Tag Archives: Demand Generation

Demand Generation Blogs Continued

In the spirit of Twitter’s Follow Friday I’d like to finally publish the remaining Demand Generation blogs that I enjoy reading. Earlier I published the Top 10 Demand Generation vendor blogs and the Top 10 Marketing Automation Blogs.

Of course, there were many great blogs that I forgot to include, so here are the remaining ones!

  • B2B Marketing Zone
    This is more of a meta-blog, aggregating a large number of B2B blogs, including this blog. I’ve discovered several new and interesting blogs on the B2B Marketing Zone, so highly recommended.
  • DemandGen Report
    This is an leading online magazine for Marketing Automaton, which features vendor information, news articles a job board and more.
  • Rebekah Donaldson’s “Red on Marketing”
    Rebekah and her team write about demand generation, with lots of good articles on content marketing and social media.
  • Brenda Gelston’ Marketing Momentum blog
    This blog provides a strategic perspective on the demand generation process.
  • Gary Katz, Marketing Operations at Work
    Gary is one of the forces behind promoting marketing operations as a important specialty, and on his blog he writes about this.
  • Ken Molay, Webinar Blog
    Demand generation is not complete without covering Webinars, one of the key lead generation programs. Ken’s blog full of useful webinar ideas.
  • Net-Results blog
    This is one of the newer vendors in the Demand Generation market, focused on the SMB market.
  • Jeff Ogden’s Fearless Competitor blog
    Jeff specializes in helping companies find new customers, he wrote a great e-book about that, and blogs about Demand Generation, primarily from a Sales perspective
  • Upshot Institute
    This is a resource website with information on marketing automation vendors, podcasts, webinars and blogs.

I hope you found some interesting new blogs in this list. And again, if you have any blog recommendations, please let me know: I’m looking forward to discover new thought leaders.

UPDATE: I’ve now put all marketing automation blogs on a single page.

Top-10 Marketing Automation Blogs

UPDATE 7/14/09: I’ve now put all marketing automation blogs on a single page.

A couple of people recently asked me which blogs I’m frequently reading. So here’s the list. Please send me your favorite blogs, because there must be lots of great Marketing Automation blogs that I haven’t found yet!

BTW 1: Some of these blogs are more about lead generation, demand generation or inbound marketing, so maybe the title of this blog post is not ideal. But regardless of the terminology, these are the blogs that I enjoy most :- )

BTW 2: I have not included vendor weblogs: I will put those in a separate post.

In alphabetical order, these are the blogs that I read most frequently, and that I can heartily recommend.

(oops, that’s 11 blogs)

Let me know your favorite blogs, so I can put them in a follow-up post. Thanks!

Genius Enterprise Review

Today Genius.com launched their new Genius Enterprise product. It adds automated lead nurturing, real-time lead conversions, and lead scoring to its existing email marketing solutions.

Genius.com Product Suite

Genius.com is well-known for its sales notification product, SalesGenius. It allows sales people to send personalized emails to their prospects and monitor their response in real-time. The Genius Tracker – sort of an instant messaging client – gives immediate alerts if prospects visit the company’s website. Sales people can sign up individually, without having to involve the IT department.

Last year Genius.com introduced MarketingGenius, which allows marketing departments to send emails on behalf of the sales people. Again, the responsible sales person is notified of click-throughs via the Tracker.

The Enterprise product that is launched today extends this offering with lead nurturing and lead scoring. Now Genius.com is one step closer to becoming a viable competitor to more established marketing automation solutions, so I’ve added them to my list of Demand Generation systems.

Genius Enterprise

With the existing products emails are sent by a sales person or by the marketing department. With Genius Enterprise there can be lots of different events that trigger the sending of an email. Let’s take a quick peak at the new product:


The Genius Enterprise Workflow Designer

The screenshot shows that many events can start a workflow: a change in Salesforce.com, a website visit, an email open or the passage of a certain amount of time. Based on that, additional emails can be sent, the lead score can be updated or the responsible sales person can be alerted. For a more detailed review, see David Raab’s write-up.

Genius.com expects that this product will especially appeal to mid-side to large organizations. Most will use this together with the SalesGenius product. Pricing starts at $18,000 per year, including 5 SalesGenius seats.

How does Genius Enterprise Compare?

Many new customers will upgrade from Email Service Providers that don’t provide the real-time tracking and lead nurturing features. The closest competitor in this area may be ExactTarget, which offers email nurturing functionality.

Also, many companies will compare Genius.com with established Demand Generation products such as Eloqua. Genius does not provide some typical demand generation features, such as landing pages or microsites. However, not every company may need that. And Genius clearly has an edge in several areas:

  • quick implementation with no IT involvement
  • ease of use
  • marketing & sales collaboration
  • instant response
  • real-time salesforce.com integration


If your first priority in Demand Generation is to make better use of email campaigns to nurture prospects, and to foster sales & marketing collaboration, Genius Enterprise is an excellent choice. If you need other demand generation features like landing pages, you should compare it with full-featured demand generation products.

PS. Genius.com will be at the Sales 2.0 conference, this Wednesday and Thursday in San Francisco (4 & 5 March 2009). Stop by for a demo.

Marketo Wins Stevie Award for Demand Generation

Last week it was announced that Marketo won the Stevie Award for ‘Demand Generation Program of the Year’. They submitted a case study about ShipServ, a global e-marketplace for the shipping industry (details below).  Thanks to Marketo’s Lead Management software, ShipServ was able to send more email campaigns in less time. As a result of that, the number of opportunities per 100 contact requests increased from 3 to 11, almost a fourfold increase.

stevie awards logo for sales and customer serviceThe Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service (formerly the Selling Power Sales Excellence Awards) honor and generate public recognition of the accomplishments of sales and customer service professionals professionals worldwide. Last year’s winner was Eloqua, who had submitted a case study about their own internal demand generation processes.

The ShipServ Case Study

The Marketo press release is somewhat short on details, but Jon Miller, Marketo’s VP Marketing, pointed me at the ShipServ case study on the Marketo website, which tells the complete story.

Before Marketo, ShipServ had been using a traditional email marketing tool from VerticalResponse. They found that this did not work well for Lead Nurturing. They had to keep a calendar with reminders for email follow-ups, and then manually create the lists and send the emails. Pretty labor intensive, and from personal experience I know this is not a maintainable solution.

With Marketo they can set up automate lead nurture campaigns based on events. An event can be time-based, but also an action by a prospect, for example a website visit or a click on a link in an email. ShipServ uses this to warm up cold leads until they are sales-ready.

In addition to converting more inquiries into prospects, and more prospects into opportunities, it has also had a positive impact on the sales-marketing collaboration. For sales it is now much easier to see how marketing is directly contributing to business success.

Product-wise, ShipServ appreciated the fast implementation, including an instant-on integration with Salesforce.com: you just enter your Salesforce.com credentials and the rest is automatic. ShipServ summarized the product as “easy to use, easy to administer, and easy to learn”.

Where is the Competition?

There may be just as many awards as there are vendors, but in this case I’m genuinely impressed: the case study gives a fair amount of details, and the results are significant. It would be nice to see more competition around these type of awards: according to the honoree list it seems like Marketo was the only finalist.

Demand Generation is not about the software, it’s about how you use the software to gain business benefits. Competitions like the Stevie Awards emphasize this, and make it easier to compare vendors, not on features but on actual results.

Question to all marketing automation vendors: are you going to submit a detailed case study to the Stevie Awards next year? I’d love to see some competition.

Demand Generation Market is Hot: LoopFuse, Genius.com

While the stock market tanks, the Demand Generation and Marketing Automation markets are gearing up. This week both LoopFuse and Genius.com published very positive news.

Genius.com: 200% revenue growth

genius.com logoGenius.com reports 200% revenue growth and a 50% increase in new customer acquistions (that’s a typo from their press release). I assume that means they’ve also increased revenue per customer, most likely because they are now selling MarketingGenius, which is an email marketing tool, which sells at a higher price point than the existing SalesGenius product (for individual sales people).

Genius.com now has over 50,000 Genius users, in over 100 countries worldwide. That is impressive. However, their core functionality (tracking of prospects’ website activity) is now also offered by Marketing Automation systems as part of a bigger offering. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Genius.com will continue to expand their offerings.

Loopfuse: Series A funding

loopfuse logoLoopfuse, a provider of open source marketing automation and email marketing solutions, has raised around $1.4 million in Series A funding led by True Ventures.

The only thing I know about them is that many of their customers are themselves open source software companies, such as Acquia, the company behind the Drupal Content Management System. As a matter of fact, Drupal is now integrated with LoopFuse. With the integration Loopfuse tags are automatically added to Drupal pages, and Drupal web forms are submitted into LoopFuse (at least, that’s what I understand based on the press release). I’d love to learn more about this system. Let me know your feedback or testimonials.

In any case, the LoopFuse people must be in euphoria after this news, at least based on the (somewhat cocky) comment on their blog:

“To Marketo and their overpriced Toy for Marketing Tots™, and Eloqua, with their Techological Torture Device™, I say, Get some coffee and try to stay awake. If it was bad for you when it was two guys (and a dog), it’s going to be an utter nightmare now.”

Tough times ahead?

You’d say that the good times must be ending some time? Or will marketing automation be the positive exception? Will Genius.com and Eloqua go IPO in 2010? That would really put the demand generation space on the map.

What is a Demand Generation System?

Last year Laura Ramos, the B2B Marketing guru at Forrester, stated that the lead management automation market was confusing. There are many players, and many sub-categories. Demand Generation is probably the most confusing, it can mean two things:

  • Software or services that get you in touch with new prospects so you can fill your database; this could be Search Engine Optimization (Hubspot), telesales (Phone Works) or contact databases (Demandbase, Jigsaw)
  • But it can also mean: software that automates the lead management process once leads have arrived on your website, or are already in your database (Eloqua, Marketo, Market2Lead, etc.)

If I understand it correctly, Laura uses the first definition, while Eloqua – the leading lead management automation firm – often uses the second definition. Also, David Raab publishes the Guide to Demand Generation Systems, covering Eloqua, Vtrenz, Marketo, Manticore Technology and Market2Lead, which clearly fall within the second definition.

I must side with Laura: Eloqua and similar systems do not generate demand, they primarily manage leads (in a very elaborate way though :- )

So my suggestion: replace all instances of Demand Generation System with Lead Management System!

Does that makes sense or not?

Book Review: Digital Body Language

I’m not sure if I like the term Digital Body Language, but Steve Woods’ book with that title I like very much. It clearly shows how the role of marketing in the complex sales has changed, and gives lots of detailed suggestions on how marketing teams can cope with this change, by using smart demand generation strategies.

Digital Body Language Book by Steven WoodsIn the old days, sales people managed the entire sales process: they took leads from the awareness phase, via discovery of possible solutions, to the final validation phase. Today, prospects get much of their information online, and often go through awareness and discovery without ever talking to a sales person. Sales may not be involved, but marketing for sure…

Where sales people used to look at the prospect’s body language to gather important information, the marketing team can now collect huge amounts of information from the prospect’s online behavior. Steve calls this pool of data the Digital Body Language.

It is marketing’s task to use the digital body language to move prospects through the funnel until they are sales-ready. This can be done by calculating lead scores and nurturing the prospects based on their stage in the buying process, their role, interest level and communication preferences.

A key element of marketing’s new role is to capture all possible data about the prospect. Everything should be recorded: email clicks, responses to direct mail, visits to the website, and so on. All this should be added to the prospect’s profile in a centralized database.

This also means that data quality is getting more important. The data should not only be centralized, but also normalized and free of duplicates and errors. This is also a key recommendation of another popular B2B Marketing book:  Lead Generation for the Complex Sale by Brian Carroll.

A next step is to nurture the prospect according to the prospect’s stage in the buying process, not according to the vendor’s preferred sales process. The prospect’s online behavior gives hints about where they are in the buying process, and it’s marketing’s task to distill this information from the prospect’s digital body language.

Steve also advocates more collaboration between sales and marketing. He suggests several ways to involve sales more closely in the nurturing process: letting sales initiate certain marketing initiatives, such as a specific lead nurturing program; letting sales send back leads to marketing if they’re not yet ready to buy; giving sales people notifications of important prospect activity, such as website visits or jumps in lead score.

And finally, the entire marketing process must be optimized continuously, based on the wealth of data that is now available. Not only can you measure the number of marketing-qualified leads, but also the percentage of leads that are subsequently accepted by sales (which should ideally be 100%).

All these changes requires marketing people with a different skill set: more analytical, process driven. It’s not about pretty graphics anymore, it’s about capturing and analyzing prospect’s data and intelligently running campaigns based on this data. Then analyzing the results and optimize continuously.

Digital Body Language is not an easy read, because it’s chock-full of information that has never been put in a book before. Steve has added about two dozen case studies, which are brief but provide practical examples that make the book come more alive. All in all, I think this book will soon become a classic in the demand generation space.

Steve Woods is CTO and co-founder of Eloqua. He blogs on the Digital Body Language blog, and the Eloqua Artisan blog. His Twitter name is @stevewoods.

Act-On Review: Demand Generation with Webinar Integration

Webinars are a proven way to generate and nurture leads. To make webinars logistics easier, I’d love to see a proper integration between Demand Generation systems and Webinar systems such as Webex Event Center or GoToWebinar (see my comment on Ken Molay’s webinar blog). Today they are separate so you are copying information back and forth, or you have to do an expensive custom integration.

Act-On logoI’ve asked around, and today some people use the webinar system to send invitations and reminders and capture registrations, others do most of that within their demand generation system.

In the first case, you have an integrated process within the webinar system, including accurate reports on attendance. But your Demand Generation system is where you want to create a complete prospect profile, including email clicks and form submits. Also, you may want to export some campaign information (such as attendance) to Salesforce.com. This is often possible, but involves a lot of manual work.

In the second case, you capture the prospect information in the right place, but the Demand Generation system is not aware of the Webinar system. Therefore it takes more work than necessary to run your webinar campaign.

Act-On Demand Generation System

Today was the first time I saw an actual solution for this problem: Act-On is a relatively new player in the Demand Generation market. However, they come with good credentials: they’re funded by Cisco (owner of Webex), the CEO and engineering team come from Responsys (a leading marketing software vendor) and they have a seasoned executive team. Currently they have about 15 customers, from smaller companies to big names like BroadVision.

Their product is focused on small to medium size companies, so they’re not trying to compete with Eloqua or similar high-end products. Act-On Enterprise pricing starts at $500 per month (professional starts at $15 per month).

Act-On Enterprise includes most of the demand generation features that you’d expect, such as:

  • Email marketing
  • Drip email campaigns
  • Form and Landing page builder
  • Lead scoring
  • Reporting
  • Integration with Salesforce.com

But the unique feature is their integration with Webex. Read on…

Webex Webinar Integration

Act-On has a standard integration with Webex. Most of their customers use Webex Event Center. You can manage the entire webinar process from within Act-On. Only the actual delivery takes place in Webex:

  • Promotion: Act-On
  • Registration: Act-On
  • Delivery: Webex
  • Follow-up: Act-On

Normally these are silos that are disconnected, and now they are integrated, including end-to-end analytics. You can schedule the webinar from within Act-on (no need to login to Webex), and create a registration page, email invitation, repeat invitation, reminders and follow-up.

Act-On Home Screen Act-On lead source report Act-On webinar attendance report

The Act-On home screen, lead source report, and attendance report

There are several cool features, such as the automatic inclusion of the webinar details in the email invitation. Also, you can generate dedicated registration page URLs to give to partners or to use in advertising, so you can see the source of the registrations.

Another useful feature is that it can update the Salesforce.com Campaign status: sent, received, registered, attended. This requires the ‘Marketing’ add-on in the Salesforce Professional Edition.


This is by no means a comprehensive review of Act-On, it is based on a short demo. However, I was impressed with the breadth of functionality, the ease of use, and the unique webinar integration. So take a look at it when you’re looking for a demand generation system and you do a lot of webinars. I’ve also added them to my list of Demand Generation software vendors.

My question to you:
Is webinar integration the next required feature for Demand Generation systems?

Web Content Management for Lead Generation

This week’s news about the acquisition of Content Management vendor Interwoven by Autonomy made me think about the importance of website management for lead generation. Nowadays, most lead generation campaigns revolve around the website: SEO, AdWords, Email campaigns and even direct mail usually point to a website to capture responses. So the website clearly has an important role in lead generation.

Thinking about lead generation, what functionality would you expect in a CMS? I would look for the following:

  • Updates possible by non-technical users (WYSIWYG)
  • Search Engine Optimized & SEO Reporting
  • Landing pages
  • Registration forms integrated with Salesforce.com
  • A/B or multi-variate testing
  • Web Analytics integration, and automatic inclusion of other tracking code
  • Real-time visitor reporting (similar to Demandbase Stream)
  • Press Release distribution to PRWeb and others
  • Behavioral targeting
  • Fast downloads for downloads for trial software, videos and Flash demos (CDN)

There are some vendors that focus on these areas. First of all Hot Banana, who’s been focused on creating a ‘Marketing CMS’ for quite a while already, further emphasized after their acquisition by Lyris. However, few of their clients are in industries that rely on lead generation (such as tech companies).

I-Dialogue has also been around for many years, and their solution works from within Salesforce.com. They seem to be more focused on closed communities, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

There is one demand generation vendor that integrates a full Web Content Management system: Marqui. However, they had financial difficulties and have been acquired in the fall of 2008 by a group of investors: now they’re hiring again, so let’s hope that their new management can execute their vision.

In addition to their core SEO functionality, Hubspot offers a basic CMS for their entry-level customers. However, those are typically small companies, who are most likely migrating from either template-based Site Building tools or simple plain HTML websites: no advanced features to be found here.

Demand Generation software vendor Pardot is part of the Hannon-Hill group, a CMS vendor. Adam Blitzer, co-founder of Pardot, told me that Hannon-Hill just launched eCrowds, a hosted CMS for SMBs, and they are actively cross-selling the Pardot marketing automation system (see ‘add-on’ section on their pricing page). Also, there is some product integration: Pardot’s tracking tags and forms can easily be inserted into an eCrowds-based site. That’s interesting, and I’m curious to see how many customers will start using both.

There are also companies focused on landing pages alone, rather than a full CMS. For example, ion interactive and OnDialog (formerly Plurapage). When I lasted talked to OnDialog they were moving towards a full marketing suite, because landing pages along didn’t give enough revenue. Ion interactive has followed a strong thought-leadership campaign, including a recently published book on post-click marketing,and they seem to do pretty well, although they also introduced lower entry-level pricing.

Altogether, my gut feeling is that CMS software can definitely be optimized to support lead generation, but few customers are willing to pay a premium for it today. Most likely, website management will be added as an add-on to Demand Generation systems, or vice-versa. When the worst of the credit crunch is over (say 2010) we may even see some acquisitions: will Marketo or Eloqua acquire a CMS vendor, or will CMS vendors acquire marketing automation companies? What is your take?

Zoomio Review – European Marketing Automation Vendor

Today I had a meeting with a representative of Zoomio, a European marketing automation vendor that started in Denmark in 2002. I was curious to learn about their solution, because I’ve heard of Eloqua, Market2Lead, Marketo, and a whole bunch of other demand generation vendors, but never of Zoomio.

Zoomio Marketing Automation

It turns out that Zoomio is mainly doing business in Northern Europe, but they do have 600 customers and 75 employees, so they’re larger than most US-based demand generation vendors. Most US-based vendors have at least half of their customers in the technology sector, but not Zoomio: they have customers across all industries: from travel agencies to car dealerships to software companies.

Their strength is in the definition of the interaction process: they have a flow chart that defines the touch points, which includes call centers and text messaging. Another neat feature is the split in an easy UI for marketers and an advanced UI for marketing specialists. However, they do not support typical B2B features such as lead scoring and Salesforce integration.

We really need those features, so it isn’t a great solution for us. But when they decide to offer lead scoring and a Salesforce integration I will definitely look at them again: especially since their pricing is quite attractive. By that time I hope they also offer US-based support, because currently it’s only offered in mainland Europe.

I’m curious to learn more about Zoomio from actual users: if you use Zoomio, please leave a comment below with some feedback on how you like Zoomio.