Revisited: An Organic Gardener’s Guide to Lead Nurturing

Lead Nurturing

Seven years is a long time in marketing. Let me take you back to September 2008. The iPhone was barely a year old, Lehman Brothers had gone to the wall the previous week, and in a small venue in London I was sharing a platform with Steve Woods (then CTO at Eloqua) and Will Schnabel of SilverPop . My presentation was entitled “An Organic Gardener’s Guide to Lead Nurturing“.

It was intended to be my take on things I’d learned from trying to design and implement lead nurturing campaigns at IBM. Interestingly, at that stage I hadn’t yet started to deploy Marketing Automation (the project with Unica wouldn’t start until a couple of months later) – so my experiences at that stage were only based on using traditional email technologies.

Much has changed in the world of B2B Marketing and Automation. Lead Nurturing is acknowledged as a fundamental part of the marketing mix, Marketing Automation has become a fundamental part of many companies’ infrastructure and the big guys have further legitimised the marketplace by swooping in an acquiring many of the MA players (IBM: Unica/Silverpop; Oracle: Eloqua; Salesforce: Pardot, etc).

Since then I have moved on from IBM, grown a little greyer and wider, and started my own business at Purple Salix. But over the last 2 months I’ve had at least 4 people recalling that presentation to me. It prompted me to go back and have a look at it again – after all it’s still available on Slideshare. I was curious (and anxious too) to see whether it still stood up to scrutiny.

It does! That’s both a relief and at the same time slightly sad. Many of the points discussed back then are the same discussion points I have with clients every day:

  • Our sales funnels are still leaking revenue
  • Poor Sales and Marketing alignment is still a huge inhibitor to progress
  • Planning your customer engagement is as important as executing it
  • Different content is required for different contacts at different stages along their buying process
  • Technology helps, but is not the solution on its own

So 7 years on, why has so little changed. I think the answer is actually quite straightforward. There’s a universal truth – indeed I even refer to it on one of the slides: effecting significant change is more about cultural aspects than about technology.

In marketing transformation it’s about a mindset of thinking from your clients’ perspective; it’s about investment in new skills, and it’s about delivering sustained engagement programmes to bring the whole team along with you on the journey.

None of that can be turned on overnight by flipping a switch. In truth it’s a journey that only stops when you have everything working perfectly – that’s probably going to keep us all busy for at least another 7 years.

Driving change within your marketing team is tough, but hugely fulfilling. If you think I might be able to help you in your own organisation, please get in touch for a chat. You can reach me at or over at my Purple Salix website. There you will find several other resources including my weekly online newspaper intended for B2B Marketers like yourself – The Purple Patch

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