Thursday, February 16, 2012

Et Tu, David: Why Raab Associates Became Part of Left Brain DGA

You may have seen yesterday’s announcement that Raab Associates’ marketing technology practice* has become part of LeftBrain DGA, an agency specializing in demand generation strategy and execution.   

My role at Left Brain will be to build the “optimization” practice, which means working on marketing analytics as well as technology.  I’m looking forward to deeper involvement in client marketing programs than the project-oriented work at Raab Associates allowed.  Left Brain and its clients are eager for the optimization work because many of their programs have now passed their initial deployment and need this sort of analysis and tuning. 

Left Brain’s readiness for an optimization practice reflects changes within the larger demand generation industry.  As B2B marketing automation technology worked through its initial deployments, the industry needed best practices to ensure successful implementation.  This meant marketing process definition, marketing/sales alignment, and program strategy.  It’s still important to execute those properly, and always will be.  But we now understand what the issues are and how to solve them.  The next frontier is refining and expanding existing programs, especially at larger organizations (a Left Brain specialty), which have the data volume and resources to support advanced analytics.  That requires new best practices and success histories for optimization.  That’s exactly what I’ll be working on.  It will be fun. 

If you’re wondering about this blog and my other activities as an industry analyst: my current intent is to continue.  My work at Left Brain will still require keeping abreast of technology developments, both for our internal use and at our clients.  It’s likely that my topics will shift a bit as my day job revolves more around analytics and less around vendor selection.  But, as I just suggested, this probably mirrors a shift of focus for the industry itself.  So, if the stars are aligned as I think, my topics will be more relevant than ever.

Regarding my traditional consulting work on vendor selection and technology analysis: I'll probably do less of it as other Left Brain work takes most of my time.  But I’m still here and happy to hear from people who need help in those areas.  If we can’t help you at Left Brain, we’ll recommend someone who can.

Finally, there's our VEST report, which is still available at the Raab Guide Web site.  We just released a new edition of that, so it will be current for at least six months.  What happens after that I can't say: it might vanish, we might continue it under the Left Brain banner, or it might find a new home.  But for now it's still a great resource for companies looking for in-depth information on B2B marketing automation systems, so make use of it while you can.

Incidentally, my new title at Left Brain is Vice President of Optimization, which manages to be both vague and bureaucratic.  I'm thinking I might prefer Lord of Optimization, or maybe just Oracle.  Other suggestions are welcome, so long as they're G-rated enough to put on a business card. Maybe we should have a contest.
* The rest of Raab Associates, a children's book marketing agency run by my wife, will continue to exist.  See her Web site at


John J. Bastone said...

I am partial to "Czar" myself, brings an element of intimidation, while allowing you to bring the "bling".

Sounds like a great move, and regardless of your title, the choice of "optimization" within it is well played. Most of the really impactful case studies I see in the Customer Intelligence realm, invariably involves optimization drastically improving a previously intuition-biased process. Yet Optimization continues to be the most misunderstood process in all of marketing. Hope to see your insights flowing, as even if the emphasis changes, the content will be just as relevant (at least to me :) ).

Good luck,

John Bastone

CustomerWorthy said...

Wishing you tremendous success!
Left Brain's clients are fortunate to have you on board.

Are you really looking to optimize your title?