Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Market2Lead Offers Enterprise-Strength Demand Generation System

Market2Lead offers the usual list of demand generation functions: outbound email, Web forms and landing pages, automated lead nurturing, integration with sales, and campaign return on investment analysis. But while many demand generation vendors simplify these features so marketers can run them for themselves, Market2Lead offers no such compromises. It is designed for world-wide deployment at large enterprises, where even the marketing department will have significant technical resources. This lets the system include capabilities that large installations need and other systems may have skipped.

This is not to say that Market2Lead is especially hard to use. Although the interface is not particularly pretty, the effort to set up a simple campaign is probably about the same as in other demand generation systems. That difference is that Market2Lead is designed to work with other company systems, rather than assuming it will provide almost all of the marketing department’s customer-facing functions. It also provides the administrative muscle needed to manage large marketing programs.

Let’s talk first about working with other company systems, because that strikes me as the most distinctive aspect of Market2Lead. Nearly all demand management systems have built-in email engines and Web servers for forms and microsites. This makes these functions as simple as possible to set up and use. But Market2Lead does not provide its own email services. Instead, it provides an API that lets users set up their emails with Market2Lead and then have them sent by external email specialists like Responsys and Exact Target. Market2Lead’s approach to Web pages is more flexible: users can either build and serve Web templates within Market2Lead, or they can embed Market2Lead tags in externally-hosted pages. These tags call Market2Lead content, including personalized messages and Web forms.

Administrative capabilities to support large marketing programs are the sum of many details. Components including lists, offers and Web forms are stored in libraries where they can be standardized and reused across campaigns. Campaigns and programs within campaigns have start and end dates, which the system can use to automatically adjust the campaign flow after an end date is reached. Users can define standard process flows for outbound campaigns (such as Webinar invitations) and inbound responses (such as inquiries), again to standardize processes and save rework. Offer and campaign priorities are determined by numbers rather than placement in a traditional flow chart, making them easy to rearrange. Suppression lists can be applied automatically to all campaigns, allowing the system to enforce limits on the number of contacts per person. Logic to select questions needed to complete a prospect’s profile is managed centrally rather than embedded separately within each form.

Market2Lead also supports large marketers with multi-language capabilities. It can support programs in 42 languages, store a default language for each prospect, and capture information in different languages from the same person.

Working in yet another dimension, the system extends to channels beyond Web and email. It can manage call center scripts internally, using special versions of its Web forms. Sales force contacts are, of course, captured through two-way integration and other sales automation systems. Data from still other sources can be merged using data integration tools including a customer matching engine. Users can analyze the resulting marketing database with Informatica reporting tools. There are also standard reports on campaign effectiveness and marketing opportunities. Reports can show how often each list and offer is used and can show the offers and lists used within a campaign. The system show which campaigns use a given list or Web form, but not (yet) which campaigns use a given offer.

Like other demand generation systems, Market2Lead measures campaign effectiveness by importing sales opportunity results from the sales force system. These are tied to marketing campaigns by linking the sales opportunity to prospects, linking prospects to marketing activities, and linking the activities to campaigns. These revenues are matched against campaign costs to calculate return on investment. The system takes a fairly sophisticated approach to this process: it can credit revenue to either the first or last campaign linked to a sale, or share the revenue among multiple campaigns based on user-defined weights. The vendor is researching data mining features to help users determine the appropriate weights.

All of this is impressive, but none of it would matter if the core campaign engine were problematic. But it’s just fine. The basic approach is similar to other campaign managers: users define selection rules for each campaign, and then a series of steps the selected prospects will follow. In the Market2Lead, the selections are expressed as list memberships. These can be frozen at the time of initial selection or dynamically reselected on a regular schedule. Reselection is what lets the system enforces contact limits, since it can continuously recheck whether each prospects has received the maximum number of messages.

Each step within the campaign is defined by an automation rule. These have four components: a “trigger event” such as an email being opened; additional qualifying conditions based on attributes or previous behaviors; a wait period; and a next action to take if the preceding conditions are met.

The first three of these are about what you’d expect. But the next action is more interesting. It can execute the next program within the campaign, exit the campaign, or move the prospect to a different campaign. But the "next" program is not selected from a fixed sequence. Rather, Market2Lead can dynamically select from a list of programs associated with the campaign. Each program has a user-assigned business value and its own qualification conditions. The system can rank the programs by highest, lowest or random value, and will then pick the first program within this ranking that the current prospect is qualified to receive.

You might want to read that last sentence again, because there's a lot going on here. Between the rankings and offer qualifications, a single campaign step can deliver completely different experiences for different prospects without explicit programming. In addition, users can change those experiences without changing the campaign logic itself, simply by altering the business value or qualification rules. Since the same program can be used in different campaigns, a single change can modify many campaigns at once.

One thing the system cannot do is dynamically recalculate the business value itself based on the individual prospect's attributes. Market2Lead is researching this capability.

This approach is admittedly more complicated than setting up a simple campaign in some other demand generation systems. But it all makes sense and will ultimately be more efficient for large marketing operations once you get the hang of it. In any case, Market2Lead says the system is usually run by a marketing operations specialist, who prepares standard program flows and content templates that marketing program managers can then customize for themselves. Training this person and setting up the initial campaign including flows and content templates takes four to six weeks.

As the very notion of a dedicated marketing operations specialist implies, we are talking here about large organizations. Indeed, Market2Lead lists Cisco, Citrix, Interwoven, Netgear, Polycom, SGI, Sungard and Tibco among its 50+ clients. The company does serve smaller organizations as well, and in fact can provide services for clients who do not want to run it for themselves.

Market2Lead offers several configurations of the system with different prices and capabilities. All versions are available as hosted services, and enterprise clients can also install it in-house. Pricing depends on the version, database size and transaction volume and ranges from $60,000 to $100,000 for a mid-market solution. The company was founded in 2003.


Biotonico said...

Dialer functionality is also very important in a CRM. Does market to lead have a good dialer system?

Unknown said...

Biotonico, I think you're confusing CRM with Marketing Automation. CRM (or it's subset SFA) is about sales automation and salesperson efficiency. Here (and in the related areas of TeleSales and Telemarketing) a dialer is needed. Marketing Automation ( and Market2lead) is about generating electronic campaigns, having relevant landing pages, providing personalized content to the people you market to, etc.
A dialer has minimal relevance here. Market2Lead integrates tightly with which is the app in which you'd use a dialer.
Hope this helps!