In my last post, I discussed how the marketing automation platform (MAP) space has evolved during the last 12 months. This week, I present six ways SiriusDecisions predicts the marketing automation platform market will evolve during the next 12 months. I have broken these into three broad categories – marketplace dynamics, MAP technology and customer usage.

Marketplace Dynamics

The marketing automation platform space is experiencing consolidation and, simultaneously, the entrance of nontraditional vendors.

  • Consolidation. The marketing automation platform market will continue to consolidate, especially those MAPs that cater to the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market.
  • Hybridization. Non-traditional marketing automation platform offerings will enter the fray as content management system (CMS) vendors continue to incorporate MAP functionality into their product offerings. Given the growing revenue opportunity in the channel marketing and management (CMM) software category and the degree to which it aligns with the marketing automation platform space, many CMM vendors will expand their MAP offerings to channel organizations through acquisition or by directly building in this functionality.

Marketing Automation Platform Technology

Leading marketing automation platform vendors will increase the sophistication and usability of their software offerings. Their functionality will extend to organizations’ corporate Web sites and include basic workflow processes.

  • Dynamic Web site. Dynamically aligning high-value Web site calls to action to what’s known or inferred about Web site visitors significantly increases conversion rates. For example, a contact from a pharmaceutical company will see different calls to action and messaging on an organization’s corporate Web site than an individual from a manufacturing organization. Several vendors already provide this functionality, including HubSpot, Neolane and Unica.
  • Basic workflow. The development and execution of marketing automation platform programs often requires the orchestration of many resources and mandatory approval steps. To support this process, several vendors are focused on incorporating basic workflow and approval processes into their product offerings and/or partnering with workflow management vendors.

Customer Usage

Based on our research and client interactions, we see many marketing organizations moving beyond basic lead scoring to more rigorous approaches, as well as increased use of marketing automation platforms for customer marketing.

  • Advanced scoring. Only a handful of B2B companies use a statistical approach for lead scoring. Most still create a scoring model from an assumptive, experience-based scoring development process. This noted, we have observed a growing trend – in organizations with strong marketing and sales alignment and the ability to apply advanced statistics (e.g. curvilinear regression) – to create more rigorous scoring models. We believe this trend will continue, given the increased focus on data capture, data management and data utilization in B2B marketing organizations.
  • Customer marketing. Only 8 percent of B2B organizations leverage their investments to drive customer marketing. As organizations mature in their use of marketing automation, we see them leveraging their marketing automation platform investment beyond net new demand generation. A marketing automation platform can be used throughout the customer lifecycle, from delivery of training materials during onboarding to maintaining service levels and monitoring customer satisfaction. When using marketing automation in this way, it’s important that marketing align with all other customer-facing departments (e.g. sales, support) and connect with their business processes and sources of data.