There’s been lots of chatter in the blogosphere, twittersphere and traditional media about the Marketo IPO filing earlier this week. Most articles give us the basic facts of the filing along with some interpretation of financial highlights such as rate of revenue growth, proportion of expenses, and a prediction that this might be a set-up for an acquisition. But none of these articles really look at the bigger story here. Don’t get me wrong, the IPO filing is a big day in the life of a company and is a significant milestone. But that’s exactly, and only, what it is – a milestone for one company on a much longer journey.
There are far more important questions that received very little analysis in these articles. Such as, “Is marketing automation a new business paradigm?” “Is there a significant new market in the making?” “Is there a bigger shift in the customer lifecycle?”
Here are a few thoughts on this bigger picture:
Marketing automation is a technology needed by everyone. Not because vendors like Eloqua, Marketo, or Act-On say so, but because it adds value and businesses are ready for it. Almost every product purchase involves some activity on the Web and every business is in some measure an e-business. Marketers need systems to effectively promote, monitor, nurture and measure to increase the effectiveness of their marketing effort and the efficiency of their budgets. So in short, we have product-need fit.
The market is wide open, with only 2% penetration of marketing automation systems across all companies and less than 30% penetration even in the sophisticated enterprise segment – but momentum is strong. The adoption rate is growing at a fast-forward 60% per year.
The future role of marketing will be quite different. The focus of most marketing today is the acquisition of customers, but it is going to shift to customer relationships throughout the entire customer journey. Full-spectrum marketing will occupy a pivotal position throughout this journey, in customer acquisition, retention and expansion.
When we look at this bigger picture, we see that we are barely scratching the surface. A ton of future innovation awaits us, with the promise of a large and thriving industry that will dwarf what we’ve achieved so far. We at Act-On are thrilled to be part of this tectonic shift!
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