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?