I had a call with venture capitalist friend yesterday to talk about Eloqua, Loopfuse, and other demand-generation software. Not being nearly as shortsighted as I am, he didn't want to talk about how open-source companies could benefit from such software, but instead wanted to talk about how non-tech companies could.
It's not the first time I've been struck by my own ignorance, but I really wasn't expecting to have to wallow in it yesterday. :-)
I was then surprised to see a similar perspective in this interview with the founders of Loopfuse:
From a business perspective, their original idea was to market primarily OSS [open-source software] to OSS. But the LoopFuse feature set is not just for open source companies. Any B2B [Business-to-business] or B2C [Business-to-consumer] relationship that needs expertise leveraging and up selling a community could take advantage. They think real estate agents would make such a group. For OSS suppliers however, because of their background, Tom and Roy can help figure out the process of monetizing community.
I'm a big believer that open-source businesses are online businesses, and must market and track themselves accordingly. The same is true of any software business.
But the opportunity is clearly much broader than this. Marketing and sales organizations of all kinds need the ability to generate leads from their websites and then nurture those leads, with full CRM (Customer Relationship Management) integration. It's inefficient to do anything less.
I've talked with others who think this is a narrow opportunity. They could not possibly be more wrong. If anything, the opportunity is too big as the world moves online and business goes with it.
From Omniture to Amazon.com, the future clearly belongs to the web, no matter whether a company sells sprinkler pipe or digital downloads. Demand generation is an integral part of maximizing the benefit of this shift.
Note: I am an advisor to Loopfuse.