Thursday, August 28, 2008

Comparing Demand Generation Systems

Now that I have that long post about analytical databases out of the way, I can get back to thinking about demand generation systems. Research on the new Guide is proceeding nicely (thanks for asking), and should be wrapped up by the end of next week. This means I have to nail down how I’ll present the results. In my last post on the topic, I was thinking in terms of defining user types. But, as I think I wrote in a comment since then, I now believe the best approach is to define several applications and score the vendors in terms of their suitability for each. This is a pretty common method for serious technology evaluations.

Ah, but what applications? I’ve tentatively come up with the following list. Please let me know if you would suggest any changes.

- Outbound campaigns: generate mass emails to internal or imported lists and manage responses. Key functions include list segmentation, landing pages, response tracking, and response handling. May include channels such as direct mail, call center, and online chat.

- Automated followup: automatically respond to inquiries. Key functions include landing pages, data capture surveys, and trigger-based personalized email.

- Lead nurturing: execute repeated contacts with leads over time. Key functions include multi-step campaigns, offer selection, email and newsletters, landing pages, and response tracking.

- Score and distribute leads: assess leads and distribute them to sales when appropriate. Key functions including lead scoring, surveys, data enhancement, lead assignment, and CRM integration.

- Localized marketing: coordinate efforts by marketing groups for different product lines or geographic regions. Key functions include shared marketing contents, templates, version control, campaign calendars, asset usage reports, and fine-grained security.

- Performance tracking: assess the value of different marketing programs, including those managed outside the demand generation system. Key functions include response capture, data imports including revenue from CRM, response attribution, cross-channel customer data integration, and program cost capture.

- Event management: execute marketing events such as Webinars. Key functions include reservations and reminder notices.

There are also some common issues such as ease of use, scalability, cost, implementation, support, and vendor stability. Most of these would be evaluated apart from the specific applications. The one possible exception Is ease of use. The challenge here is the same one I keep running into: systems that are easy to use for simple applications may be hard to use for complex forms of the same application. Maybe I’ll just create separate scores for those two situations—that is, “simple application ease of use” and “advanced application ease of use”. I’ll give this more thought, and look for any comments from anyone else.

1 comment:

Biotonico said...

One type to consider may be Lead Response Management. It is comprehensive in that it has the capabilities of multiple application types that you have mentioned in one system. Kind on like a one-stop shop for the user that utilizes multiple programs.