Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pedowitz Group Offers Free Support for New Eloqua Clients

The Pedowitz Group announced this morning that it was offering $15,000 in free consulting services and guaranteeing a five-day implementation to new clients who purchase Eloqua demand generation software . (Click here for the announcement.)

(If you’re not familiar with The Pedowitz Group, President and CEO Jeff Pedowitz ran the professional services group at Eloqua for several years before starting the company. The firm also works with Marketo, Silverpop Engage B2B and MarketingGenius depending on client needs. )

My initial reaction to the announcement was to wonder if it would be interpreted as evidence that Eloqua requires a lot of consulting to implement. Certainly that’s how I’d spin it if I were a competitor. But then again, maybe I wouldn't, because it focuses attention on how much support is really needed to deploy other systems.

On the surface, this is a strength of vendors who promise free implementation and deployment within a few days. But the reality is that most marketers need outside help to design their email campaigns, nurture programs, scoring rules, and CRM integration. This has less to do with learning the software than with knowing what works and how to apply it to their own business.

Yes, some products really are easier to use than others, especially for simple programs. That's one reason Pedowitz works with several vendors. (Download the Raab Guide report on Vendor Usability Scores for more on this.) And yes, some marketers will get their system running with no more than telephone support.

But it’s just plain silly to think that most marketers can quickly deploy sophisticated demand generation programs without some expert help. This is what’s highlighted by the Pedowitz Group offer – and it’s a discussion that vendors selling the dream of an instant deployment should probably avoid.


Jill Rowley said...

Sounds like we need a common definition of "implementation" across all vendors. Does it include tasks like website tracking scripts, email templates, forms, landing pages, list upload, confirmation pages, subscription management (one size fits all or configurable), CRM integration (one size fits all or configurable), lead scoring, lead nurturing, event management, etc.

Does it include Best Practice Consulting - what we call The Marketing Optimization Journey at Eloqua?

 Marketing Automation Readiness Benchmark
 Measuring for Optimal Results
 Discuss Success Criteria and Path

Process Review: Lead Management
 High-Level Lead Flow
 Lead Definitions, Stages, Qualification Criteria
 Lead Management

Process Review: Contact Management
 Segmentation Criteria
 Subscription Management
 List Management
 Contact Groups

Process Review: Campaign Management
 Campaign Planning and Methodology
 Current Marketing Campaigns / Channels Used
 Campaign Performance - Reports and Dashboards
 Brainstorm Opportunities for Automation

Until we have a common definition of "implementation services," we cannot compare what each of the vendors includes for "free" or for a charge.

Implementation is only the first step. Adoption, Optimization, and Refinement are important factors to consider as well.

I came across a fun article, The Four Phases of Implementation -

Phase I - OH BOY!
Phase II - OH SHOOT!
Phase III - OH, WELL!
Phase IV - OH WOW!

If you're not ready to commit the appropriate resources to the journey, don't start the journey, because you will fail, no matter how "easy" the tool is to use.

After 600 "implementations," Eloqua has a clear idea of the path our customers will inevitably take as they move through the implementation, adoption, optimization, and refinement of the use our product. We, along with our large ecosystem of fantastic partners, help our clients avoid the pitfalls that derail so many "software" initiatives. Talk with some of our more recent clients - they've benefitted from our years of experience (and failures). Those who don't fail, fail to learn.

You can listen to some of our clients' OH WOW! stories at

These are my own views and have not been reviewed and/or approved by others.

Glen Lipka said...

I often tell people. Our system could take dictation but that doesn't solve the root problem. The key task is the tactical and strategic thinking that is the foundation of good Marketing.

- What makes one lead better than another?
- What is the companies best value proposition?
- How should the company position itself?
- What is the right mix of communications to nurture a lead?

I think the goal of Marketing Automation is to make the operational elements easy so the Marketer could focus on real strategy.

Saying it will take N days misses the point. A good Marketing Automation partner will help drive positive outcomes, not just 5 day implementations.

One assumption we make is that "Life is Messy" and that a system needs to be adaptable, agile and flexible. Does 5 day implementation mean that on day 100, you need consulting to change things around?

Maybe this is an opportunity for more analysis David? Ease of use to get up and running versus ease of use changing things around. Just a thought. :)

David Raab said...

In case people don't know: Jill works for Eloqua and Glen works for Marketo.

April said...

Let's face it-marketing automation changes the way that marketing is done in organizations in a profound way: processes are defined or re-defined, marketing and sales teams need to be aligned and perhaps most profoundly, marketing finally has the capability to measure effectiveness in such a way as to change marketing as we know it from now on. That's why I love this business. With that said, marketing automation adoption is HARD, period. It's difficult culturally, conceptually, and yes, even technologically.
Most often, you get what you pay for--I'm not sure that organizations will or should see true value when a "Free" offer is made in terms of such a critical tool. Leave the "free" for an extra Shamwow on TV, not for something this important.
April Brown
CMO, Rubicon Marketing Group
"Marketing is Sales"

David Raab said...

So, we all agree that most of work is in the business planning, analysis, process realignment, etc. And I think most would further agree the work is pretty much the same regardless of which tool you're using.

And yet, all else being equal, an easier-to-use product will let people be better marketers because they can run more tests and react more quickly. So it does make sense for vendors to treat usability (=ease + features) as a competitive differentiator.

But usability isn't the same as speed of deployment. Claims like one-day deployment in particular strike me as focusing on something that is largely meaningless. Yet here is a quote from the Marketo Web site "But unlike any other solution, it has an insanely easy to use interface and an on-demand model that gets customers up and running in just one day, with no charges for set-up, integration or training."

Glen, I know you're not personally responsible for that, but I think it's legitimate to criticize Marketo (and many other vendors) for treating quick, free deployment as significant when, in fact, it has no real bearing on the value that marketers ultimately receive from their system.

To go just a bit further, this approach does the industry a disservice by creating false expectations that lead to failures when people don't make the required investments in planning, analysis, training, etc. We saw how long it took the CRM industry to recover from exactly the same problem. Why must we repeat it?

(On the other hand, I would actually LOVE to see a system take dictation. Can you make that happen?)

Kevin Joyce said...

I find myself agreeing with you wholeheartedly. I believe many of the vendors have "sold" prospects on a dream of fast rollout and it not in the prospects best interests in many cases.

So now we have "trained" a market to expect instant gratification from these systems. The fact that the software can be turned on, integrated, and configured like a light switch is interesting but meaningless in the context of assuring Marketing Department success. If the prospect has an undocumented or very poor lead management process and you automate this by insisting on a blitz roll out of your software you are NOT committed to this prospect's success.

Jill was on the right track in her list. I would add that a successful deployment has to include training of the marketing staff to the point where they are proficient in the use of the technology. Documentation of the lead management process PRIOR to any technology deployment - imagine trying to get Sales and Marketing to agree on what a "Marketing Qualified Lead" should be in a single meeting...right! There may also be reconfiguration of the marketing sins committed in many SFA deployments and re-training of the Sales people on these changes. And we haven't even mentioned integrations with Marketing's Content Management Systems and so on.

At Market2Lead we share with prospects that we can deploy in a matter of days, but we fully expect if they want to be successful and do it right, that their organization will take some weeks to adapt to fully deploy, and we are prepared to invest the time with them to do it right, not simply do it quick.

Jeff Pedowitz said...

I am so glad that our offering could jumpstart this discussion. We actually do agree with those that state that adopting marketing automation and changing your processes take time; this is a seismic shift for many marketing organizations to take. Our read of the market though is that too many companies are making the wrong decisions based on speed of deployment or usability alone. They are not looking at how they can really use the software in a meaningful way for their business. They make the wrong decision for the wrong reasons.

This FREE approach levels the playing field. It takes the heightened risk and fear off the table and allows for a more equal comparision of platforms. We resell and implement multiple platforms so we are truly agnostic. There are many times when Eloqua is the right solution and there are many times when we feel another solution would be more appropriate.

We want marketers that we work with to focus on the downstream. Deployment and Implementation is not the same thing as long term use, as per Jill's comments. No matter how simple or complex your processes are, there is no reason why in a SAAS world you cannot achieve real value in a quick way. Start with the basics and gradually add more in over time.

Eric Edwards said...

If anything, I believe that a completely opposite approach should be taken than the one suggested by Pedowitz. We have found after managing dozens of marketing automation deployments (Eloqua, Marketo and Market2Lead), that customers can “feel as if they have been fed through a fire hose” after a week long deployment. Rarely is this feeling related to the technology deployment/configuration itself, rather it pertains to marketing automation best-practices, and how to marry those practices to their existing meta-marketing goals. Those of us who have lived and breathed marketing automation need to remember that “we are not our clients.” Early adopters, and especially the early majority adopters, still need assistance in driving down risk, gaining consensus and proliferating adoption across the breadth of their organizations.

Eric Edwards, President
Rubicon Marketing Group – Marketing is Sales

David Raab said...

I'm sure Jeff can speak for himself, but he won't have time to reply before I shut down for the day. So let me just say that I don't think he meant to suggest he could do a complete, final deployment in five days. In fact, it's quite clear based on my conversations with Jeff that he sees implementation as a long-term, phased process -- probably not so different from the way it's viewed by Rubicon.

Anonymous said...

This has been an interesting discussion so far. Thanks for providing the forum, David.

A core issue here is that marketing activities have often been performed opportunistically, particularly in smaller companies.

The day-to-day necessities of getting campaigns out the door, generating and managing leads, of PR and of company identity and of the millions of little tasks that need to be done generally make it hard to take a breath and think about setting up a system for your marketing team.

What Jeff is offering, if I'm reading correctly, is a free leg up on that kind of systematic and strategic planning and implementing a system that involves not only technology, but also a new organizational mindset and process.

The greatest thing an organization can do to improve marketing effectiveness (IMHO) is to start having the conversation around process today, regardless of what system you put in place.

And by the way, I know Jeff is one of the best in the business in facilitating that conversation (and Rubicon is pretty good, too!).

Unknown said...

David, I disagree with your statement about quick, free deployment not being a 'real bearing' on the value of a marketers ultimate value. In fact, the implementation of the program is going to affect its adoption by a marketing organization and therefore its overall use and perceived value. The feelings they have during deployment will motivate a user to integrate deeply and adopt marketing automation best practices or cause them to feel hesitant about their system leading to underutilization. I know that sounds very basic, but I think it's very true.

In addition, implementation is not free with some systems. It is important for prospects to understand that some systems have additional costs for implementation because of the actual way they integrate with other systems. This is why the Pedowitz announcement caused some controversy, as it may change what an Eloqua prospect may perceive as the total cost of implementing the system.

When evaluating services, I assume something with an initial implementation of one day will cost less to get up and running than something that plans for 5 days of initial implementation. And hey, in this case we don't have to guess anything, because Pedowitz tells us how much this is worth - $15,000.

As a purchaser of marketing automation this is how someone might evaluate this: They could take the list price of Eloqua and add $15,000 to it. This would be the total cost of the system. Then subtract the list price of the lowest priced marketing automation system that meets their basic requirements (including estimates for implementation costs). The difference between these two prices is the additional ROI you should expect to achieve from Eloqua to make any perceived additional functionality worth the additional cost. The bigger the difference the more value Eloqua has to convince a prospect they are receiving. This makes for a harder sell.

Regardless, I'm sure we will see this same or similar program offered by the Pedowitz group (or another vendor) for other marketing automation systems (Marketo, Silverpop Engage, etc) because they have rolled out this program for lead generation purposes. It is a way for them to build relationships with customers of marketing automation tools so that they can sell future consulting services. These services will often not have anything to implementation, but with setting up lead scoring, list segmentation, closed loop or drip campaigns, etc that can take a lot of work to implement because of the rules involved and content needed for their setup. But they are doing this for the ability to get to know the clients of the marketing automation vendors.

And this free approach hardly levels the playing field. If anything, it may scare prospects during the decision process. Competitors are right to use this as a differentiator, because it sounds intimidating. Regardless if it is a valid differentiator, it is something that is easy to understand, which makes it effective in helping people make a decision.

While I completely agree that implementing a true lead generation and nurturing philosophy into a company takes time, it's hard to explain to a prospect that part of implementation is their understanding of how marketing is changing because of the tools available. The vendor evaluation process is difficult enough that all I may want to know is how long it’s going to take me to get a landing page up and an email out. I'm not taking into consideration that implementation time for a lead scoring system may be weeks, not because it takes more than 5 minutes to set up in the tool itself, but because I need to review the habits of successful sales and try to work that backwards into my leads to develop the methodology for the score itself. So, regardless of how important this educational piece is, I’m not sure that it is actually relevant in the purchase process.

Jeff Pedowitz said...

It is true that to truly adopt marketing automation into your company, it will take time - well beyond a 1 week window - regardless of what platform you purchase. What we are doing here are several things:

1. The deployment can take a week, and that will cover things like setting up website tracking scripts, integrating forms, integrating Eloqua with SFDC, MS Dynamics, or Oracle On Demand, setting up email templates, headers, footers, subscription management. It also includes setting up a lead scoring program, lead nurturing program, importing contacts and lists, configuring the data model and launching the first campaign.

We have a methodology that we have used over and over again for 2 years that makes this possible. We believe that marketers should be able to receive quick time to value and start seeing results.

2. Optionally, if a client needs a lot more configuration or has a more complex environment, they do not have to deploy in a week and instead can have their services scoped and we will apply the credit towards the price.

3. Because we are selling the license, we are amortizing the initial cost of deployment/services into a longer term relationship. We have every intention of working with that customer well after the first week, even if they do not want/need to purchase any additional services.

Debbie (Qaqish) and I are on a mission to see every marketer in the world using these tools. We want marketers to be certified in demand generation in much the same manner an accountant or lawyer has to sit for exams. Our profession is changing all the time, and the MBA programs just are not enough.

With all the vendors in the space, there is a total of 1500 customers using these tools worldwide. We all need to work together to spread the gospel and ensure that 15,000, 150,000 companies are using these tools to be more effective in their organization.

For those of you that know me, you know how committed I am to process, measurement and results. I would never suggest that a customer would be completely done in a week.

We do believe that a customer can be deployed in a week (see above) and they can start using the tools right away. Over time, they will get more sophisticated, introduce more change into their environment, and increase alignment with sales.

We are all insiders here, so we have very deep viewpoints on these issues. Every day, we meet with marketers and speak around the country and so many do not understand this space or what it can mean to them. That is why the message needs to be broken down into smaller pieces. If a marketer is used to email marketing and SEO, moving them onto a marketing automation platform is a significant shift - so giving them some comfort and security in knowing they can get some immediate results while balancing that with a longer term pragmatic approach is the best approach in my opinion.

David Raab said...

Hi Maria. Thanks for your detailed comments. I think the goal for buyers is to compare the cost of similar deployments. What you have after a 1-day deployment of any system is not the same as what you get after spending $15,000 for implementation. A more valid comparison would be to define a set of required marketing programs and then estimate the cost of executing them with different systems, including licenses, service fees and in-house labor. Using that approach, the "R" in the ROI calculation is identical for both systems, so you could simply compare the differences in cost (Investment) directly.

Of course, estimating the cost of future programs is more work than just adding up list prices or assessing only the cost of setting up an email and landing page. But I think that smart marketers recognize they need to look beyond those initial stages when picking a tool. Yes, some vendors can make more sales by promoting a short-term perspective. But that's all the more reason for the rest of us to educate buyers about why this is not the right way to make a decision.

Will Schnabel said...

David, thanks for facilitating one of the most relevant dialogs in the marketing automation industry. First of all, I applaud Jeff for ‘making waves’ by offering a valuable starter service. As we are all seeing daily, moving from the current, silo-ed marketing approaches to fully integrated lead management can sometimes seem to be a daunting task. But I would have to agree with many of the comments in that, to gain success, much more than just the technology is required. What Jeff and other marketing automation consultants are finding is that customers need to cover off the four main components for a successful implementation 1) a business strategy with measurable goals, 2) the right process and best practices, 3) the correct technology partner, and 4) managing the organizational change, including organizational structure, user enablement and ongoing training. This is what the leading management consulting firms have learned through other business integration efforts, from ERP to CRM. These same concepts, IMO, need to be applied to Lead Generation as well.

Now, I’m not implying that consultants are required to assist in all these areas. In our work with Silverpop clients, we see many companies addressing these areas themselves. However, where lead management programs go astray is where one of these key areas is overlooked. The outcome is less than optimal results and missed opportunities.

In addition, companies are not at the same position in their lead management maturity. Starting simply, which Jeff I think is recommending, is a great approach, allowing companies to grow in their lead management understanding and use of best practices, plus seeing some early results and accelerating the time to value. This is definitely where the technology can have a great impact. Getting users up to speed quickly in order to manage some of the basic tasks does require an interface that is intuitive and easy-to-use. But the technology needs to be able to grow with their lead management process, as well as providing easy integration of information with other business systems.

Thanks again for the great dialog.

David Raab said...

This topic certainly seems to have hit a nerve. Yet there's more agreement than controversy. I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that the reason for the strong response is that many experts feel promoting 'one day deployment', 'free installation', etc. leads marketers away from recognizing that successful use of a demand generation system requires serious effort and, in many but not all cases, outside assistance.

Assuming I'm interpreting this correctly, the question is what we as an industry can do to make things better -- that is, to get the message out more clearly about what it takes to successfully deploy a demand generation system (without scaring people away). I'd love to hear suggestions.

Unknown said...

In as much as I agree with David in saying that marketing automation vendors' claims to rapid deployment and usability do a disservice to the industry, by creating false expectations that lead to failures when people don't make the required investments in planning, analysis, training, etc., and in as much as I agree with Jeff in saying that adopting marketing automation and changing internal processes produce seismic shifts in the organization that take time to absorb, I'm convinced these two comments miss the mark somewhat regarding Jill's remarks about defining a common implementation methodology across vendor solutions.

I've known Jill for several years, so I know where she's coming from. Deployment methodology is a comparative advantage. Whoever sets the standard for it gains an upper hand in system rollouts, as such a standard tends to become the default best practice and favors the service provider that defined it. Eloqua is a very aggressive vendor. Nothing wrong with that. Just a fact. It has set the tone for a lot of what has been going on in the marketing automation space for years. And there is a sweet reward awaiting the one SaaS that can define an overarching implementation methodology for service activation and system deployment in the industry.

Having said that, I think the real issue here is business process matching.

I've directed the deployment of several hosted and on-premises marketing and sales automation systems in the last 10 years and what stays with me is the invariable conviction that marketers presume that a process logic embedded in the technology architecture that some third-party entity invested in taking to market will match harmoniously to the idealized or expected process discipline that the marketing organization wishes to apply itself toward practicing after system deployment. The gap between perception and reality in this area couldn't be wider.

Most of the time that I've spend attempting to launch a technology like Infor CRM Epiphany or Blue Roads, or working at getting and Engage B2B systems to talk to each other, or discussing the functional strengths of Eloqua vs. Market2Lead or Marketo has been spent, in the final analysis, attempting to match the envisioned business process from my organization against the cookie-cutter process definition offered by each vendor. In my experience with SaaS only one vendor was willing to own up to this dance routine, and it was CRM Dynamics.

The story follows. After spending $40K and 6 months building a custom prototype SaaS application with a data quality management agency to match our envisioned business process and testing it out subsequently for 1 year, I managed to convince the CIO through his designated corporate data architect to support the evaluation of various best-of-breed SaaS providers to determine which one might come closest to this tested model of operations. We knew by then where the gaps were, where fine-tuning was necessary and what additional functionality we wanted to optimize our existing business process, from personal URL’s to dashboards and analytics.

CRM Dynamics among other providers reviewed the process prototype in production and quipped, "We can't improve it. But we can replicate it and enable its integration to other systems through a common backbone, thereby guaranteeing its stability and scalability. Through our partner network you could enhance its functionality. But the process that you already have in practice we won’t modify. We will just enable you to run it faster, with more integrity and sustainability. Your custom process is your competitive advantage. We leave that to you to define and own."

The question to ask then was ‘Do we want to rip and replace it?’ Been there. Done that. It is harder to force a company to reengineer its business process by adopting a rigid model of so-called best practices entrenched in some technology whose business process you share with perhaps even your own competitors, than it is to apply an internal discipline to defining your process in-house in a thorough way and then optimizing it by securing both a configurable platform and complementary modules from best-of-breed providers.

Yes, this discipline can be put into practice very quickly and in partnership with service providers like Eloqua. But it is a mistake to think that just getting the tools and a contractor to get it humming for you will either make the operation process become what it was never envisioned by your organization to be any way or the tool as useful as it was never planned by your users to be, unless your company is a start-up or small business and lacking in process maturity or any processes whatsoever. If you’re a large, global B2B enterprise, tread with caution.



Glen Lipka said...

When I used to train people on Marketo, I would focus the first day on getting some tangible value. Like cleaning up messy data or seeing salesforce info in a way that shed new light. This was easy to do and the system was designed for it. In this way you could get "value" the first day with Marketo even without campaigns, emails, landing pages etc set up.

With that said, there is obviously alot more to do both in strategic thinking and in execution to be 'deployed'.

Picking a good vendor has to be more than the sum of its parts. Time to get initial value; ease of use in the first month; ease of use in the 12th month; strategic partnerships; overall vision; roadmaps; support; could break it down in so many ways.

I don't envy the analysis you have to do David, but I am glad you are doing it.

David Raab said...

Thanks Glen and Arturo. Your replies illustrate two poles of the discussion: executing specific tasks, and fitting those tasks into over-all business processes. Immediate deployment focuses on tasks, but long-term deployment involves process definition and, usually, reengineering.

I'm just beginning to ponder how to assess the ability of different systems to accommodate different process designs. It may be that the more advanced systems are less flexible because capturing more detail requires more assumptions about the underlying process. But I'm not sure about that, because some systems allow configurable process templates. Either way, a process is hard to change once it's been established.

(I'm glad you don't envy me, Glen, but rest assured I enjoy what I do and, frankly, think it's a lot easier than building these systems, let alone doing the actual jobs of their users in marketing.)

Unknown said...

David, you ask how to assess the ability of different systems to accommodate different process designs. Another way of saying this is to ask can one critical system process serve a critical process function in another entirely different system, making both systems compatible at that critical juncture? Why ask this? It is this compatibility at the critical juncture of many different systems that makes the entire system's structure both resilient yet resistant. This has been the promise of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM). In the context of what you were discussing, immediate deployments and process reengineering need therefore not be mutually exclusive.

But there is a price to pay for the achievement of pliable though firm systems of operation and it is upfront planning and commitment.

All software require planning to design. The design plan's objective is to fulfill some demand from the business to formalize the process -- to give it shape and make it a reality. If one of the objectives is to reuse this formal process, then there must be more significant planning undertaken early on to produce a design that serves multiple purposes rather than one simple purpose. Then there must be a commitment to adhere to the governing rules that will keep this multi-purpose function from deteriorating into a single function or exploding into functions beyond its original design after the system goes online. All this takes time to formulate. But despite what it takes, this work is the core of the concept known as Quality Function Deployment (QFD), a hierarchical methodology for not only designing process but managing quality and operations strategy.

QFD takes more design time upfront to define the new system requirements and to examine the process ramifications of those requirements, but it reduces process time spent later revising that design. Quite simply there is need for a gap analysis between what needs to be created and what needs to be used by other systems, and the bridge is a set of system modules that could be leveraged by other different systems. If one of those systems must be up and running in 3 months and another needs to be running in 12 months but without overriding the one launched 9 months earlier, then the QFD job must have taken into consideration the critical processes that are common between the two systems before launching either one.

In B2B marketing automation there are several key processes held in common between short-term deployments and longer term deployments. The question in this case tends to become one of priority. Whose priority will be served first?

When you look at marketing and sales sponsors for automation projects, they tend to think in terms of very short time spans. One quarter. One half. When you speak with engineers they think in terms of years. They may break the projects into phases lasting a quarter or two, but the fact is that they don't see the system as being completed for a much longer time than a marketing or sales VP ever would. Yet under a QFD arrangement, both sides of the equation can meet to discuss business impact objectives and technical feasibility objectives to arrive to a workable model of operations where neither side either undermines or short-changes the other.

If only they spoke the same language!

That's why I believe in the importance of a role I call the marketing IT process strategist function. It's the glue that can bring these 2 groups together, first at the process conceptualization level, to eliminate the concern over how to leverage short-term tools for long-term business process success. It's a sort of process asset portfolio manager role that ensures the safeguarding of one of the company's most valuable intellectual properties: its process designs in Marketing and Sales.