Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua: New data shows marketing automation market share in unprecedented detail

A very interesting article published on Venturebeat. A report was published by Datanyze on their website - here.

Nothing wrong with the analysis or the data, except the title that Venturebeat uses. 'New data shows marketing automation market share in unprecedented detail.' The title is very misleading. Perhaps designed to have people take a look, get attention. 

On the other hand, publishers of the data seem to be more on the mark. For example, it clearly says 'Marketing Automation market share in the Alexa top 1M'.

Market share by itself is misleading. As a small business and consultant, Alexa ranking has very little meaning. For B2B Healthcare IT companies, majority of whom are considered small businesses, this ranking is meaningless. 

The report says nothing about the type and size of industry which is what I would like to see.


Mass Marketing - 'All the same'

Seth Godin has highlighted a very important issue I try to explain when I consult with Healthcare IT marketing folks about Marketing Automation. See his blog - click here.

At a recent Healthcare IT Marketing and PR conference in Las Vegas, I spoke about Marketing Automation. Before I got on stage, many people asked me about the conflict between automation and personalized marketing.

The common mis-conception surrounding Marketing automation (with B2B sales) has been that this technology removes the human element and lumps all potential clients as 'all the same'.

Marketing Automation is not Mass Marketing

First, marketing automation is a label given to a 'tool', not a process. The tool helps define a process you establish. If I use the tool to club everyone as 'all the same', then it becomes a mass marketing system. On the other hand if I use this tool to really understand and segment every potential client by trying to understand their specific needs, behavior, and other characteristics, that is totally different. 

I fully appreciate that you cannot rely on a tool to do everything so that you can go and play golf and expect the system to bring in sales. Marketing automation ideally works with you as an 'assistant' that does mundane tasks for you, reminds you at the appropriate time and alerts you where necessary.

More importantly, it helps you think about your successful processes and refine them. It helps you evaluate what works and what does not. It helps align sales and marketing departments with their mutual goals.

Search Vs. Discovery - Seth Godin

A very thought provoking blog today from Seth Godin - Search vs. Discovery

Discovery, on the other hand, is what happens when the universe (or an organization, or a friend) helps you encounter something you didn’t even know you were looking for. (I had originally typed find but then replaced it with encounter. Search is such a dominant paradigm that we use search-related words even when we don’t intend to.)

Amazon and Google have done an incredible job of providing the answer to search. It’s not obvious, though, that we’ve made nearly as much progress in helping people discover ideas, hidden gems, friends, opportunities, places, important issues or the truth (about anything).

Are you working to help your clients, patrons, customers and colleagues find what they already know what they want? Or teaching and encouraging them to find something they didn’t know they needed?

Seems like a huge opportunity.
— Seth Godin

This sort of thinking is what will allow companies to think outside the box and fine more opportunities.

Lead Nurturing is more than Just Email marketing

Companies who nurture leads generate a better ROI. In fact, research shows that 20% more opportunities are created by companies that nurture their leads, vs. companies that don't. Every organization should have an active lead nurturing program, but if you are only communicating via email, you’re missing a big opportunity.

Here are some Facts:

  • Only 25% of leads are considered Sales Ready.
  • 50% of leads are qualified and handed over to sales, but are not ready to buy.
  • Lead Nurturing or drip marketing programs get anywhere from 4-10 times the response rate of unstructured standalone email blasts
  • Up to 50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

So, What is Lead Nurturing?

Lead Nurturing is a system that allows you to send an automated series of emails, also known as Drip Marketing, to early stage leads to pre-qualify them.

The first step in setting up a lead nurturing program is to understand your buyer persona and buyer profiles, their timing and needs.

If your average sale cycle is 3 months then make sure you are spreading out your communications to keep them engaged throughout the entire cycle. This approach educates and qualifies the lead over time. It can shorten the sales cycle.

Top of Mind

By staying on top of mind you build thought leadership. People engage with and buy from people and businesses they know and trust. The first interaction via website or email is just an introduction. There is very little likelihood that they really know who you are and why they should do business with you. 

Lead Nurturing is an opportunity to show that you are an expert in your field.

Consistent Communication

Lead Nurturing allows you to maintain consistent communication with leads, which is a key influence in choosing a solution provider. 

Behavior Analysis

Tracking and analyzing Lead nurturing emails allows you to learn about your leads - their aspirations, their afflictions and challenges. The more you know about them, the better you will be able to educate and nurture them.

Precise Targeting with Marketing Automation Tools

As mentioned above analyzing leads allows you to offer more precise targeting. Targeted and segmented emails perform even better. Lead Nurturing campaigns tied to various branches of drip campaigns segmented by behavior can be fully automated using good Marketing Automation software tools.

Top 3 Reasons EMR / EHR Sales Needs Marketing Automation

Buying Process and Buyer’s expectations

A typical buyer goes through three sages.

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision

Each of these main stages has three further steps

70% of the buying process is now complete by the time a prospect is ready to engage with sales.

The Marketing and Sales disconnect

Marketing tends to work with specific activities designed to generate leads. Once leads are generated Sales take over. The only time both departments interact is to periodically exchange feedback about market conditions when sales are down. Marketing wants to know what is not working, why prospects are not buying and if the ‘marketing pitch’ needs to be tweaked.

The Result?

  • Not enough Leads, inconsistent pipeline, no definite lead profiling based on buyer persona
  • Poor Lead Quality because of virtually non-existent lead nurturing, bad and ‘not ready’ leads routed to sales, and even when leads are routed, it is a manual process.
  • Low Lead Conversion because sales has no insight into lead quality, wasted time and very long inconsistent sales cycles.
  • Poor quality of Reporting and metrics resulting in lack of accountability.

Ultimately, missed sales targets.

1.       Missing out on Leads

  • 79% of marketing leads are not pursued. (need lead profiles and lead assignment rules)

2.       Engage with Hot Prospects Quickly

  • 78% of sales goes to the vendor that responds first. (need rules, scoring and grading)

3.        Be Top of Mind for your Prospects

  • Nurtured leads deliver 47% higher than average order values than non-nurtured leads.
  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Need Automatic Lead Nurturing)

Marketing Automation Benefits

  • Better Quality Leads
  • Increased Pipeline
  • Improved Close Rates
  • Complete Insight of the process and clients – leads to better quality leads…

How to Stand out in a Crowded Me-Too EMR and EHR Market?

American spirit and Innovation never ceases to amaze me. I just receive a call from an entrepreneur. The claim - 'a better EMR that can solve today's problems.'

I spent about an hour talking to the founders, probing, prodding, searching for that elusive single breakthrough that could classify as revolutionary.

Instead, what I found was compromise.

Right now, a better mousetrap is not enough. I've been talking with so many experts that are trying hard to find an answer. There has even been some chatter about using Scribes.

The biggest challenge is at the point of care where real interaction happens between the provider and patient. This comment summarises the sentiment:

We do not have enough time to pay attention, listen carefully when face to face with our patients. I believe we ought to fix that

Various technologies - templates, voice recognition, handwriting recognition - nothing measures up. Nothing allows complete undivided attention, an undivided eye-eye contact between provider and patient. Unless providers continue doing what they always did - scribble on paper, dictate their finding in a microphone. Hire someone to enter all the data and transcribe into an EMR. Now we are talking about the costs and affordability.

In all other industries, we have been able to reduce overheads with technology. Scribes, transcribers and other help increase overheads. Isn't something fundamentally wrong here?

Want more Leads? Tell me what leads you Don't Want

People think I'm crazy when I ask them to tell me the type of leads they don't want first.

It is not enough to talk about who you want to pursue. You cannot be everything to everyone. Even if your EMR system can cater to all kinds of clinics and providers, for the purpose of marketing and generating leads, you must ask yourself - who is your ideal client? 

For that, you need to focus on your existing clients of your EMR system and find out why they bought from you and why they continue to be with you. This should give you a clue. Focus on that profile of the clientele first.

Conversely, start eliminating those prospects where you don't want to waste your marketing dollars.

A focused marketing approach generates higher quality leads that have a better closing ratio.

Reaching for the Healthcare Stars

A thought provoking article by Lucien Engelen - Director Radboud Reshape Center at Radboud University Medical Center. Read Here.

A Moonshot - Reaching the Stars, an ambition, a vision, a dream.

Nothing short of that will be needed to revolutionize and change the healthcare delivery system in the US. We need to preserve our place in healthcare leadership, but costs are killing us. 

 'Innovation, giving hope, pride and challenged thinking in possibilities instead of problems.'

Missions get accomplished only if ideas and ambitions are sparked. Ideas and sparks can be positive or negative. Let's use the current momentum of Obamacare as an impetus for change - irrespective of whether one likes what is going on or not in its current state of affairs, one thing is clear.

We need Change, we need a Moonshot.

You know Healthcare IT is Lagging when...

Is Healthcare IT Lagging? That's a rhetorical question. If you disagree, consider this:

  1. Doctor's office has no automated way of knowing what is the patient's deductible when the insurance card is scanned.
  2. Doctor does not now if a pre-authorization is required for a procedure.
  3. Specialist does not know if a referral is required based on the patient's insurance.No automated way of knowing patient responsibility including copay, co-insurance, deductible - and adding everything up.
  4. In very limited instances can my doctor see my past medications prescribed from other doctors - even if, not more than 6 months.
  5. Specialist cannot see notes from primary care provider that referred me, and vice-versa, even if I have agreed to permissions.
  6. Doctors cannot see my test results if someone else ordered them - again, even with my consent.
  7. When I go to visit a doctor, no one knows what will I be responsible for paying for the visit and all tests/procedures she may do, until I get a complicated EOB (Explanation of Benefits) that explains nothing.

Now consider this:

  1. I can be in any part of the country - I run out of cash, I can go to any ATM and get cash, even if I bank at a small unknown bank in a rural area.
  2. I have an 18 year old kid that has a credit card tied to mine. I am able to put 'rules and controls'. He goes to a store to buy something, and before he walks out to the parking lot where I'm waiting, I get a text messaging informing me about the transaction.
  3. I can go to my financial institution's app on my phone to see anything I want and actually do transactions.
  4. I can now even snap an image of a check you gave me and deposit it into my account without going to the branch. (Do they still have branches?)
  5. If I'm out of town - 1000 miles away and use a credit card that was not used for buying the plane tickets, I will get a call from the institution asking if I did the transaction.

So you know where this is going.

Don't tell me about security and regulatory environment. The financial industry has stringent regulatory, and security controls as well as extremely tight privacy requirements that put HIPAA to shame.

It is a myth that HIPPA makes it difficult to fully digitize medical records. Banking/finance/credit cards have strict privacy controls and are still able to digitize their records and transactions.


Because of Geed. Two major stake holders - Insurance companies and Pharma industry have a tight grip on you and me. They have intentionally kept everything complicated and opaque. 

Two most important stakeholders in hour health - our Doctors and us - patients have literally no say in anything. Very Sad. When will this change?

Free is Never an Answer for EMR and EHR Software

Lowering your Price - or even making it free - is not the only way to increase market share or revenue.  Offering Free trial of EMR and EHR software also may not work. Here's why.

Free is something that we all like - it creates a buzz. The word spreads. It opens doors. It can give you 'leads' and the ability to capture information about Practices and Providers.

But when we buy something, we expect and usually get something that is generally not available for free.

What is that something?

The act of buying means an engagement responsibility is made. Expectations are completely different when any transaction happens. Whether you pay $100 per month or $700, expectations rise.

A level of service and support is expected. The interesting thing is, someone that is paying on the low end of the spectrum or high, have a minimum level of support anticipation. Therefore, the cost of fulfilling those expectations remains the same.

The answer is not to lower the price but extend the value impact. Communicate this value impact with a powerful mind changing story - through peer and third party validation.

While you are doing this externally, i.e. focused on your target market and clients, you need to create the same value impact within your organization to create the same level of influence within your organization. Any misalignment is a recipe for disaster.

Creating Content for EHR Companies

So many of my clients ask me about content. They know the importance of good content. But there are two problems. 

  1. They don't have in-house content writers.
  2. They don't have good topics of interest for their audiences.

Let me address the second issue first.

Generating ideas for content - blogs - articles does not have to be a nerve wrecking experience. You can get ideas from everywhere around you. Every person in the company can generate topic ideas. 

  • Sales - every lead, opportunity can generate ideas. When leads ask questions many of those them are topics of general interest and become great content topics. How is implementation done? How much training do we need? 
  • Support - many support questions are perhaps specific to your product, but there will be questions that are generic in nature related to workflow and optimal ways of doing things. Perfect blog ideas.
  • Product development staff - every new feature request that you encounter has a reason behind it. Features should solve problems, and when clients have problems, it becomes an opportunity for good content writing.

Everyone reads - magazines, news, and other blogs. I guarantee you many of these writing are thought provoking and can trigger further thinking or even tangential thinking. Again, this can lead to more blog and content opportunities.

Finally, even if you can't think of ideas, writing and commenting on some of the high profile blogs about insightful ideas also helps. Just don't flood them with sales stuff.

Now about content writing. 

Not everyone has writing skills required for the internet. Not to worry, help is right around the corner. Use sites like (full disclosure - I don't have any connection with them neither do they pay me). You can find great writers for a fraction of the cost. Many similar sites exist. 

Viral Marketing

There are many names for viral marketing. Buzz marketing or WOM - word-of-mouth marketing are other names. Its common metric is 'pass-along' rate. 

Viral marketing is about how other people tell other people about you or your creation. The fact is you don't have any control over what goes viral. There can be negative viral marketing also. Once it goes, you can't stop it - even if it is negative publicity.

There are just four factors for a message to go viral.

  1. It must have a unique WOW factor. Wow does not mean just 'that's nice', it means 'Holy s$@# did you see this?' OR/AND, it must be funny - so funny that you don't just LOL, you LMFAF, OR/AND, it evokes emotion - makes you cry or inspires you or motivates you to do something.
  2. Second, the message is NOT about you or your company. It is about your audience. As a matter of fact, you don't create a viral message, your audience does. You don't say 'let's create a viral message'. 
  3. Finally, define a clear outcome. Going Viral is NOT the outcome. The message must clearly say or evoke the outcome from your audience. Also, 'sales' is not a desired outcome. Connecting, or building credibility can be a desired outcome that can lead to sales.
  4. Finally, choosing an appropriate method or medium. This will depend on the goal and your audience. 

Therefore, going viral or creating viral messages is about engagement with your audience and building a trustworthy relationship.