Dueling Search Marketing Releases
It is a red letter day for Google Adwords with both Salesforce.com and NetSuite announcing the release of a leads tracking and management solution for search engine marketing. The releases mark new territory for both small and medium business vendors, showcasing the growing importance of paid search as an essential channel for all marketers.
Robert Bois, research director at AMR Research, sees these two releases as coming out of a convergence of two increasingly prevalent trends for SMBs. Many are doing a lot more lead generation and marketing campaigns through Adwords. The second current Bois sees these releases addressing is the desire for better metrics. "These companies inherently believe that there is a good return on investment, but until today haven't been able to prove this statistically," Bois says. Analytics to prove ROI "is really bubbling to the top of the list of importance." With live results tracking and ROI measurement capabilities in both the NetSuite and Salesforce.com releases, the services pick up and solve both of these marketing concerns.
"It's a little strange they're both happening on the same day," Bois says, but with the amount of development required for both solutions, it is likely more of a coincidence than not. NetSuite developed its own organic solution that fits seamlessly into the existing on-demand offering. NetSuite's Keyword Marketing allows companies to track keywords from the moment they're clicked all the way through the final sale. Salesforce.com for Google Adwords enables the same closed loop visibility.
The primary difference between the two offerings is that NetSuite's allows keywords to be tracked through other servers outside of Google, while Salesforce.com's enables companies to buy keywords and create ads within the program. Additionally, while NetSuite built this functionality, Salesforce.com purchased it through its acquisition of Kieden Corporation. A final differentiator is that the NetSuite service will be offered to all existing customers free of charge, while Salesforce.com for Google Adwords will be free to existing customers for a one month trial, after which the price will be set at $300 per month.
With both of these big names embracing paid search functionality today, it is clear that search engine marketing stands as a hot topic for marketers now and in the future. Jay O'Connor, vice president of worldwide marketing for NetSuite, cites paid search as the "fastest growing marketing segment by far," explaining its value as a "great vehicle, because it's targeting people who already want to buy."
Bois predicts that other CRM vendors with on-demand offerings will be looking to introduce this functionality as well. "It's not a game changer for prospects of either company, but it is an attractor for existing customers. Because they deliver software as a service they are always looking to provide more stickiness to keep their customers coming back."
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