Google, Salesforce.com, MaaS Platforms, Marketing Automation, Relationship Management domain leaders... Who's got the edge in Marketing and Relationship Apps?
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Marketing Automation, Demand Creation, Demand Management and Relationship Management, CRM—the terms seem to blur these days with Web 2.0 methods and the Cloud. When we planned to first file this brief, we thought surely that Google was the one who would ultimately smash these markets with their ‘freeware’ analytics and ad words, as an effective user ‘self selection’ method. But the Marketing Automation space is still disjointed, and many stakeholders exist who need the data and analytics from marketing facing applications. And other effective methods such as MaaS are available for user self selection and analytics.
With Web 2.0, more community type environments are emerging for many spaces, including Marketing, Relationship Management, Channel Management and CRM. And the cost models—on demand or community type funding—truly reduce the cost burden for end-users. Salesforce, of course, is the lead in this community concept, but MaaS, though there are many communities, will give Salesforce a real challenge as Salesforce tries to break out of its CRM identity and capture more of the ‘relationship’ aura. Marketing dollars are limited and applications are challenging to implement, so service models like MaaS are an obvious choice for users who can get some instant success and visibility without the burden of data-intensive application implementation.
And Google, with all the fear they strike in the hearts of any tech space they decide to nibble at, has demonstrated limited application prowess, if we define applications as methods to support processes and role-based automation... so far. Users, these days, also look to leading apps providers to coach on best practices and enable implementation, data analytics, and possible managed services to help with all these challenges. Google does not do that. Tools yes, but for solutions that automate best practice support, Google is not there. Solution providers like Eloqua and Marketing Advocate, provide thought leadership in developing complete solutions such as Omniture in analytics (which competes directly with the Google analytics, these days). But that won’t be enough for many companies who find google-free-ware-type solutions on the web.
And that is the key. If solution providers do not want to be swallowed by the google-effect, now would be the time to reach out and find other methods to enable the purchase and implementation roadmaps to assure customer success in marketing automation, while ‘the space’ is still in formulation.
Creative applications procurement (on-demand?) and on-boarding enablement, well understood in many apps spaces, is critical, with creative funding methods and various managed services. We will discuss these issues in upcoming articles.
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