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OMMA Premium Display @ Advertising Week

09/30/2014 New York NY

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10/07/2014 - 10/08/2014 New York NY

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10/21/2014 - 10/22/2014 Chicago IL

iMedia Breakthrough Summit: The Next Wave of Marketing

10/26/2014 - 10/28/2014 Stone Mountain Georgia

Email Insider Summit

12/07/2014 - 12/10/2014 TBA

iMedia Agency Summit: The Agency Re-Defined: Balancing Scale, Scrappiness, & Innovation

12/07/2014 - 12/10/2014 Bonita Springs FL

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12/10/2014 - 12/13/2014 Deer Valley UT

2015 International CES

01/06/2015 - 01/09/2015 Las Vegas Nevada

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Managing Marketing Assets in Today’s Digital Economy

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Managing Marketing Assets in Today’s Digital Economy

Samantha Warnes, Senior Solution Consultant of Digital Asset Management & Customer Experience Management at OpenText, looks at how organisations need to re-examine the creation, collaboration, production and distribution of digital media to deliver a richer digital marketing experience.

In today’s connected world, marketers are expected to manage content that caters to a richer digital experience. Digital assets have to be available, agile and consistent. Gone are the days when business departments could operate in silos. Now different units have to work with marketing to make the most of content across every distribution point – regardless of whether that is online, physical, over mobile, or even print.

However, ensuring that marketing content – regardless of size or format – is agile and can move at the speed required, means rethinking how digital assets are managed. Organisations need to automate the management of all assets, across all available mediums and consider the following five key areas:

1. Collecting: In the creation and storage of marketing assets, content should be collected and automated to provide a single, authoritative system for all types of marketing media. The result should be a digital asset management system without silos, massive email files, or guesswork as to the correct asset needed for a specific marketing purpose.

2. Managing: The ability to organise, categorise and apply appropriate rights policies to link related assets ensures rich marketing media can be managed efficiently.

Continue reading…  

 

 

 

Media Advertising Sees Largest Growth in Over a Decade

IDG Connect 0811 300x141  Media Advertising Sees Largest Growth in Over a Decade

Media Advertising

Media advertising spending will see its largest growth in over a decade, according to Neustar’s Media Intelligence Report for Q2 2014. Companies are focusing more and more on the data that they can collect, and they are trying to use that data for their marketing. However, half of marketers reported that they’re still having trouble linking the data to actionable insights.  Some of the other areas of interest in the study were social, video, and mobile. Social is the only channel that performed above the indexed average for reach efficiency, and video and mobile are becoming a more normal buy. The three areas that Neustar advises marketers to work on for the upcoming year are mobile, video, and attribution.

Inbound Marketing

Ascend2’s Inbound Marketing Research Summary Report takes a look at what’s next for inbound marketing. Currently, 90% of companies are integrating social, search, and content for inbound marketing purposes, and most of them are doing it successfully. For the next year, the most important objectives for inbound are to increase conversion rates and improve lead quality. One of the challenges of inbound is the lack of an effective strategy, which will begin to change as more companies adopt inbound as a top marketing priority.

 

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Digital Marketing Strategy: The Importance of Language

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Digital Marketing Strategy: The Importance of Language

There’s no doubt that we’re living in an increasingly multilingual society. It actually takes 20 languages to communicate with 80% of the world’s online population. However, according to a report from Common Sense Advisory (CSA), content in English has dominated the web “while companies have catered to Anglophone markets and the enormous spending they generate”. Despite this, English isn’t in fact the only prime language of ecommerce.

When it comes to business, people like being marketed to in their native language and, more often than not, that’s not English. We’ve commissioned a year-long study into the behaviour of the millennial generation (aged 18-36) looking at how their behaviour is forcing businesses to adapt their digital marketing approaches. A key focus for us within this has been the impact language has on marketing techniques. We surveyed 1,800 millennials and found that 32% of the millennial generation in English-speaking markets actually prefer a language other than English. What’s more, 46% are more likely to make a purchase if information is presented in their preferred language. These findings are supported by the CSA’s report which highlighted that 75% of online shoppers are more likely to buy products from websites in their language and 74% are more likely to purchase from the same brand again, if the after-sales care is in their mother tongue.

More so than any generation previously, it’s the millennials who are causing the biggest headache for marketers. They’re far more demanding than their predecessors and expect content to be delivered to them across their preferred device, channel and more importantly, in their preferred language. Figures like those above demonstrate just how language needs to be an integral part of any global digital marketing and customer experience strategy. If you don’t have this factored in then you risk alienating a significant proportion of your target audience, reducing the likelihood of driving brand advocacy and sales.

But how can marketers easily deliver high-quality multilingual content to their customers? It often seems particularly difficult to accomplish this in such a fast-moving, multinational market where millennials interact online and through social media. Digital marketers need to implement solutions that will enable them to translate potentially high volumes of high quality content into multiple languages, and deliver this at speed.

A great example of a business committed to offering its customers this service is B2B travel providerGTA, part of the Kuoni Group. GTA is growing fast, with already thousands of customers in 185 countries worldwide and processes over 21,000 bookings per day in more than 25 languages online. The company has recognised the importance of localising its content – tens of thousands of hotel and ground travel descriptions – to its global customer base, particularly as it continues to grow exponentially. It aims to deliver a seamless and personalised customer experience by addressing cultural differences.

Continue reading… 

 

Context is King: Points to Consider When Implementing a Contextual Marketing Strategy

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Context is King: Points to Consider When Implementing a Contextual Marketing Strategy

For the past few years, marketers have focused on pushing incredible amounts of content to their consumers and prospects to fit the mold of content marketing, having been told that is the future of their industry. This isn’t entirely false. Marketers need content to communicate with their consumers. However, many don’t know the context in which the consumer is engaging with that content, making it impossible to deliver the most relevant information to the right person at the right time. Today, consumers expect an optimal experience when interacting with any brand. They are accustomed to on-demand, personalized information and want marketers to understand their preferences before they buy. Because of these heightened expectations, marketers have to recognize who they are talking to and accept that context, not content, is now king. What should marketers today consider when developing a contextual marketing strategy? Here’s a start:

Continuous profile development

In order to effectively communicate with a consumer and determine the context in which they are consuming content, marketers should be continuously building a profile of each individual that touches their brand. Points to consider are consumer value score, age, location, gender, etc. Once a profile of an individual begins to develop, the process of communication becomes easier and more natural. Consider this: you meet a friend of a friend at a cocktail party and have a 30-minute conversation. The next week, you run into that same person at the supermarket. You wouldn’t start the relationship over by re-introducing yourself. You have the history of the previous conversation, and you would pick up from where you left off. The same holds true when a consumer engages with a brand – the context from previous engagements is key to making the current conversation relevant and more likely to result in a positive outcome.

The mobile conundrum – a blessing and a curse

The definition of “location” has shifted as consumers now have the opportunity to interact with a brand from anywhere in the world without stepping into a physical store. This anywhere, anytime access makes it challenging to recognize each consumer as they move across multiple channels and locations during the path to purchase. As individuals increasingly adopt tablets, social media, mobile phones and other technology, the marketing approach must shift to provide an optimal experience based on that specific consumer’s location, meaning in-store or out, inbound or outbound.

Mobility has given marketers the chance to keep track of every consumer inside and outside store walls. This has the potential to be a great opportunity, but can make it challenging for a brand to identify where a consumer is located and serve them appropriate content. With the rise of geo-fencing and iBeacon technologies, as well as advanced consumer engagement systems, brands are learning to embrace mobility and use it to their advantage. Targeting a consumer with a relevant piece of content—be it an in-app offer, automated email or tailored website material—when  they are in the location most appropriate can result in a powerful touch point.

Bridging the online-offline communication gap

Marketers think contextual marketing is easy, largely because many people are talking about its value in the online world. In reality, most companies are struggling to turn that vision into practice because context is only fully valuable when all touch points – online and off – can be linked and a complete profile of a user’s engagement with a brand can be built continuously. Many retailers, for example, are missing the full power of context because they are often unable to connect consumers’ in-store experience to those they have online—such as understanding which products they may have purchased in store in the past, or how many times they have stepped in and out of a location. The key is for the marketer to be aware of every touch point regardless of where and how it happens, which cutting-edge technology can help to track. As more and more consumers begin to blend their online and offline engagements with a brand and technologies continue to evolve, it will be important for marketers to facilitate an omnichannel experience, understanding a consumer’s full profile and targeting them in the context that makes the most sense. For instance, if a consumer was researching a sports car on an auto maker’s website or app, they should be directed immediately to that model (or others like it) when they visit the showroom (and vice versa), acknowledging their past preferences and therefore strengthening the bond between brand and consumer.

Potential pitfalls

Marketers do have the ability to buy consumer profiles and derive context from third-party media channels. This route doesn’t have the same, immediate timeline idea and it doesn’t translate into an effective contextual marketing strategy. Furthermore, the information is not always related specifically to a consumer’s interaction with the specific brand and rarely is it detailed at the individual level. Taken out of context and with a lag in time, a brand misses a lot of the consumer’s story, and marketers can only take context into account if they know all of it—not just bits and pieces—and can act quickly to leverage it.

If a company doesn’t have inside intelligence on its own consumer, they’re coming in last in today’s data-driven, personalized world.

Brands need to recognize that context is critical to starting a conversation with their consumers and maintaining that dialogue throughout the customer journey. Brand loyalty and repeat purchases are results of a series of positive engagement—each linking to the one before. By aligning content with context, marketers can make educated decisions on how to proceed with communication by helping and guiding consumers along the buying journey. As a result, consumers get what they really want in a way that makes sense to them and ultimately drives them to purchase while simultaneously improving their experience across channels.

For more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here 

UK: More Consumers Buy on Mobile

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 UK: More Consumers Buy on Mobile

According to a recent study by xAd and Telmetrics which looked at the mobile behaviors of 2,000 UK tablet and smartphone users, up to 46% of UK consumers now use mobile devices as their primary tool for purchase decision making, while one in four use mobile devices as their exclusive shopping research tool. From comparison shopping to looking up nearby store locations to searching for store contact info, consumers are doing more and more purchase research and general browsing on their mobile devices, even while at home with a computer nearby. In fact, according to the study, 60% of those surveyed reported being at home the last time they accessed their smartphones.

As consumers turn to mobile to meet their varying research needs, they are becoming more comfortable with these devices as a primary decision-making tool. Satisfaction with the information available on smartphones in particular increased 18% since last year’s study.  

Mobile Advertising Has a Bigger Influence on In-Store Purchases Than You May Expect

Retail was the most popular category for mobile purchases, with 35% of survey respondents completing their transactions on their mobile devices. However, the impact of increasing mobile commerce activity isn’t limited to on-device or even online behaviors. Of those surveyed, 31% reported visiting a physical store at some point during their mobile search process. The study showed that mobile devices are frequently being used to not only research products and services, but also to find nearby store locations and store contact info. Ultimately, 37% of study respondents completed their purchases offline, with 20% of Telecom and Insurance shoppers completing purchases via phone.

Most Consumers Are Open to Influence, But Make It Quick 

When first turning to their mobile devices, less than 20% of respondents knew exactly what they were looking for, making 80% completely open to purchase influence. Consumers are also expecting purchase gratification more quickly than they have in the past. Nearly 50% reported wanting to make their purchase within a day and 30% are looking to make a purchase within the hour (up 52% since 2013).

Competitive Pricing and Easy Access to Store Contact Info Are Biggest Purchase Drivers for Mobile Consumers

According to the study, three out of four UK consumers used their mobile devices for price comparison and 39% made a purchase because the product/service was the right price. Store proximity and easy access to contact info are also important factors. Over 50% of respondents expect to find a location within eight kilometers of their current location, underscoring the importance of accurate location data, while up to 40% of shoppers made phone calls to the businesses they searched.

Fore more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here 

Price & Big Data for Marketers

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Price & Big Data for Marketers

Marketers have a wide choice of new software solutions that can help them be more productive, including automated lead-generation systems, customer tracking and social media tools. However, when it comes to leveraging big data to enhance revenue and profits, marketing professionals often overlook one of the classic four pillars of the marketing mix—price.  Yet those marketing executives who learn to harness the wealth of big data they already possess can gain substantial advantages and outperform their markets. 

While the marketing function in global businesses is often responsible for setting list prices for products and services, few marketers excel at the task. For distributors and retailers, this can mean a constant struggle to manage prices for thousands of SKUs, as well as associated discounts and promotions. Those suggested list prices can also be discounted during the sales process to close deals and maintain customer relationships.

Unfortunately, there is an unequal balance of power in the battle to maintain prices and margins in today’s highly competitive global marketplace.  That’s because marketing and sales teams frequently don’t utilise the kind of big data tools and insights their customers’ procurement departments possess when negotiating prices and contracts.

By adopting big data solutions to look across internal ERP and CRM data, as well as external marketplace information, you can free your marketing and sales functions from time-consuming, manual spreadsheet updates and other inefficient pricing practices. Analytical tools can efficiently process vast amounts of data to identify customer segments and provide insights into specific customer buying behaviours. Using information this way can also identify the key drivers or variables that influence buyers, and determine their willingness to pay a certain price for a given set of products and services.

As a result, you can begin to harmonise pricing practices across your organisation and align marketing and sales resources to achieve strategic as well as tactical goals. Instead of constantly reacting to price changes in the marketplace, you can test various marketing scenarios and take a more proactive approach to decisions. Harnessing the knowledge locked in your big data translates into the power to price more efficiently and profitably.

Let me offer an example. A global chemical company based in Europe was able to analyse and interpret available internal data, as well as external marketing information. With these combined resources, the organisation integrated pricing and competitive and transactional data in one centralised location.   

The chemical company gained immediate value. By allowing the company to organise incoming data and identify key customer segments, they found 10 key value-based customer-behaviour drivers. Collecting this vast amount of data from various sources and putting it together meant that the company could determine list prices, which they could adjust to help achieve strategic margin goals. In addition, big data enables the company to execute more informed pricing decisions in conjunction with field sales operations, providing specific pricing guidance during contract negotiations. None of this would be possible using traditional pricing and sales methods that frequently rely on outdated, manual spreadsheets.

Today, marketing and sales executives can use pricing technology solutions to simulate pricing and promotion campaigns as a predictive tool. Exploring and then choosing optimum pricing strategies, marketing and sales professionals can execute their campaigns then monitor and measure the results by regional markets, individual sales people and customer accounts.

In the case of our global chemical company, a pricing initiative led by marketing and sales executives established a new process for setting prices that incorporated a wide range of variables, including product bundling, freight and handling costs, payment terms, discounts and rebates, and exchange rates across global markets. The pricing project identified more than USD $20 million of potential revenue uplift within the first quarter of implementing its big data analysis. 

Given the growing complexity and competitive nature of global markets today, marketing and sales executives owe it to themselves and their companies to learn how to exploit the potential of big data in making better pricing and business decisions. The right tools and opportunities exist today. Those who act now will reap the rewards.

Click here to see more blogs and research from IDG Connect

News Roundup: Digital Transformation; User Experience

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 News Roundup: Digital Transformation; User Experience

By Jessica Maxwell, Associate Marketing Specialist

Digital Transformation

According to a study from the Altimeter Group, 88% of US digital strategists said their firms are undergoing a formal digital marketing transformation effort. They defined digital transformation as “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touch point in the customer experience lifecycle.” One big digital transformation initiative is improving processes to speed up changes to digital properties such as social or mobile platforms. Another important initiative is updating customer-facing technology. The study also looked at what executives support digital efforts, and CMOs were most likely to support initiatives.

The State of the User Experience

Limelight Networks recently completed a survey titled “The State of the User Experience”, which looks at consumer perceptions around their website experiences. Here are some of the stats that stand out.

  • 52% of respondents said that a high-performing website is the most important expectation for a digital experience
  • 60% said that they aren’t willing to wait more than five seconds for a webpage to load
  • 20% aren’t even willing to wait three seconds for a webpage to load
  • 82% of respondents indicated that they would recommend a brand to a friend if they had a positive website experience

All of these points show how critical it is to have a consumer-friendly website. If your site loads slow or does not offer a good experience, that is possible revenue that you’re losing out on.

Targeting Your Audience: Let’s Get Down to Data

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Targeting Your Audience: Let’s Get Down to Data

It’s the catch-22 that’s increasingly giving marketers a headache. Brits now spend 1 in 12 of their waking hours online, giving advertisers a greater chance of their ads being viewed. Yet at the same time, consumers are increasingly becoming switched off to online advertising because they’re being subjected to so many banner ads. So how can advertisers not only first grab the attention of their audience with an ad, but keep their attention right up to the point of purchase?

Casting the net too wide

With so many potential eyeballs online, many marketers are taking the simple route and opting for automation tools to scatter their display ads far and wide. Programmatic buying is one such tool. Just like a stock exchange, it relies on algorithms and automated systems to sift through great volumes of data and then bid for digital space on ad marketplaces in real-time. But by bucketing consumer data together and using broad, pre-packaged audience segments, marketers aren’t getting their ads in front of their desired audience every time. This means they’re wasting much of their digital ad spend by unintentionally displaying their ads in the wrong places.

Just because I’m a 20-something professional male doesn’t mean I’m in the market for a brand new sports car and so I’m unlikely to click through on a banner ad displayed on the web page I’m viewing. Marketers must remember that not every customer within an audience segment is the same, so they have to take a more targeted approach if they’re to stand a chance of increasing their conversion rates.

Pinpointing individuals

Marketers need to learn to treat their customers as individuals: not only tailoring their ad campaigns to their broad demographics, but also to their personal tastes and interests. Set algorithms are a good start, but marketers need to go deeper and use more granular-level targeting. By focusing on the quality, not quantity of consumer data, they will be empowered to segment audience groups down to an individual user level and target them more effectively.

Search Retargeting is a digital ad technique that uses an anonymous individual’s recent history on search engines likes Google, Yahoo! or Bing, or an on-site search box, to identify their intent to buy something. By then looking at the relationship between particular keyword phrases and other variables, like time lag between actions (recency), a relevant ad that corresponds to the user profile can be served.

This technique allows marketers to target people on a much deeper level. If marketers can serve consumers with ads that match up to their personal interests and recent search history, it will ramp up the chance of them clicking through and converting to a sale.

Making data more intelligent

Once you’ve boiled down your audience segments to an individual level, the next step is to decide when to target them. Ideally, you want to be serving them a display ad just before they make a purchase. Smart data and Search Retargeting are the perfect combination because they enable marketers to pin point consumers at the exact moment of purchasing intent. This method is far more likely to lead to a purchase because it allows marketers to intelligently deliver ads exactly when that individual is looking to buy.

Whilst the opportunity to get banner ads in front of an online audience is ever increasing, so too is the complexity of the ad-tech ecosystem. Savvy brands and agencies that act now and make smarter decisions about their consumer data will reap the rewards of increased conversion rates and improved ROI on each campaign.

For more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here 

Navigating Through the Noise of Big Data

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Navigating Through the Noise of Big Data

Marketing teams all over the world are being tasked with meeting increasingly higher customer outreach goals yet industry data for the last five years show the percentage of marketing representatives hitting their numbers has plateaued. That’s even after accounting for the recovery from the great recession. At the same time, marketers and sales people are being inundated with endless noise and chatter from news sites, analyst reports, Twitter feeds and blog posts. Trying to decipher any meaningful insight about customers, prospects or markets can leave little time for actual interaction.

Tools for conducting business analytics to cut through big data noise do exist but until recently have required “braniac” data scientists to use, but that is slowly changing. Personal business analytics are making their way to the front line of sales, providing access to the exact information they need to drive intelligent conversations with key prospects to help meet ambitious revenue goals.

Focusing on Relevant Content

Time spent on account research and demand generation is, on average, taking up one-fifth of a person’s workweek. Many companies are just starting to use business analytics to help their marketing and sales teams identify how customers will react at certain conversion points in their customer revenue cycle. These insights are typically derived from mining data collected in their CRM, ERP, customer support and other internal information systems as well as unstructured data from the Business Web. In doing a peer group analysis of existing customers, they are able to generate a profile of what a highly qualified prospective customer actually looks like.

Relevant analytics to focus on include

  • Specific vertical opportunities and industry shifts
  • Identifying real-time risks and opportunities that your solutions match
  • Building strategy around changing characteristics of your customers and markets
  • Competitor activity and strategies

If packaged and presented properly, technology can act as a digital research assistant by showing the opportunities to pursue and the insights needed to develop effective and strategic marketing or sales plans.

Maintaining Strategic Outreach

Customers today can get a wealth of information about a vendor’s products or services via a variety of online options including your web site, your competitor’s site, reading analyst blogs, joining networking groups within social media services such as LinkedIn, and more. They also have high expectations for customer engagement by demanding that it delivers value at every interaction with them in order to win their business.

The messaging many hyper-growth companies use is no longer centered on the product they sell, but rather on understanding trending business issues, why those problems exist, and how to have the best solution to effectively deal with those issues. For example, it’s especially important for B2B sales teams to identify real-time deep insights on their customers’ business expansions and exits in order to align with that customers present and future needs.

Being effective at this, and being seen as a solution consultant, can significantly increase lead conversion rates and increase customer retention. By aligning solutions with real customer needs, marketers can deliver to their sales teams valuable tools that will enable them to have strategic conversations with their executive buyers, leading to shorter sales cycles and bigger deals. 

In Practice

Even though business intelligence has been readily available across many functional teams in the past, it has not been fully optimized in support of sales driven activities. If a marketer wanted to gather insight about emerging technologies, industry trends, or competitive moves, they typically had to reach out to a small internal analyst team for help, search a broad internal library, or perform their own searches on the internet. Today, when the entire team can easily access and understand their targeted customer, they can be more effective at achieving overall revenue growth.

By weeding out the influx of unnecessary data and maintaining focus on the relevant emerging customer trends and information, teams are now able to access business intelligence more efficiently and effectively- regardless of when and where they need it. A company’s effectiveness at helping their marketing and sales teams bridge their product expertise to become new business problem solvers is going to be what dictates whom the market leaders are.

Click here for more blogs and research from IDG Connect 

Why Giants Aren’t Always What They Seem

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Why Giants Aren’t Always What They Seem

Success in today’s marketplace hinges on innovation. Behemoth enterprises know that in order to stay competitive they need to constantly diversify and improve on their offerings. They need to harness the latest and greatest technologies – but these technologies can’t be made in these large companies’ labs. 

The new technologies are being built in incubators and startups at lightning speeds. Currently, there are 940 vendors in the marketing technology space offering innovative, disruptive solutions, and a lot of consolidation has already taken place here. The giants are relying on the little guys to drive innovation, which is why these small and mid-sized businesses are so important.

Innovation is moving downstream, and with it, marketing automation. In its 2014 Marketing Automation BuyerView, technology guidance firm Software Advice found that 50% of all businesses interested in marketing automation were in the SMB space, and that 90% were considering the technology for the very first time. Similarly, Forrester Research’s most recent Wave report pointed to several vendors who had already taken notice of this windfall, and had developed platforms specific to the small to mid-market consumer.

The lesson to be learned in all this is a simple one: businesses today are looking to move beyond the monolithic, enterprise-level suites of old, toward smaller, smarter, more flexible marketing solutions. In other words, bigger really isn’t better, and the giants of past eras aren’t nearly as gigantic as they once seemed.

For proof of this point, we need only consider the following facts. The marketing automation industry has grown by 50% annually for a number of years now, but has managed only to penetrate a mere 3% of non-tech companies in the mid-market. This leaves open a segment opportunity worth up to $8bn, and yet it is often passed over.

The few businesses that have been savvy enough to tap into this space have reaped tremendous rewards as a result. Act-On, for instance, has garnered 2100 customers across verticals like finance, insurance, agriculture, and manufacturing. Better still, the deals they’ve won have largely been noncompetitive, and from companies that were familiar with marketing automation already but unsure as to what solutions to choose.

More importantly, a great deal of innovation has already taken place at the mid-market level for this one reason: the more modern their marketing techniques are, the better chance small businesses have of competing against larger peers.

As Forrester notes in its recent Wave report, the B2B space for marketing automation is tipped to explode in the coming year, and will likely be driven by small, tech startups; slightly more than 50% of companies in this space already use automated lead-to-revenue management platforms to fuel sales pipelines, improve process maturity, and improve collaboration between sales and marketing. And it won’t be long before others follow suit.

All signs tell us that the days of marketing giants have come and gone. The future of marketing automation will be shaped by the plucky, ever-agile small and mid-market players.

For more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here