How To Make The Most Of
SaaS In One-to-One Marketing
A person's a person, no matter how small. -- Dr. Seuss
For some years now Ive met teams from Eloqua, Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM Dynamics, Oracle's Market2Lead.
I've also investigated other competing SaaS providers like Marketo, Silverpop and Manticore Technology to discover at length how feasible it might be to configure an actual B2B one-to-one marketing infrastructure using either a full SaaS vs. a hybrid marketing operations model, where part of the marketing infrastructure sits behind the corporate firewall while the rest is out there, somewhere in the cloud.
My findings remain consistent.
If we assume that fundamental process definitions and structures are already in place at the company, such as a central marketing database and a well-integrated layer of interfaces feeding it data from mission-critical systems, then the thought of achieving one-to-one marketing is reasonable.
In other words, committing the future of its marketing operation to a more sophisticated one-to-one oriented operations model begins to make sense for a company, if the organization already benefits from disciplined
team work, a basic though fine-tuned business process
and a core source of customer data. But what then becomes the objective of using a full SaaS or SaaS hybrid solution?
What Is The Ultimate End In Marketing Automation?
The objective of marketing sophistication in this context is to deliver a tool by which the company can automate its ability to simmer into hot leads the multitude of cold "leads" that it pours so much time, money and effort into producing. In the realm of B2B, Marketing is known for producing a greater number of useless contacts for Sales than anyone cares publicly to admit.
But getting the most yield out of all this marketing investment can justify the grand scheme of automating a process that achieves one-to-one marketing because, in practical terms, one-to-one marketing automation means that Marketing would be able to furnish the Sales department with a steady
stream of leads that actually match
the quality expectations that Sales holds for them. In essence, Marketing would be able to nurture the colds leads until they ripen into ready-to-pick hot leads.
This is called response maturation, and the automation of a one-to-one marketing process makes it possible. But sophistication implies intricacy. So this kind of automation is easier said than done for B2B situations involving complex and long sales cycles.
Marketing Joins The Space Age
Consider the model that Ive attempted to implement at various organizations. The concept is well received, even while the demands placed on the business to execute on it are something else! Still it aims at dynamically producing 3 kinds of behavioral scores from the data collected from contacts interacting with the business. Each score is assigned to every contact entering the marketing database at fixed points in time.
Grouped together, the 3 scores below make a set of simultaneous coordinates that the business can use as information bundles to track periodically a contacts behavior across 3 critical dimension not unlike a radar tracks the trajectory of a missile across time and space:
- Coordinate #1: Tracks the role that a contact plays in a project
- Coordinate #2: Tracks the contact's expressed interest in promotional information offered at various marketing outlets across the company
- Coordinate #3: Tracks the stage in the buying cycle where the contact's project team finds itself at a specific point in time
Why capture all this? We want to see the trajectory of these coordinates relative to their ideal direction.
We want to measure the movement of these behavioral data points across time and, as marketers, influence their course; help the contacts mature as their role, interests and purchasing process change. It's that simple. But having a model to work with is one thing, and its another thing for a business to keep up with this model.
Here is where a feasibility analysis must go well beyond modeling and technology and jump right into the lap of practicality. Does a business have enough resources, skill set and discipline to produce, analyze and decide upon all the necessary materials that would in fact influence the trajectory of each and every key contact along the agreed upon response maturation process? This is a tall order for any business. But it is more so for those lacking in marketing discipline and leadership.
How Can A SaaS Solution Help Best?
It may be possible technologically through a SaaS solution to track a myriad of contact interactions, scoring and associating them along the way to one another through a well-designed, powerful database. But, as always, technology is not a panacea. On the contrary, it can make a confusing situation worse.
For instance, what if the marketing organization cannot keep up with the need for fresh and fluff-free information, because the resulting demand for it outpaces your organization's ability to secure it for a client who needs it to migrate farther along the on-demand knowledge acquisition trajectory? This is not unheard of. Customers today have access to a wide array of information and as a result can question very effectively your organization's claims. If you've ever moderated a corporate blog you know what I'm talking about.
If you fail to deliver the needed information, then the maturation process comes to an immediate standstill. And this can happen faster than you think. It may happen, in fact, even before you get started deploying the new model, because you might not have enough information inventories or even the right kind of information to deliver to the market on-demand. Basically, you will need some sort of just-in-time supply chain model for procuring and delivers information that can keep up with personalized demands for it.
This sort of "just-in-time marketing" may be an ideal to achieve, and the concept might appeal to visionary CMO's and Marketing Resource Management (MRM) vendors. But a marketing team that cannot generate the necessary information to satisfy the demands from target contacts might serve those contacts best through a more conventional approach to direct marketing, periodically targeting specific high-value market segments or niches discovered through data mining techniques or a straight forward Pareto analysis instead of attempting doing the same in real-time.
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