This is the time of year to give thanks for the people and organizations that make a difference in our lives. This week, as I look back on 2010 and plan for a busy new year, I wanted to take time to share what I'm grateful for in my professional life. Hope you enjoy and have a peaceful break.
1. Sirius Decisions
The Gartner expats don't get enough credit for inventing the language, the models and the modern B2B marketing approaches that nearly every sophisticated marketer uses. Their lead definitions, developed eight years ago, waterfall model of lead development, and benchmarks for B2B marketers form the foundation of our industry today. I only wish they were better marketers of their own game-changing work.
2. David Raab
David has emerged over the years to become the pre-eminent analyst of marketing automation solutions. His deep understanding of the industry, both historical and operational, coupled with a keenly analytical mind, makes his insights indispensable and his prognostications eminently credible. When something happens in B2B marketing, his opinion is always one I look for.
3. Brian Carroll
The guy who literally wrote the book on the demand generation industry. He's constantly quoted by respected speakers and firms even today, and he's a heck of a nice guy to boot.
4. Jill Konrath
No secret that Brian and Jill Konrath are in the midwest. They're two of the most generous, open, down-to-earth people I've met. And Jill is one of the best teachers of sales and marketing alignment I know, approaching it from a sales perspective. She's also a champion of women in business.
5. Joe Chernov
I don't know Joe all that well, but he's revolutionized how Eloqua has taken it's complex marketing message to the masses. Through a partnership with uber-creative firm Jess3, he's turned somewhat dry B2B content into something resembling pop culture.
6. Marketo, for constantly pushing their number one competitor, Eloqua to raise their game. The result is powerful, easy-to-use, affordable marketing automation software for everyone. Also, all of the SMB marketing technologies that provide great service and preach the gospel as well: Pardot, Silverpop, ActiveConversion, Act-On, eTrigue, Manticore, and even the kooky guys at Loopfuse.
7. The marketing automation punditocracy: Funnelholic, Left Brain Marketing, Green Leads, Annuitas Group and Finding New Customers (as well as the talented Ardath Albee, who reminds us all that it's great content that drives great marketing). Their amplification of the lead management ideas is contributing to a massive spreading of the how-tos of efficient marketing.
8. Seth Godin. I realized that I've read his blog this year more frequently than I've read the NY Times, San Francisco Chronicle or BusinessWeek. And I've gleaned more insight from it for my work than those other sources combined.
9. Jellyvision. The greatest B2B lead generation content creators that nobody's ever heard of.
10. The 93% of marketers out there who haven't caught the demand generation virus yet. The profession of marketing is changing now, a change that will lead to greater impact, respect and discipline within all our companies. Years from now, major colleges and universities will offer training and certification in demand creation techniques and funnel management. And we were there at the beginning.