The B2B marketing automation space has established itself as one of the most vibrant industries in the United States. Recent activity, including a $78 million Marketo IPO, a $100 acquisition of Pardot by ExactTarget, a $871 million acquisition of Eloqua by Oracle, and a $25 million venture funding of Silverpop, suggests the marketing automation industry is growing at a breakneck pace.
Marketing automation has become the bellwether of online marketing for B to B marketers. Companies in business-to-business industries from IT consulting to manufacturing have been adopting lead generation and management applications at a furious rate since 2009.
The industry is still in its infancy. None of these big hitters is even 15 years-old: Eloqua and Silverpop were founded in 1999, Marketo and Pardot in 2007.
These marketing automation industry players are leading (in terms of capitalization) a group of smaller but no less effective MA vendors. For example, Lead Liaison’s Lead Management Automation™ cloud-based platform is a competitive lead management solution because it allows marketers to expand their email delivery without overage charges. There are several other examples of competitive advantages that smaller players have which MA vendors like HubSpot, Pardot, and LeadLander do not provide.
Since 2005 digital marketing has grown substantially. PPC advertising, social media marketing, and SEO have all played a part in marketing B2B solutions. However, marketing automation software appears to have one important differentiator from other B to B digital marketing components: while buying behaviors may change (such as reduced PPC click-through), capturing and managing Big Data for marketing purposes is not vulnerable to changing online behavior trends. The function of marketing automation will remain viable for B to B companies for decades. Perhaps this is why companies like Marketo, Eloqua, and Lead Liaison are forging a sustainable path for this booming industry.