I recently caught up with Scott Mersy, VP of Marketing, and Parker Trewin, Director of Marketing Communications for Genius.com to discuss their Free, Instant-On offering of Genius Demand Generation.
First, the details:
- No need for IT - Instant-On Website Tracking
- Up to 3,000 contacts
- Up to 10,000 emails per month
- No limit on page views
- Automated integration with Salesforce.com with entry of password.
- Triggered response
- Web-to-Lead forms
- Email Marketing
- Segmentation and List Building
- Multichannel and social media tracking (My review of Genius gURLs)
- See all the features here
You all know how I feel about the need for marketing automation technology to drive business objectives and to provide quantifiable proof of marketing's contribution to downstream revenues. Marketing performance cannot improve to the degree necessary to drive business results without technology.
But, let's talk for a minute about why Genius.com is providing a free Demand Generation Solution. The company is passionate about helping marketing and sales successfully drive revenues. Here are a few of the things they believe:
- Marketers should have the ability to test their approaches and prove business case for the tools that fit their needs without being handcuffed to a solution that's not right for them.
- Marketing automation should be intuitive and easy to use—providing instant gratification—not require months of deployment, intensive training to operate or monopolize your IT staff.
- Marketing automation should improve communications and responsiveness between marketing and sales, not impede it with the creation of another silo.
- Education is a responsibility they embrace passionately to help marketers build the skill set they need to successfully develop programs that match the current needs of the marketplace, using the technology to deliver them.
Over the last week, since Genius.com's announcement, there have been reviews and comments made about this idea of "free." Some think it's great and some feathers are ruffled. It's an interesting discussion with lots of opinions. Here are a few - don't forget to check out the comments:
Now, I'll throw my thoughts into the ring.
I work with a lot of clients in the process of adopting marketing automation technology from a variety of vendors. In most cases, they've purchased the solution prior to determining the people, process and content combination they'll need to be successful in using it. Thankfully, they've decided to figure that out sooner, rather than later.
Some of their questions include:
- What needs to change in our thinking and planning to make the switch from manual to automated marketing?
- What kind and how much content do we need? How will we produce it?
- What calls to action do we need to create momentum in the buying process? How will we know it's working?
- What's the most effective way to segment our audiences?
- How can we learn what we need to know to connect better with our buyers?
As companies work to answer these questions and develop the skill sets they need to move forward, Genius.com's free offering can help.
Consider the following possibilities:
- Choose a segment audience and run one campaign across an entire buying cycle. That's the real beauty in removing the limitation of a 30-day trial with limits on functionality.
- Divide the campaign into A/B groups and test different versions of content, email subject lines, etc. to gauge response and learn what matters to your prospects.
- Treat it as a pilot project and establish goals to identify business value, identify which features are important to you and what doesn't work.
- Incorporate social media and use gURLs to prove the value of your participation in attracting leads, improving continuous dialogue, etc.
- Trial a Google Ad Words campaign and measure impact.
- Have your salespeople use the Outlook integration to prove the success [or identify areas for improvements] in engaging late stage leads with the messages they send.
With the focus removed from the technology purchase and implementation, marketers and sales organizations alike are free to apply their attention to the people, process and content needed to power prospect and customer dialogues throughout the buying process.
That's the power of free demand generation technology. Developing the skill sets, processes and content may not be free, but without the technology in use, it's very difficult to judge how the concepts will work in action when all you have is theory.For those who think there will be no impact to adoption because companies aren't purchasing the technology upfront, I beg to differ. The stake being put in the ground is the application of the people, process and content to prove business value. That's often a bigger stake than the cost of the technology. If companies are not willing to do that, they won't be successful whether they purchase the technology or don't.