Ahh, marketing automation, thank you for coming along. Not just because marketers need you, but the technology market needs you. We don’t have as many dirty, bare-knuckled technology wars as we used to or at least any new ones. Especially for a guy like me who loves a good battle. Whenever I’m out with the marketing automation guys, I tell them: “I love standing on the sidelines watching you go at it.” I love it.
That being said, there’s been some recent amazingness in the blogosphere with marketing-automation-exec-on-marketing-automation-exec violence. We can derive some important lessons from it.
So, first, with joy, I present to you the last couple weeks in the war for marketing automation dominance:
- Lead Sloth’s Genius.com article: This was a fairly innocuous article, with Jep getting the scoop from Scott Mersy at Genius and writing about the two freemium offerings in the marketing automation market. Innocent, right? Check out the war that broke out — particularly between David Thompson, CEO of Genius, and Phil Fernandez, CEO of Marketo — in the comments.
- The Eloqua Blog “callout” of Marketo VP of Sales Bill Binch: Bill sent a LinkedIn message to some Eloqua sales reps. Alex Shootman, SVP of Sales at Eloqua, in a brilliant chess counter-move, then posted the message on his blog and, in his tone and message, took the high road. Many will debate whether posting the message on the blog in the first place really constitutes taking the “high road,” but who cares? This is war! How about Bill’s comment: “Old school or not, it got me 6 interviews.” CLASSIC.
- “A party isn’t a party without a good fight” — A really mean guy in high school who got in fights every weekend used this as his graduation quote. I’ll never forget being horrified by it, but now I get to use it. The key here, as I mentioned above, is that there is nothing better for a market than a good all-out fight. SAP v. ORCL, ORCL v. MSFT, MSFT v. GOOG. Bring on the trash-talk, lawsuits, gamesmanship, and — sorry Alex — recruiting, which is a big part of this.
- “Its not a battle unless you are recruiting each others soldiers” — Sorry, again, Alex, but it’s true. You should be excited that Marketo is going after your guys. Eloqua is the market leader, the king of the hill, so expect your competitors to pull out all the stops and try to beat you in deals, take your clients, and recruit your guys. Sending in recruiters to steal your people is fair game, and you need to fight back with a strong employee retention strategy. That’s war, guys. Embrace it, dig your heals in, and fight.
- “Everyone needs an enemy” — Lightspeed Venture Partners’ John Luongo was an adviser on our board, and one of his first tips was to declare an enemy. This great tip gives your team focus, direction, motivation, and a common enemy. The marketing automation war is a perfect example of how enemies only make you better. Lets face it, the current marketing automation market was built around everyone declaring Eloqua the enemy. Now, more and more, people are adding Marketo to this list. But the point is, the winner of the competition will be end users as (hopefully) companies work to make themselves better.
- “The battlefield has changed, and it’s kinda fun” — Let’s go over what happened here again: EXECUTIVES from these companies went to war in the blog comment fields. I love the age of new media. Instigating your rival can be done in seconds in today’s world. Imagine what that would have taken 10 years ago.
- “Predicting that a market with 36 companies in it will consolidate is not really a prediction” — With the Market2Lead-Oracle “deal” and IBM’s recent purchase of Unica, bloggers have been “predicting” that the marketing automation market will consolidate. Dude, come on. Even I know that. I can’t even think of an analogy, but of course there is no room for all these marketing automation companies. Thanks for that really insightful comment.
So, there and I didn’t even use “All’s fair in love and war.” Fight on marketing automation people, fight on.