Using “Big Data”?

Instead of passing over leads once they reach a certain score or threshold, a big data strategy could help marketers make better decisions when it comes to lead scoring and identify which leads are most likely to purchase a company’s products or services based on a set of inputs to improve upon existing lead scoring tactics.

Marketing Automation Providers: If It’s Content vs Data, Who Wins?

Content vs data: who wins?

Content vs data: who wins?

On the same day that we see an announcement about an agreement between Oracle and Salesforce to share data, Marketo provided an announcement about its 1000th blog post, basically a summary of things “then and now”.

This is about as clear a picture as we’re going to get about the current and future consolidation of the industries that have come to be known by various names as “marketing automation” and “content marketing” (and related terms).

There’s “data” on the one side, and “content” on the other.

Of course, both sides will profess expertise in both arenas. However, in terms of “strength vs strength”, Oracle and Salesforce are going to have their strength in the “data” arena, and Marketo and some of their like-minded competitors are staking their claims in the “content” arena.

“Big Data”? No Problem for Oracle/Eloqua

In the “data” arena, Oracle and Salesforce, two traditional rivals, have seemingly “agreed to play nice”, at least in terms of sharing their data more easily. As I’ve used these solutions, it was already a natural fit.

And, in a recent blog post, I put up a video in which Oracle/Eloqua outlines its product roadmap, saying “we’re committed to continuing the Eloqua roadmap, exhilarating it, and then integrating it with a broader portfolio”. That involves using “Eloqua’s marketing cloud in a multi-vendor environment”.

If anything, Salesforce and Oracle are on the same side of the house, in the “data” world. On the other side of the house, Marketo is more about providing “content”, and perhaps in that emphasis, we see a clue about the weaknesses it is trying to cover.

Will “Thought Leadership” Trump “Data”?

If Eloqua has been “all about revenue” (and data), then Marketo has staked its claim in the realm of “thought leadership” in the form of “content”. Jon Miller, who wrote the blog post, gives himself this moniker and tagline:

Jon (@jonmiller) leads all aspects of Marketo’s thought leadership, communications, and content marketing programs.

And in line with the “thought leadership” process, the blog post “revisiting our very first post, “Modern B2B Marketing Defined”, and commenting on what’s changed – and what hasn’t – since August 8, 2006.

What hasn’t changed:

• Customers are more empowered than ever, and less likely than ever to want to be interrupted with someone else’s marketing message.
• “Mass media” is giving way to the need for “mass customization”.
• Marketing must be accountable [a tip-of-the-hat to “revenue”].

What has changed?

• “Content marketing” has become the new and personalized SEO.
• It’s now all about ***Social Media*** and ***Mobile***.
• Integrated SaaS (“software as a service”) providers will be more needed to process the data.

While mentioning the explosion of data, Miller doesn’t give much of a hint as to how data is to be captured, managed, and used. He does note that “at the core” of the “integrated” services, there will be some mechanism to use “behavioral data about prospects and customers.” But there are no specifics about how “advanced” and “predictive” “analytics” will be used. Only in the coming years, “even more dynamic personalization” and “real-time marketing” will be forthcoming.

I’m not familiar with Marketo’s platform. But I do know Oracle/Eloqua and Salesforce, and the ways that they integrate data in ways that are useful to an organization. The difficult part about these solutions is finding appropriate ways to incorporate the “content marketing” portion.

In the coming months and years, the struggle for dominance will be between those who know the data and struggle to provide the content management, and those who manage the content well but struggle to scale to the data needs.

Convergence will minimize the differences; “execution” will be key

I don’t doubt that there will be some convergence: the “content” competitors will acquire data-savvy partners, and these will thrive on the content side. The Oracle/Eloqua/Salesforce side will need to strengthen their ties with “content marketing” thought leaders.

In the end, I doubt that the “content” marketers are going to be too lacking in data, and nor will the data providers find themselves lacking in the “content” arena. But as I said above, handling the data seems to be the more difficult task, and I’d give a slight edge to the Oracle/Eloqua side.

What it’ll come down to is, as Tom Peters has said, “execution”.

I’m @johnbugay

Doing more with less, beating “Moore’s Law”, enabling “Big Data”, and creating new kinds of jobs

Anyone who’s been alive in the last 30 years has seen the incredible on-rush of technology. No doubt you’ve got a mobile phone in your pocket or on a desk nearby. Some time not long ago (I remember the early 1990’s) such miniaturization and efficiency of space was unthinkable.

Underlying the press to do more with less is a concept known as “Moore’s Law”, which posits that “that the number of transistors on integrated circuits would double roughly every two years”. This has enabled chip manufacturers to roughly double the power of microprocessors each year. [A similar law, called Kryder’s law describes how storage space works in a similar way.]

The problem is that the laws of physics now have pressed microchip manufacturers to the point to which “traffic” within the circuit board makes it difficult to get things any smaller. And this is causing a “traffic jam” in the amounts of information that can be processed.

Nevertheless, the Harvard Business Review has a helpful blog post by Hector Ruiz, the former CEO of chip maker (and Intel competitor) AMD, which talks about how chip technology is going to become even smaller and more efficient in spite of the increasing traffic:

To understand where the industry is today and where innovation is headed, it’s helpful to think of the microchip as a metropolitan area and its components as buildings.

Decades of innovation have made the components of a microchip smaller and smaller. Yet chips have grown larger as more and more components are packed onto them to meet increased computing needs — making the interconnections between each minuscule part more spread out.

That “sprawl” is like the suburbs around a city. The same problems that apply to a sprawling metropolitan area apply to the microchip: getting from point A to point B requires increasing time and energy just like driving a congested freeway from a suburban home to a job downtown does. Information travels across bigger microchips with less efficiency at slower speeds, while consuming more power.

We can’t increase the surface area of microchips much more without running into those problems, and we’re getting closer every day to the limits of how small we can make components. So what next?

The trend in urban development today is to build up, bringing people back into city centers and transforming suburbs into functioning city units where jobs, shopping, and homes are as closely connected as possible. That idea applies to microchips in the form of three-dimensional interconnect. It’s the off-ramp to Moore’s Law: In 3D interconnect, engineers stack wafers like the floors of a skyscraper in extreme miniature, with vertical connections (think elevators communicating between floors) in addition to traditional horizontal links.

One key area of growth this will impact is the growth of “big data”. According to IBM, 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.

Much of that is “unstructured” – in the forms of images and videos stored at such venues as Facebook and YouTube. But increasing volumes of it come in the forms of measurable, actionable information. Gartner has predicted that 1.9 million new IT jobs in the US alone will be created to support “big data” over the next two years.

Eloqua and similar marketing automation programs are enabling marketers to do more with the onrush of data – to accomplish more (and more relevant) “marketing functionality” with fewer people, while at the same time changing the face of what needs to be done.

That bodes well for folks who understand the type of change that’s happening, what it is they’re dealing with.