While the use of marketing automation is growing, it's far from pervasive, perhaps used by no more than a quarter of companies, Doran said. And for many companies, even those that use some form of marketing automation, more traditional methods help the process immeasurably.
Ann Smith, director-marketing programs at MarkLogic Corp., has an intriguing challenge in getting and nurturing leads. In promoting the use of MarkLogic software solutions, which aggregate, repurpose and deliver content in multiple formats, Smith must convince prospects—often in person—that MarkLogic automation is better than the way they've been doing it.
“Lead-gen for us is just getting in that first hook into an organization,” Smith said. “Education is really important in a complex sale. Technically, we're selling a new idea to a lot of people. There's not a lot of things they can compare it to.”
As a result, MarkLogic participates in many trade shows and other live events. The company's demand generation agency, Bulldog Solutions, also is tapped to help stage webinars to demonstrate MarkLogic products and help build prospect lists.
“For the government sector in particular, where it's hard to reach people, live events are important,” Smith said. “If we select our events carefully, we're able to have very good conversations with people, to understand their pains and what they're experiencing. We want to be problem-solvers.”
But Smith added that, in finally determining what's a good lead, marketing has its limits.
“At this stage, determining a full-qualified lead is not something marketing can really do,” she said. “Even if somebody downloaded a white paper or attended a webinar, we rely on the people on the phone to dig further, to see if there is a fit. Ultimately, you need that live conversation.” M