I spent two days this week attending the first Pardot Marketing Automation conference. Their Inbound Marketing Automation platform is called Prospect Insight and the event was held in Atlanta, Georgia, Pardot’s home town.
Turns out that Toronto, too, is a hub for Inbound Marketing Automation and an unusually large number of attendees were people we knew, know of from around town, or have worked with already.
Pardot is growing fast: They have more than 300 clients already and they added 62 new accounts in the quarter just ended. Presentations at the conference ranged from theoretical marketing ideas on lead generation through to how a sales team can use Prospect Insight to improve their sales process. There were more than a 100 people in several of the sessions, and to see them all listening intently, taking notes and asking intelligent questions must have brought a smile to the face of Adam Blitzer, Pardot’s COO.
One of the features included in the Roadmap of new releases was welcome news – enhanced analytics reporting! While we chose Prospect Insight for its feature set and value for money early in 2009, and Forrester Research picked it as the lowest total cost of ownership of all Inbound Marketing Solutions a few months ago, its reporting was not its most powerful feature. The new release rectifies this by tying in to a rising star among analytical reporting tools, the product offered by GoodData. It’s coming soon and we’re itching to get our hands on it.
We shared a MARTA ride to the airport with Sam Boonin, GoodData’s VP of Marketing. As we rode the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority’s train, Sam was kind enough to tell us a little about the analytics reporting world. GoodData is a SaaS solution to the problem of analyzing the huge volume of data collected from various sources by today’s websites. GoodData is aimed at the SMB marketplace and their biggest competition today is from Excel spreadsheet users. Larger companies buy expensive enterprise reporting packages, and there are some small players with software tailored to specific industries such as Financial Services, but for the rest of us, we’re lucky if we use a product which produces a CSV file we can feed into a spreadsheet.
But as we all know, collecting the data is not the difficult part; extracting information from the deluge of data is. Marketing Automation gathers statistics about visitors, prospects, leads and opportunities; Sales Force Automation packages gather more about the same entities and add their own buckets-full of data points about the sales process, too. And GoodData filters, slices and dices all this into easily digested chunks.
Sam explained to us how GoodData uses the client’s own data from, for example, their Google Analytics, Salesforce (or other CRMs) or Prospect Insight. He smiled as he told us that many of his demos earn an Aha! so that’s why it didn’t work as people’s nagging doubts are suddenly answered by a graph. We signed up for a Beta test version because we believe this tool will often allow us to perform this same instant diagnosis for our clients and ourselves.
I came away from the conference knowing that a good product was about to get better soon, and that Pardot has a great team of people who are fun to work with, and who bring a high degree of professionalism to bear on Inbound Marketing Automation.
Keep on trucking, guys!
Bit-by-Bit # 35 from Eric.