Let’s standardize marketing 2.0 terminology

Last week I read a great post by Jep Castelein from LeadSloth called “Why Are Marketing Automation Managers So Hard to Find?“. That article made me think about the different terms in the industry we are using to describe what we are doing. Some call it Demand generation, other will say marketing automation and other lead management or lead nurturing. All these terms can means different things depending on who you are talking to. In addition, if you add terminology that is related, like inbound marketing, it become even harder for new people to get familiarized with the space.

Why is there so many terms describing pretty much the same thing you may ask? Well I would say that it is most likely related to the fact that in new born industry, every vendor is an evangelist. They all want to spread the good news, but they all want to have an edge on other evangelist and they all create and brand their “own” terms to explain their specialization. For example, Brian Carroll, literally invented the terme Lead Nurturing, Eloqua strongly branded Demand Generation for the past 10 years and Marketo is talking about sales & marketing alignment in the revenue cycle.

New incomers  are now asking themselves questions like:

  • What is it that I need to do? Demand Generation? Lead Nurturing? Inbound Marketing? Sales and Marketing alignment?
  • Is inbound marketing part of Demand generation or vice-versa?
  • Is lead nurturing part of lead management or demand generation?
  • Is lead scoring part of my demand generation or lead nurturing programs, or both?

I think that now the space is becoming bigger, there are more people that is looking at us and we even see consulting groups focusing on that space, we should take the time to precisely define terminology. The more precise and uniform we get, the better the adoption will be by companies. They will find more easily information on the topic if we use the same terminology.

Here are my takes:

  • Lead Management is the global term we should use to describe what a marketer need to do to align sales & marketing, to nurture is leads and to generate demand about is product.
  • Marketing Automation is the set of tools you use in order to make your lead management process to work.
  • Lead Nurturing or Demand Generation are specific program that you run in your lead management process with the help of marketing automation tools.
  • Lead Scoring is the set of rule you use in your marketing automation tool to rank the lead you generate from your programs.
  • Inbound Marketing is a marketing strategy that helps your business get found on the Internet by your best customers through blogging, social media, SEO. (As found on Hubspot…)

To recap in one sentence:

In order to have a successful Lead Management process, you need a good Marketing Automation tool that allow you to Nurture and Score the Leads Generated from your Inbound Marketing strategy.  ;-)

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Monday, October 19th, 2009 Inbound Marketing, Lead Management, Marketing