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  • Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Vendor Selection

    The MLM Maturity S-Curve

    Marketing Lead Management (MLM) automation continues to be a priority investment – in our new global survey of 1500 business decision makers, 72% said they’ll invest in new MLM software – over half for their first time. The report is available here and it shows a vendor landscape for MLM, as voted by the business decision makers, which is an interesting mix of Email Service Providers, Marketing Automation vendors and even some, such as Evergage, who I’ve written about last month, described often as Customer Data Platform vendors 

    This is due to the range of project maturity across the landscape and I think that, over time, the prevalent transactional prospect/lead process in MLM will mature to a lifecycle-based customer engagement process in both B2C and B2B. 

    Our surveys and consulting work enables us to continually assess the maturity of marketing organizations (combination of organization, process and technology). We have identified five maturity phases for MLM and associated processes: 

    • Chaotic. Lead management neophytes commonly first focus on eMail campaigning to purchased or built-up lists. The goal is to distribute content to qualified contacts and provide rudimentary leads to Sales.
    • Reactive. Initial fulfillment creative matures to a content marketing program earning an audience and new contacts from inbound lead capture. Marketing-qualified leads are generated and passed on.
    • Stable. An operational MLM system shares content and run digital campaigns, nurturing and progressing leads through all digital channels, including indirect business channels such as subsidiaries, distributors, resellers (TCMA).   
    • Proactive. Marketing’s role matures from supporting sales transactions to ensuring a customer experience. The necessary functionality is found in more mature MLM solutions or from additional products. Sellers are  supported as a vital experience channel and marketing at the account level becomes mission-critical.
    • Predictive. Over time, the prospect/lead process changes to a more holistic Customer Engagement Management process. Every industry is morphing to an “as-a-service” business model and digital channels will increasingly be used to engage with customers throughout their lifecycle: from initial research through to product use or service consumption. 

    The various processes can be mapped against this model on what we call an S-Curve Maturity Model. 

    Whether you are trying to win over consumers to be active in communities and social media, or if you are trying to recruit a business buyer to be a loyal user and advocate, the classical lead generation paradigm for all marketers is going to be replaced by new relationship-based metrics of customer success.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Evergage Joins the MLM Vendor Landscape and gets Acquired

    Marketing Lead Management (MLM) automation continues to be a priority investment – in our new global survey of 1500 business decision makers, 72% said they’ll invest in new MLM software – over half for their first time. 

    My new MLM Vendor Selection Matrix report, with the 2020 MLM vendor landscape as selected by those 1500 respondents, will come out later this month. But, due to this week’s news, I’ll point out NOW, that it is an interesting mix of Email Service Providers, Marketing Automation vendors and even some specialist vendors, such as the vendor Evergage. 

    Variously described as a Personalization Engine, Customer Data Platform, and other categories that analysts like to invent, Evergage is an exciting newbie on the MLM block. Regardless of category (and marketing professionals do not buy in categories), Evergage earned its place in this survey because it has been found and deployed by marketing professionals who searched for more functionality to optimize their ongoing engagements with buyers and customers.  

    My interviews showed that many firms are deploying it together with their established MLM platform to improve the customer engagement process. In the context of MLM, it is mostly bought by experienced users of Marketo, Eloqua and Salesforce Pardot seeking a 1-to-1 customer engagement: personalized  email campaigns, website or mobile app renditions, and other lead generation activities.

    Earlier this week, Salesforce acquired Evergage. It is unlikely that Salesforce wants Evergage as its CDP, though it may well leverage some of its IP and people, as that product roadmap is already well underway. No, I think Salesforce bought the vendor to enhance its own MLM offering for all the reasons described above. 

    For those of you needing some background, here is the already-completed Evergage vendor scorecard for my upcoming VSM report. This is what I write up for each vendor in the report and it is sent to all survey respondents and to our research clients.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter