A few weeks ago, I wrote a pretty popular post about the blogosphere wars in the marketing automation space: Who’s Going to Run This Town. I didn’t plan to post on this again, but with a new breakout of marketing-automation-vendor-on-marketing-automation-vendor violence, I had to jump in. Actually to be clear, this should be defined as marketing-automation-vendor-on-marketing-automation-reseller-(with-another-marketing-automation-vendor-jumping-in) violence.
If you live in a hole, here is my timeline (note: I may not know everything and am open to “timeline” changes):
9/20 – 9/23: Rumors start swirling that Eloqua is going to sever its relationship with prodigal son Jeff Pedowitz and The Pedowitz Group (TPG). I am the Funnelholic, I heard this.
9/24: Eloqua posts that it is losing TPG.
9/27: TPG press release states that the company will no longer represent Eloqua.
9/27: Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez jumps into the fray with “Putting the Customer First in the Channel” blog post, which is very “gangster” of him.
9/24 – present: Chatter, rumors, tweets, rumors, dire predictions, back-channel clarifications, etc.
God, I love this game. Again, I am not a reporter, so the object here is not to inform you of this public battle, but rather to offer some thoughts. A number of people have asked me to comment, but I have avoided talking about it. (I have been working on a list of sales experts and another list of email marketers. I’m addicted to lists. I also need to do a post about my new position at Focus.)
Alas, I have been smoked out of my foxhole.
- This whole thing smells of Biggie/Tupac. If you don’t know what I am referring to, in the 1990s there was a “war” between East Coast and West Coast rappers. Biggie was The Notorious B.I.G., who represented the East Coast, and Tupac was a rapper from the West Coast. Now, there was more to the story on those two, but the important part is the very public warring between factions from both sides. Basically, the hip-hop guys (who are genius viral marketers – more on this sometime later) realized that these “beefs” were adored by the press and viral as hell. It totally works: No one wants to write about some boring press release when they can talk about war. War is good for the economy.
- The major difference is that the end user couldn’t care less. Unlike hip-hop, where the press translates into more consumers buying albums, the marketing automation war will not sell more pieces of software. Sure, a lot more people know who The Pedowitz Group is now, so (despite losing Eloqua) maybe TPG ‘wins.’ But at the end of the day, the consumers of these battles are marketing automation wonks. The VP of marketing is not looking at this and choosing sides. Phil nailed it in his post, characterizing the brouhaha as purely “inside baseball.”
- Biggie and Tupac are both dead – morbid, I know – and I definitely don’t mean to suggest that Marketo and Eloqua will die (quite the contrary). However, while Marketo and Eloqua battle it out through deals and in the press, there are a lot of vendors waiting in the weeds. This market is far from done, and frankly the software is far from done (I hope). While the market leaders argue out loud, will someone sneak up?
How about that for some marketing automation and gangster rap? (@Chris_Snell)