Creative Commons mashup from work of bfishadow
This year there were many in the Marketing Automation sector; vendors have had more money and as a result really began flexing their marketing muscle. There has been adoption of Marketing Automation platforms by customers not only in the tech market segment, but in “old line” sectors such as financial services and manufacturing. Obviously, much has been happening in the past few years. IBM acquired Unica; Teradata bought Aprimo. Oracle obtained control of the IP of Market2Lead. Rumors have been flying about Salesforce.com and it’s acquisition of Radian6, surely a sign that it was moving towards Marketing Automation. But there is one proceeding of 2011 that is of utmost significance to Marketers…
This past August, Eloqua filed an S-1 with the the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and the buzz was instantaneous. Commentary by thought leaders in the Marketing Automation space ranging from competitors like David Cummings of Pardot, to more neutral observers such as Focus.com and David Raab of Raab Associates was generally on the mark.
While the window of opportunity is precarious in this economy, it is still an overall positive thing that Eloqua was in the position to even file in the first place. As probably the oldest Marketing Automation vendor at 10+ years, they have had a slow road to this point, compared to other technologies and platforms that have seemed to come out of “nowhere.” Perhaps the IPO will not happen due to the window (or bubble) closing/bursting. Perhaps the IPO is just a springboard to a more lucrative (and hopefully short-term) exit such as an aquisition. Good for Joe Payne (@JoePayne) and his hard working team. But none of that really matters to the rest of us Marketers- what matters is the technology has finally matured to the point where you as marketers have no choice but to seriously look at Eloqua and its competitors’ offerings. The scale at which their solutions can help you gather, stores, analyze, share and act upon data makes a compelling proposition.
Now this is our last blogpost of the year, and we wish to end it on a positive note; however, there is something from the S-1 we need to point out because it made us cringe. Clearly we are in the camp that supports the IPO and roots for all the Marketing Automation vendors. But on page 14 of the S-1 we cringed when we read one line in the standard section entitled “Risk Factors” upon which all filing companies must elaborate respective to their situation:
“If we fail to forecast our revenue accurately, or if we fail to match our expenditures with corresponding revenue, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.”
Now, don’t get us wrong – we blame a cadre of receding-hairlined attorneys for cramming a bunch of scary boilerplate into an S-1; we’ve seen it before and it’s all “CYA” kind of stuff. What is ironic is that Eloqua’s solution facilitates “Revenue Performance Management” (RPM), a methodology which increases the ability for a firm to forecast revenue accurately. It is not incorrect to assume that Eloqua is using its own platform and therefore “eating its own dogfood.” Marketo, Eloqua’s main competitor, constantly preaches the RPM gospel and shows how they have forecasting down to a science using their own platform. We just think that there could have been a better way to mitigate that one caveat in the S-1. Silly lawyers…
Have a FANTASTIC and GROWTH ORIENTED 2012!