Here’s one of the biggest trends for off-domain social initiatives that I’m tracking as I kick off a new overview of social tools for B2B marketers: Marketers like you no longer want just the perfect point solution for each new social marketing campaign; instead, they want integrated solutions and are starting to use larger software packages aimed at providing complete digital marketing solutions.
This is welcome news because successful social programs should be part of your comprehensive marketing plans; they can’t exist as their own island. Several years ago, B2B marketing organizations could run their social marketing initiatives in a silo, but today they must coordinate them with their lead origination and lead nurturing programs as well as with other awareness campaigns.
The three leaders in the most recent Forrester Wave™ evaluation of email marketing vendors reflect this change in their products; they all promote their social offerings front and center on their home pages, often with the same prominence as their traditional email offerings. Screenshots of each of those home pages are below.
ExactTarget expanded into social marketing beginning with its acquisition of CoTweet some time ago in March 2010.It now has a “Social Marketing Hub” as a part of its “Interactive Marketing Hub” — email marketing is just one of three product categories on its website, getting equal billing with both social and mobile marketing.
Experian Marketing Services’ email marketing landing page promotes CheetahMail, the centerpiece of its offering, but a primary marketing message shows the connection between social (Facebook) and email marketing.
Responsys — like ExactTarget — is promoting itself as an integrated marketing provider, with email as just one component of what you can purchase. Its tagline now reads “email / mobile / social / display / web,” with email and social on equal footing.
These “email marketing” vendors are just three examples of a larger trend that includes salesforce.com’s and Oracle’s announcements promoting their new integrated marketing suites during their keynotes at DreamForce and OpenWorld, respectively.
When you re-evaluate your off-domain social marketing tools for 2013, if they are not only still standalone but also don’t use open APIs to integrate with your other marketing systems of record — including email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM — it may be time to seek out new solutions.
In the comments, please let me know how you’re taking advantage of these trends or let me know if you’d like to participate in our upcoming Market Overview.