When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I’ve been illustrating the point recently by asking whether every system I see is really a Customer Data Platform (CDP). The question comes up because nearly every customer management system builds its own customer database, which is one core function of a CDP. What distinguishes CDPs is that they make their database accessible to other execution systems and add some type of customer management intelligence. This intelligence ranges from behavior flags, segment codes, or predictive model scores to treatment recommendations to full-blown campaign management. Sometimes the enriched data is all that’s exposed to the execution systems, although usually the underlying customer profiles are available as well. Often the CDPs support just one stage of the customer life cycle, such as acquisition or retention: this in...
David RaabRaab Associates Inc.
0 comments 278 readsPosted on 2013-11-27
4 comments 2,039 readsPosted on 2013-11-22
I spent the early part of this week at Salesforce.com’s annual Dreamforce conference. Here are my observations.
The big news was for geeks. The main theme of the conference was Salesforce1, a new set of technologies that make it vastly easier to deliver and integrate mobile versions of Salesforce-based applications. It is apparently a major technical accomplishment and at least one of my technical friends was hugely impressed. But I can’t say I personally found it all that exciting. Perhaps we’ve reached the point where we expect technology to do pretty much everything, so the line between what's already available and what's new is only visible to experts. Any way you slice it, focusing on platform technology is much less exciting than last year's vision of "social enterprise".
The bad news was for B2B marketing automation. Conference presentations confirmed that Pardot, the B2B marketing...
0 comments 666 readsPosted on 2013-11-15
There are about 3 million companies with revenue between $1 million and $5 million in the U.S., according to Manta. This is an enticingly huge market for marketing automation vendors, and one that seems largely untapped. The largest marketing automation vendor in the segment, Infusionsoft, has under 20,000 clients. This is barely scratching the surface.
But this perspective is misleading. Many small businesses do their marketing through CRM, email, and search advertising. Search marketing is particularly important as online searches replace newspapers and telephone directories. Companies that provide small businesses with online directories and ratings, search engine optimization, Web sites, and paid search marketing all have client bases that dwarf the small business marketing automation industry.
Those other vendors could easily see marketing automation as a natural line extension, since it would...
0 comments 269 readsPosted on 2013-11-08
I had a conversation last week with a vendor whose pitch was all about providing execution systems with a shared database that contains a unified view of customer information from all sources. Sadly, they were unfamiliar with the concept of a Customer Data Platform as I’ve been developing it over the past few months and didn’t realize that they fit the definition.
This post is not about that company.
Instead, it will be about another company I also spoke with last week, which I had originally considered a CDP but then decided wasn’t. After hearing their latest news, I still place them outside the border, but think they’re creeping closer and – for reasons I’ll explain later -- will some day reach the other side.
0 comments 587 readsPosted on 2013-11-01
There was a really interesting discussion this week over on Scott Brinker’s ChiefMartec blog about the evolution of marketing automation systems into “platforms” that each support a swarm of satellite applications connected through open APIs. This is something I’ve already thought and written about quite a bit, but the discussion did advance my understanding of whether any marketing automation vendor gains a business advantage if third party applications can connect to all of them. I think the answer is: probably not. This means the platform strategy provides less value than many vendors and investors assume, although it may be needed for competitive parity.
The other issue that just started to surface as the discussion petered out was the nature of platform integrations. Part of this had to do with the scope of the integration available (that is, which functions...
Marketing Automation User Satisfaction: Clearly, There's Room for Improvement (and maybe a little vodka)1 comments 1,743 readsPosted on 2013-10-22
Last week’s post on marketing automation and its discontents prompted several questions about whether the level of dissatisfaction is any higher with marketing automation than other systems. To some extent, this is asking whether the glass is half empty or half full; and, as the illustration suggests, the answer matters less than the fact that there’s clearly room for improvement. But I do have some data to share on the question of relative dissatisfaction.
The first insights come from...
0 comments 1,224 readsPosted on 2013-10-15
As I mentioned in last week's post, I’m writing a paper on stages of marketing automation deployment. Key findings will be presented in a Webinar next Thursday, sponsored by TreeHouse Interactive; you can register here. The paper itself will be available to Webinar attendees.
The premise of the paper and Webinar is marketing automation has a problem: clients who don’t move beyond basic email functions are unhappy. Last week’s post provided statistics that show how many marketers fail to make this transition, but it didn’t actually show why this matters. So let’s look at some more data that illustrates the trouble in marketing automation paradise.
First we’ll start with the paradise itself: B2B...
0 comments 811 readsPosted on 2013-10-09
I’ve been writing a paper on the stages that marketers go through when deploying their marketing automation systems, the basic point being it’s important not to stop with just one feature. That much is indisputable, but the next question seemed to call for some empirical data: which features are used most often? Here’s where things got interesting.
Searching through my trove of published reports, I found four recent surveys that asked this question. Of course they differed in the precise categories used and their audiences, but they generally covered the major B2B marketing automation features: email, Web behavior tracking, landing pages, nurture campaigns, lead scoring, analytics, and social media marketing. Where they differ is how frequently they report the different features are used.
The table below shows a summary of the results, with values all normalized so the highest ranked answer in each survey equals 100. (I’ve shown the original results at the bottom of...
0 comments 474 readsPosted on 2013-10-02
Systems in our new Guide to Customer Data Platforms range from B2B data enhancement to campaign managers to audience platforms. This may lead you to wonder whether there’s anything we actually left out. In fact, there was: although the final choices were admittedly a bit subjective, I tried to ensure the report only included systems that met specific critieria including a persistent database, customer-level data, marketer control, and marketing-related outputs to external systems. In most cases, I could judge whether a system fit before doing a lot of detailed research. But a few systems were so close to the border that I only made the final call after I had evaluated them in depth.
idio was one of those. The company positions itself as a tool to deliver “personalized and relevant multi-channel communications”, which sure sounds like a CDP. Indeed,...
0 comments 454 readsPosted on 2013-09-26
Raab Associates’ new Guide to Customer Data Platforms is now available (click here to buy).
You may not find that news to be fall-off-your-chair exciting. In fact, you’re more likely to wonder whether the world needs yet another report on anything at all. Fair enough. So before telling you what’s in the CDP Guide, I'll tell you why it exists.
Simply put, marketers need better databases. If you’re a working marketer, you almost...