On Friday I published a new post to the Silverpop Demand Generation (DG) blog — one that responded to the comment thread on Jep Castelein’s Lead Sloth post, “Will Marketing Automation Be Free?” My DG post placed this dialogue in the context of what I believe really are the major challenges facing B2B demand generation today. I also linked this back to the very-timely four-part series on the ‘real state’ of demand generation I published on this blog this past week.
The DG post argues that much of the discussion around ‘freemium models’ in the marketing automation space right now is potentially focusing on the wrong challenge:
What struck me about this ‘freemium model’ dialogue is that it is semantically interesting, but fundamentally focused in the wrong place. As important as your choice of marketing automation technology provider is — and it is important — I’d argue that the stumbling block for most B2B marketers attempting to take their demand generation to the next level is not access to the technology, itself. So giving it away for free doesn’t necessarily improve adoption rates.
The major obstacle today for the next generation of B2B demand generation is actually the ‘people and processes’ that must be in place to successfully leverage marketing automation technology. And this is a point backed up by stacks of recent research reports and commentaries by some of the best and brightest in B2B marketing today.
The focus of my post then shifts to what we can do about this, and I argue (from the perspective of my role at Silverpop), that it is critical for marketing automation technology vendors to play a catalytic role in improving the state of ‘people and processes’ among B2B marketers. “We have to pay it forward,” I noted. We are still in single-digit-percentage adoption of marketing automation, and we’re past selling to early adopters. The future growth of the marketing automation space, thus, is going to be closely linked to evolution of skills and approaches among mainstream B2B marketers.
The post highlights the B2B marketing programs and education Silverpop has contributed to the marketplace during my current tenure at Silverpop. It provides updates on the Fall 2011 B2B Marketing University (B2BMU) series, as well as links to all of Silverpop’s blog content on demand generation since launching the B2BMU series. So it’s a good combination of commentary, data and also resources for closing the gap.
And in case you missed any of my series, “The Unspoken ‘Real State’ of Modern B2B Demand Generation,” here are links to all four parts: