

Content marketing is becoming a primary strategy to solve the challenges of massively scaling and diversifying marketing channels. But content does not naturally support both scale and diversity at the same time. The only thing that scales as endlessly and cost effectively as the digital world is data. As a result, data marketing is on the rise and will ultimately inherent the throne as the core strategy for modern marketing. What is data marketing? It’s using interactive data to directly influence or add value to your prospects, customers, and partners. Think of it as content marketing without the editorial. Data marketing is already fueling the rapid growth of content marketing. The best pieces of content marketing are typically wrapped around a compelling piece of (static) data. The key is that stripped of editorial, data must become interactive and not only deliver personalized insights but capture and bring user input back. 
Modern business solutions are increasingly deployed in the cloud on SaaS platforms that capture every transaction of every user. SaaS vendors are finding huge value in these datasets. They provide empirical evidence of best practice, efficacy, and cost effectiveness. Marketing and sales automation vendors can show their customers and prospects what types of campaigns result in the greatest lead generation, the highest value and velocity through the pipeline and the greatest return. They can tell them what type of social media content and cadence is most effective on which social media channels. This insight represents enormous value-add over and above the operational efficiency the systems provide.
Consider the power of this model applied to channel marketing. A SaaS platform for channel enablement can offer partners a single point of access to content repositories, transaction systems, execution environments, (inbound and outbound marketing, sales process tools) and social networks. If it’s constructed properly it provides a place for partners to get work done, not just a library to read about how to get stuff done. For smaller partners that lack infrastructure and staffing resources this is an invaluable resource. As they use the platform it captures:
  • Engagement – who’s downloading what how often from the platform
  • Transactions – deal registration, order submission, billing update, MDF reconciliation.
  • Execution– the number of leads their marketing has produced, how leads are progressing through their pipeline
  • Social interactions – groups they join, how they participate, what SMEs they interact with.
  • Performance data – closed deals, order value

Access to this data can be offered from the platform through the development of a few simple forms and reports. The more data partners provide, the greater the level of analysis and insight they get in return. This information can be used to identify best practices of the top performers and shared (in aggregate) with other partners to help them run their businesses, resulting in better overall performance of all partners.
By utilizing pure data as collateral, companies can deliver highly targeted proprietary insights at scale much more efficiently than they can with content. While the role of content will in no way diminish, companies that master the art of data marketing will have greater levels of engagement, retention, and revenue with all their key constituents than those that rely exclusively on content marketing. 

Slide Deck – 2013 Cloud Marketing Trends

There is no arguments that the cloud software industry is currently top of mind for many, in fact enterprise companies are even receiving their share of love. While the industry as a whole has our attention, what about marketing departments at these companies. 
How are CMOs at these fast growing cloud organizations managing their marketing budget? What are they worried about? and what are their priorities for the rest of the year?
Within IDC’s 2013 Marketing Barometer survey we received answers from marketing leaders within cloud organizations. In this presentation you will see the high level findings comparing these cloud marketing departments to more traditional 2nd platform companies.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these initial findings and how your marketing organization is working to compete in this fast growing market (whether as a pure play or just one of many product lines).  
For an extended deck with further analysis please contact me directly at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com or reach out to me on twitter: @SamMelnick

Best Practices for Paid Social Media – An Up and Coming Tool for B2B Marketers

The stigma of social media is something I have been fighting for years. As someone whose education and career has mirrored Mark Zuckerberg’s (minus the dropping out of an ivy league school to build a multibillion dollar company and taking it public…so really when I say “mirrored”, I mean we are approximately the same age), I feel an affinity to the social networks that have matured as my own career has moved forward. Because of this I have found myself defending the merits of different social networks’ “tangible” value to relatives, colleagues, and random people on the subway. So, when I received an email stating I had $100 free Twitter ad credits, I jumped at the chance to see where Twitter has taken their ad platform. While that $100 was great to boost my twitter followers (speaking of which follow me here), retweets, and ego it didn’t really answer my questions around how creative B2B marketers are utilizing social networks.

To dive in deeper I tapped the knowledge of 3 digital and social marketing leaders to educate me on how their organizations are harnessing the power of social through “Paid Social” Campaigns. The experts I spoke with are listed below:

Lauren Vaccarello, Sr Director of Online Marketing at salesforce.com
Lauren Friedman, Manager of the Social Community Engagement Team at Adobe
Dan Slagen, Head of Global Marketing Relations at Hubspot. (Now SVP of Marketing at Nanigans)
You can find the full overview and guidance on ‘Paid Social’ within IDC’s CMO Advisory Service’smost recently published document Paid Social Media: A Look into How TopBrands Are Utilizing Paid Social Campaigns. For 3 ‘take aways’ for B2B marketers look no further:
There are Two Kinds of Marketers in Social: The Quick and the Dead: A pillar of social is the fast pace and instant reactions it provides. While moving fast is necessary, leading companies go to great lengths to make sure they are able to move quickly and effectively. The experts I spoke with all emphasized seamless communication across the organization to assure there was no misunderstandings on the current social game plan. Additionally, they each spoke about implementing technologies on the backend to measure the data and output actionable metrics.
Paid Social is a Different Kind of Advertising Buy: Social ad buys are not your father’s paid advertising campaigns; marketers must acknowledge this before going head first into a paid social campaign. Social networks are built with the end user in mind; all of the marketers I spoke with emphasized this point. Think creatively when it comes to Twitter or Facebook ad buys, consider leveraging the platforms to amplify a message or push something that will strengthen your community rather than just driving leads.

What Can Social do for Me?: Most marketers have acknowledged and embraced social marketing as a part of their overall strategy. However, that does not mean it is accepted throughout the organization. Before asking for (or putting) advertising dollars towards paid social campaigns, marketers need to answer the question “what can social do for me?” for other decision makers within the organization. The experts I spoke with pointed towards heavy alignment with sales so the reps understand the incoming leads and how to act on them. Some companies put SLAs in place to assure that both Marketing and Sales commit to specific responsibilities. The other best practice is to create a pilot program before committing big dollars and major resources – this way you have specific proof points to set your goals on and optimize off.
What are your thoughts on “Paid Social”?
Does your organization currently run paid advertising on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn?
Do you have any comments to add to what is above?
Sam Melnick is a Research Analyst with IDC’s CMO Advisory you can follow him on twitter: @SamMelnick

FutureM: For Marketers, Times They are a Changin’

I attended FutureM in Boston a few weeks ago and the main take away was: Marketing is changing quickly and organizations must grow and adapt, otherwise they will fall behind.

IDC’s CMO Advisory Service has been advising this for some time, but as I read more blogs and attend more marketing based events like FutureM, the reality of overarching change is becoming obvious. IDC’s data points to this as well; investment in Digital Marketing within the Enterprise Tech industry has increased from 12.6% of budgets in 2009 to 29.2% by the end of 2012* – we expect this trend to continue.

Below I have outlined 3 sessions that did a great job of highlighting the change that is taking place. I then took particularly interesting or relevant quotes and expanded on them.

“Social has to be collaborative between agencies and the brand – It has to be done for consumer insight and you cannot do it for the sake of just doing it.
                   – Anthony van Dijk, Brand Manager, Global Gillette Venus Base Business, Gillette

This quote hit home with me – as social, and digital in general, continue to mature, marketers must engage with their agency around these topics. However, don’t just check off a box by giving them the set of keys to your online presence and communities. Hold your team and agency accountable; have a specific plan and goals. Almost as importantly, don’t just give your agency a mandate to improve social, work with them and guide them as your brand and goals change. Social is often instantaneous, you cannot expect the undertaking to be a straight line trajectory – be ready to adjust and if you’re expecting deliverables from your agency give them the best chance to help you succeed!

Understand IDC’s guidance for B2B Social Marketing by downloading our report: “Despite the Hype, B2B Social Marketing Is Still in Its Infancy: 2012 Guidance for New Investment Dollars and Staff


“The buyer is on a journey and the vendor is not invited.”
                    –  Joe Chernov – VP of Marketing, Kinvey

This was one of my favorite quotes of the entire conference – it was provocative and goes against much of what we have been taught as marketers. If you take a broader view, Joe is right, this isn’t your father’s “buyer” the tools and knowledge available today have changed everything. Rather than Sales or Marketing holding all the information, social networks, forums, and the rest of the internet can provide the Buyer with a large majority of answers. As IDC has reported in our recent publication, The 2012 IT Buyer Experience Survey: Accelerating the New Buyer’s Journey, marketers and sales must be aware of this new reality and adjust their strategies and tactics. Additionally, my colleague Kathleen Schaub wrote a great blog post on Operationalizing Your Buyer’s Journey. The report and post both are great places to start on this topic!


“Good professionals let the data speak, if you don’t have good data – don’t make a decision!”
                     – Chuck Hollis, VP — Global Marketing CTO, EMC Corporation

Discussion around Analytics and Big Data resonate strongly with me – they are hot topics in the marketing world and can provide immense value. Our group always urges marketers to utilize data any chance they can. However, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of trying to quickly move projects forward while using data as a guide. Chuck’s quote reminds us to be honest with yourself and be honest in your decision making process, don’t make a decision based on data unless it is telling a clear objective story.

For more information on data driven marketing download IDC’s study “Data-Driven Marketing: A Survey of Marketing Automation Maturity in Global High-Tech Companies

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While these quotes give a quick glimpse into a few sessions at FutureM, the entire conference is a reminder that there is a lot of change in Marketing and many technologies and companies can be a huge asset in this transformation. Don’t ignore this change, take time to educate yourself even if it is just a few hours a week to demo a new product or service or view an interesting webinar. Ultimately, as a marketer if you don’t start swimming, you risk sinking like a stone. 

You can follow Sam Melnick on twitter: @SamMelnick or contact him at smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com

*Source:  IDC’s 2012 Tech Marketing Benchmark Study (full results to be published this quarter)

Data Analytics wins 2012 US Presidential Election

Data analytics was the big winner in the 2012 US Presidential race. In fact, 11:17 PM (US ET) November 6th was the moment data analytics went mainstream. This was when Ohio was officially projected to go to Obama. It was the ultimate validation for Nate Silver and his data analytics approach to election forecasting. To much fanfare he accurately predicted the results of the election in all 50 states without doing any of his own polling. He used sophisticated analytic models based on data from as many third party polls he could find. To this he added the secret sauce of data analytics – a keen understanding of how different types of data from different sources relate to one another in context.

His FiveThirtyEight blog drove as much as 20% of the web traffic to the New York Times website – the 6th most visited US news site on the net – leading up to the election. As a result, data analytics is officially mainstream. Any business leader at any level that does not immediately embrace its power is putting his or her career and company in jeopardy.
Data analytics works. It does not produce miracles, but it does produce results that far outperform human judgment on its own. The Obama campaign employed an army of retail data analytics wonks to beat the Romney campaign in every battleground state. They did it by applying analytic techniques proven in the supermarket industry:
  • Standardizing records: Unifying the customer (voter) database
  • Widening perspective: Combining diverse data types: demographics; buying/voting history; response by media; donation/activity by trigger (celebrity dinner), model (contest) and method (mobile); group/church  membership, social networking activity (Reddit), etc.
  • Judicious targeting: Carefully identifying the potential for influencing voters that could influence the election. Not worth targeting easily influenced voters if they don’t live in a county that can help swing a state. Not worth targeting difficult to influence voters even if they live in a critical county. This is essential for achieving impact and ROI.
  • Media mix modeling: which media channels have the greatest impact on which kinds of voters?
  • Action oriented outreach: Understanding the specifics of why and how certain people act and designing multiple outreach experiments (progressive offers, channel mix, social references, etc.) based on that.
  • Openness to innovation: data driven models may point to approaches that are counter intuitive for some decision makers. They can seem risky and mysterious. They will not be right all the time. Controlled risk is part of the evolutionary process to effectiveness. Without a tolerance for experimentation however, you will not develop a data driven culture, you will in fact kill it.

Marketers in the world’s largest high tech companies are finally acquiring the enterprise data services needed to apply data analytics to long cycle B2B customer creation processes. We are already seeing signs of how significant the impact of these new approaches to marketing and sales can be:

  • $200M EU lift based on a sophisticated solutions recommendation engine
  • 45% more subscription revenue with no increase in a multi-million dollar marketing budget
  • Tens of millions of dollars in revenue uplift from simple web behavioral changes

Embracing data driven decision making is now a matter of survival. You simply cannot win against competitors that have faster, deeper market insight. They will beat you in every stage of the customer creation process. Your marketing will be months behind, your inside sales reps will be calling customers already committed to alternatives, your field sales reps will miss opportunity after opportunity to get more revenue from existing customers. Your funnel will collapse, your pipeline will dry up, your renewable revenue will shrink, and at that point it will be hard to recover. Hyperbole, you say? In the great A/B test of who uses data analytics and who does not, stay in the B group at your peril.
IDC EAG group has done extensive research on the key ingredients needed to create the enterprise data services that are a prerequisite for data driven customer creation and has ongoing research into how to create a data driven culture. To find out more please contact Gerry Murray – gmurray(at)idc(dot)com. 

Facebook Announces 1 Billion Users – It’s Time for All Marketers to Give it a Go

A few days ago Facebook announced that their active users surpassed 1 Billion. This is a huge number and like it or not, as a Marketer, you cannot ignore a community of this size. At this point, it is irresponsible to write Facebook off as a fad. Its user base covers all demographics and geographies – chances are, as a business, whoever you are selling to is on Facebook. While I certainly do not advocate for suddenly changing your advertising mix to a 25% Facebook Ad spend or hiring a brand new agency to build a Facebook Page that rivals Coke or Jet Blue, I do believe there are plenty of good ways to start dipping your toes into the giant ocean that is Facebook.
I readily admit that the standard thinking is Facebook is a B2C tool – Facebook is great to reach consumers, however I believe there is something for everyone. B2B marketers need to think creatively, manage expectations and take learning’s from similar communities (think LinkedIn). And if you’re worried that you might be behind the curve or not sure the amount of time and energy to spend on social, through IDC’s 2012 Tech Marketing Benchmark Study (full results to be published this quarter), we learned that only 0.9% of tech marketing program budgets are spent on social media. So, while there is a lot of hype around social, we are still in the early days of truly leveraging social as a powerful marketing tool.
Below I’ve listed three ways you can start utilizing Facebook to make sure you aren’t missing an opportunity:

  • Skunk Works Project

While it’s great to have an agency who can own Social and Digital, having staff internally that are just as skilled is important. Facebook advertising is relatively easy to get started with, so it lends a perfect opportunity to give a key staff member a skunk works type side project and see if they can get value out of Facebook. Let them be creative, see what you can get out of Facebook, a worst case scenario is results are unsuccessful but you have a staff member who learns new skills – this can’t be overlooked in a world that continues to rapidly move towards digital. 

  • Don’t Forget Mobile

It’s easy to think of Facebook as a website where people go to when they want to take a quick break from work or inconspicuously “catch up” with old friends, but the future of Facebook is Mobile. In fact Mark Zuckerberg recently stated that 600 Million are Mobile users. With that many users on Mobile already, you can be sure that any major updates to the platform will have mobile users top of mind. Combine that with Facebook’s need to continue to monetize, it’s probably safe to predict there will continue to be new and creative ways to reach your target audience through Facebook’s Mobile platform. Be sure to keep your ear to ground when it comes to Facebook and Mobile, test out new products, you never know when one might be just what you need to reach key targets!
Quick heads up! 
For more research on Social Marketing please view our report: Despite the Hype, B2B Social Marketing Is Still in Its Infancy: 2012 Guidance for New Investment Dollars and Staff

  • Ask For Help


No one is expecting you to be a Facebook expert – it is still a very new platform and it is ever changing. Thankfully, there a ton of innovative companies that work with the platform or leverage Facebook to help large brands reach their goals. Start with your agency, see if they have resources, partners, or experience with building out the type of campaigns you are looking for, if they don’t have the answers, find out what vendors are leaders and schedule a call with them to see what they can offer. You don’t have to go at it alone. 

Regardless of what you do remember to measure measure measure. We never advocate aimlessly trying new strategies without a solid plan and a way to track and compare.
Have you had any experiences with leveraging Facebook? Let me know how it went and how you think it can be best used to reach your audience (if at all!).
Sam is a Research Analyst within IDC’s CMO Advisory Service you can follow him on twitter: @SamMelnick

How bright is the silver lining of Salesforce.com’s Marketing Cloud?

At their annual Dreamforce shindig last week Salesforce.com announced the formalization of their marketing capabilities as the Marketing Cloud. Essentially it is a coupling of four key pillars of Salesforce.com’s front end:
  1. Customer intelligence: Data.com enriches contact and account information with fresh feeds from sources such as LinkedIn and many others. Enables both sales and marketing to create detailed contact profiles for segmentation, targeting and campaign management.
  2. Social advertising and content management: The recent Buddy Media acquisition provides support for a wide range of social channels (social, web, mobile) and formats including contests, videos, and photos. Users can coordinate their publishing and advertising activity and measure impact throughout the social sphere.
  3. Social listening and analytical tools: Radian 6 monitors popular social services such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, as well as blogs, forums, communities and more. Supports 17 languages and mobile access.
  4. Core CRM functionality: Salesforce.com consolidates resources to provide sales reps with a single source that can connect them with other applications, contacts, colleagues and workflows. Pulls data together into account/opportunity context. Delivers reporting data to sales and sales managers and can provide opportunity and pipeline performance data into other systems such as marketing and order management.

Salesforce.com is taking its “Social Business” mantra to heart by building its marketing functionality with a “social first” philosophy. The question is: will this be enough to satisfy Salesforce.com customers (and the company itself)? The answer is probably not. The functionality you won’t find in Marketing Cloud is significant – the core campaign management tools, workflows, analytics and more offered by marketing automation vendors (e.g. Eloqua, Marketo, Neolane, Pardot, etc.) Even though there are fewer seats to be sold to marketers as opposed to sales, these two worlds are rapidly converging. The systems needed to automate them will need to do likewise, as evidenced by the tight integration of most marketing automation systems with Salesforce.com and the recent announcement of Chatter for Eloqua.
But Marketing Cloud is undoubtedly only the first step, in fact it’s well beyond the first step for Salesforce.com and the only issue going forward is how do they continue to expand functionality in this area?  The build or buy equation for Salesforce.com currently favors the build approach as valuations for marketing automation vendors are sky high, at least in terms of an acquisition. Salesforce.com has plenty of time to creep into the marketing automation arena, establish itself as a more serious threat and then re-evaluate its strategic decision around marketing functionality.
In the meantime, marketing automation vendors have their work cut out for them. They must stay well ahead of where Salesforce.com’s Marketing Cloud may go. They must continue to grow rapidly, prove their staying power and market value. Customers, however, should have no illusions that Marketing Cloud is an enterprise marketing automation platform in its current state. There is much more to marketing than social engagement especially for B2B models. Waiting for Marketing Cloud to evolve or for social to mature is simply not a choice, there is way too high a price to be paid in terms of market share, growth, and profitability. So if you’re considering marketing automation don’t delay or change course because of Marketing Cloud. Charge ahead full steam and should the social engagement of Marketing Cloud pop your ROI, by all means add it to your arsenal.