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Managing marketing: putting the puzzle together

This article appears in the issue November/December 2014, [Vol 23, Issue 10]
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Marketing has experienced a surge in both corporate influence and budgets. Gartner predicted that chief marketing officers (CMOs) will spend more on IT than chief information officers (CIOs) within just a few years. That marks a change, because marketing departments historically have not used information technology to the extent that other departments have. Compare the well-established disciplines of enterprise content management (ECM), business process management (BPM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) and the lag is clear.

Marketing automation

Marketing automation is one example of a technology that is seeing increasing use. It handles tasks that range from automation of e-mail marketing to segmenting customers so that an appropriate message can be sent, and analyzing the ROI of campaigns. Frost & Sullivan predicts that the market will grow from about half a billion dollars to nearly $2 billion over the next six years. Market leaders include Marketo, Eloqua (purchased by Oracle in 2014) and HubSpot, which account for half the market, with the remainder taken up by dozens of companies.

The functional areas of different products are also fragmented. For example, lead management, which facilitates the transition from marketing to sales, is part of some marketing automation products but also is resident in some customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Increasingly, products are covering additional functional areas but not in a consistent pattern. Integration of data from disparate sources is an ongoing issue. Add-On, which produces marketing automation software, advocates integration of marketing and sales information (prospects and buyers) so that each department has visibility into the actions and information of the other.

Marketing plan overview and predictions

Epsilon is a digital marketing company that serves top companies in the insurance, retailing, financial, healthcare and other major industry sectors. It uses information about consumers to tailor marketing messages across numerous channels, including e-mail, social and point of sale.

A leader in direct marketing, Epsilon maintains information on millions of consumers and businesses. The company wanted a way to track and coordinate its own marketing activities, which focus on CMOs of Fortune 500 companies. In addition, it did not have an effective way to predict the impact of its marketing plans on its revenue. Epsilon evaluated several alternatives before selecting Gameplan from Bulldog Solutions.

Bulldog provides a SaaS-based marketing solution that helps companies track their B2B marketing plans. “We interviewed many CMOs and asked them where their overall marketing plan was,” says Darin Hicks, CEO of Bulldog. “Surprisingly, most of them did not know.” Instead, marketing plans were fragmented, contained in spreadsheets that did not communicate with each other. “Once in a while, the information would get pulled together in a PowerPoint presentation,” adds Hicks, “but it would not be kept up to date.”

Moreover, companies did not know what was working and how to attribute success. “In the planning process, we have a predictive model that ties business plans to goals,” explains Hicks. “This includes the average deal size, velocities, issues such as whether marketing can have an impact on a specific outcome in the current year and so on.”

Granular capability

Bulldog offers four products in its marketing cloud. Gameplan, the flagship product, focuses on B2B planning and performance measurement. It includes budgeting, a centralized calendar, custom demand modeling and dynamic reporting of actual expenditures versus planned budget.

Bulldog’s Benchmark software provides a qualitative assessment of marketing maturity and makes recommendations for organizational improvement. “With five general categories and 75 attributes, Benchmark can get very granular,” Hicks explains. The company’s Engage software is used for delivering campaigns that improve conversion through dynamic user-generated content that varies depending on the user’s characteristics and actions.

The fourth product, Measure, provides real-time campaign performance and waterfall pipeline data via a dashboard. It integrates marketing automation information with Salesforce.com. “Salesforce.com stores information by opportunity, and marketing automation software stores it by touchpoint,” Hicks says. “Measure is a marketing intelligence dashboard that helps close the loop to provide a full picture.” The data model supplies the connection, relating the facts that a contact came from the same company in which a deal was closed, and that this event occurred within a timeframe during which the deal had been influenced.

Relating marketing  to sales outcomes

The products are integrated with marketing automation solutions and Salesforce.com to compare the plan to actual outcomes. “Our software can determine which campaign brought a company into the funnel,” says Hicks. “Each company can look at the model in a different way, whether that is first touch, last touch or spread evenly among them.”

The result for Epsilon is the ability to relate marketing campaigns with sales outcomes. In addition, Epsilon is now able to see all of its marketing initiatives in one application. The central calendar enables the company to better synchronize its activities and avoid conflicting or duplicative marketing efforts.

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