The State of Marketing Automation at Dreamforce 13

Marketing automation

One reason I spent time at last week’s Dreamforce was to gather insight around the state of marketing automation.  At MindFire, we’re refining our product/market fit, so it is of particular interest to see how others are positioning themselves, and how the market is responding to the recent acquisitions and IPOs.

Attending the show were Marketo, Pardot (as a part of Salesforce and ExactTarget), Act-on, and Silverpop.  Hubspot and Eloqua did not exhibit.

Here are a few highlights:

  • I asked multiple Pardot, ExactTarget, and Salesforce reps how each of their solutions fit together, and here’s what I gathered:
    • After ExactTarget acquired Pardot, the directive was to integrate Pardot into the Marketing Hub.  Some of this integration is evident directly within Marketing Hub.
    • When Salesforce acquired ExactTarget, the directive was given to move Pardot into the Salesforce Sales Cloud, and move Radian6 and Buddy Media into ExactTarget’s Marketing Hub — which was renamed “Marketing Cloud.”
    • Over time, Pardot will become a more seamless part of Salesforce, with a focus on B2B marketers who need to nurture and score leads.
    • ExactTarget, as the Marketing Cloud, is pushing the concept of a single view of the customer, to which a variety of media can be used to communicate, including web, email, social, and products (like your car).
  • While some of Pardot’s functionality and ExactTarget’s “Journey Builder” seem similar, the official line is that Pardot is focused on lead nurturing and scoring in the B2B realm, while Journey Builder is targeted at B2C use-cases where communicating with existing customers is the goal (although it works in B2B acquisition campaigns as well).  The ExactTarget product does not do scoring, although it doesn’t seem a far stretch that they would incorporate it.
  • It was interesting that very few of the ExactTarget reps could speak to the cost of the Marketing Cloud.  The closest I could get to an answer was $5-$10k for the social aspect (Buddy Media and Radian6).

In listening to folks at the Act-on and Pardot booths speak about their products, it was interesting to hear how few claimed to know much about their competition.  It was refreshing to hear their honesty (“You know, I really don’t know too much about Hubspot …“), but I was surprised that there wasn’t more organizational awareness of how to exploit their competition’s strengths and weaknesses.

With respect to the marketing automation space, what else stands out?  If you attended Dreamforce, what did you notice?

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