Marketing Automation for 2013

Everybody has now heard about the Oracle’s acquisition of Eloqua, the marketing automation platform. This has, of course, been followed by the ‘What does it mean?’ articles– implications for the market, predictions for marketing automation in 2013 and lengthy discussions as to whether or not this was a power play by Oracle aimed at sticking it to Salesforce.com.

For me, this move isn’t indicative of a new and daring direction of the market, but rather is a reaffirmation that we are headed in the right direction. We’ve seen marketing automation applications grow in leaps and bounds in the last year, but ultimately, they are an extension of CRM– another way to find leads, nurture relationships and provide valuable content to potential and actual customers. It makes sense that these two systems would be integrated.

Gone are the days of marketing automation as an exotic or rare service; it is now in the hands of a number of departments in each organization, including marketing, sales and service representatives. The more sophisticated programs allow users to target and automate their marketing, through utilities such as drip marketing and web lead capture, but also to analyze results.  Valuable insights and the ubiquity of need throughout the organization essentially dictates that it is now imperative for any organization with marketing needs to utilize a marketing automation application in order to stay competitive, personalize marketing efforts, and be able to track and analyze results. Oracle has just validated (and monetized) this notion by spending over $800 million to ensure that their CRM is integrated with one of the best platforms.

What I do think we will see in the field of marketing automation is a trend toward native marketing applications, as we are doing here at X2Engine. Having an enterprise grade sales force automation application with ingrained marketing automation functionality eliminates integration issues. A single, powerful application that manages both systems allows for a much cleaner synchronization of information, storing it in one place in a unified format. This creates a simplified user experience– just ask your sales and marketing reps if they would rather learn one or two different software programs. Lastly, but still a deciding factor, is price! Integrating the two systems saves your organization money. Intrigued? Check out X2CRM, and share your thoughts and feedback with us.

Kathy Eckel