New Marketing Automation Report: Venture Funding is Key to Success


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I released the 2012 edition of our B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Selection Tool (VEST) report today, an event that deserves more hoopla that I’ve given it. The VEST provides by far the most detailed, objective information available on industry vendors. It includes nearly 200 data points on 21 products, thumbnail sketches of each vendor’s strengths and weaknesses, and three industry quadrants showing leaders in different market segments. It’s also interactive: you can change the weights assigned to different items and watch the vendors zoom around the quadrant as a result. For those of us who don’t get out much, that’s downright exciting.

Although the VEST is primarily intended to help people who are buying a marketing automation system, its database also provides a statistical portrait of the industry. After rooting around in the numbers like pig hunting truffles, here’s what I dug up:

Core marketing automation is growing fastest. We classify industry vendors into four groups:

– micro business vendors (Infusionsoft and OfficeAutoPilot)

– HubSpot (a category of its own because it’s not quite standard marketing automation and is big enough to treat separately)

– enterprise vendors (Neolane, Aprimo, Silverpop, and Oracle)

– core B2B marketing automation (everybody else: Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, Genius, Act-On, et, al.)

The enterprise vendors don’t release meaningful installation counts – some refuse to provide any data and others don’t distinguish B2B from B2C clients. So we’ll exclude them from further analysis. The table below shows growth for the remaining groups:

As you see, core vendors grew almost twice as fast as the micro-business group and considerably faster than HubSpot. There was some speculation last year that the micro-business vendors were growing the fastest. Myth busted.

Revenue grew faster than installation counts. The previous table shows that combined growth across all categories is 46%. But that doesn’t mean much because the selling prices are so different. Adjusting for revenue per client, I estimate that industry revenue grew about 55% last year. I could show you my calculations, but then I’d have to…well, you know.

New leaders can still emerge, but venture funding is required. A year ago, the three largest core vendors were Eloqua, Marketo, and Genius, and Act-On was an also-ran. Today, the Marketo has more clients than Eloqua (although not more revenue), Pardot has replaced Genius in the third position, and Act-On is coming up fast.

It’s no mystery why the market remains fluid: venture capital lets new entrants shoulder their way to the top. Of the five top-ranked core vendors, all but Pardot has substantial venture funding. None of the remaining ten core vendors do – and their average growth is much slower. Self-funded firms can survive but it’s unlikely they will become leaders.

Specialization is increasing. We ask vendors for client counts in four segments: micro-business (under $5 million revenue); small business ($5 to $20 million revenue), mid-size business ($20-$500 million revenue) and big business ($500 million and higher). Most gave us answers, although Act-On was a prominent hold-out.

It’s no surprise that the micro vendors sell almost exclusively to micro clients. HubSpot’s base is much more diverse, although the micro and small sectors still account for 75% of its base. Of the core vendors, Marketo and Genius are the most small business oriented, with the two smallest categories accounting for over half of their customers. Pardot is tightly focused on small and mid-size clients, reflecting their disciplined sales approach. Eloqua has by far the most big-business clients of any core vendor, a proportion that has grown dramatically since the first VEST report one year ago.

For more information on the new VEST report, visit

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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