According to recent research, the number of new marketing applications doubled since last year. Here are 10 standouts from the approximately 2,000 new offerings in 2015:

1. Autopilot creates marketing workflows through a drag and drop interface that primarily uses pictures. The fresh perspective that MailChimp gave email marketers 10 years ago, AutoPilot is now creating for marketers frustrated with the text-heavy interfaces of big name marketing automation solutions today. If you struggle with designing and tweaking intelligent marketing automation workflows, you'll want to check Autopilot out. 

2. Beckon, founded in 2011, launched Marketing Scorecards in 2015. It solves a big problem for enterprise CMOs: automating data collection and simplifying reporting. The scorecard functionality got kudos as a Gartner Cool Vendor for CRM this year.  "We're now working daily with CMOs and senior marketing executives from the world's best-loved brands," says Jennifer Zeszut, Beckon's CEO and founder.

3. Bizible. You know that not-so-funny joke about knowing you're wasting half your marketing budget, you just don't know which half? Bizible is trying to make sure you do. Figuring out which campaigns and channels perform is no simple trick, says co-founder Andy Turman. For the B2B marketer, longer sales cycles and lots of offline discussions, such as with sales development representatives, create a maze between marketing and clear sales attribution when a lead materializes. Bizible unwinds that one API at a time to create increasingly visible channel performance for B2B.

4. BrightFunnel, also pursuing the dream of a crystal clear marketing pipeline, just closed a $6 million Series A with Salesforce and CrossLink. Founder Nadim Hossain says, "A lot more of the buying cycle happens through interactions with various marketing campaigns--many of which are automated--versus humans. In other words, marketing is eating sales. So as marketers, we have to shoulder a much greater burden than our predecessors for generating revenue." He says that burden is growing, too. Recent BrightFunnel research shows that the revenue cycle in B2B is getting longer, and the number of touches needed to close a sale is growing. (Or are we just tracking a heck of a lot better?)

5. CadenceSalesLoft's new scheduling platform helps you move prospects through your pipeline faster by automating the scheduling of your sales team. It promises to increase the number of demos you book by 300 percent and has clients like Twilio, Oracle, and IBM. 

"For so long, businesses only focused on the professionalization of the sales process after finding a qualified opportunity. Now, we're seeing this hyper focus on people, process, and technology aimed at the pre-opportunity stage of sales, or sales development. It's the biggest innovation to happen to the sales process in the last decade," says Kyle Porter, CEO and co-founder.

6. Founded by ex-Oracle executives, Engage.cx launched at the National Retail Federation. It helps specialty retailers spot and connect with customers on the customers' terms. Their software isn't about driving marketing messages and tracking qualified responses. Engage.cx takes the stance that your customer wants to buy, so how do you help him or her interact?  Rock/Creek, Schiffman's Jewelers, and other multi-channel retailers are buying into the promise of an omni-channel platform for customer connection with full channel attribution. "If you are on our platform, you instantly know your customer and can engage their history, no matter if they reach out to you by social, phone, walk in, or interact online," says David Trice, CEO and co-founder.

7. Backed by the largest single fundraising round ever raised by a marketing tech company so far--$65 million--EverString launched Predictive Ad Targeting this year. EverString's artificial intelligence layer sources 20,000 signals to model, source, and serve ads to "your perfect customer." Its customers include Comcast and IBM.

8. Infer is a predictive lead scoring solution that says it will double your deal size. The most delicious part of Infer is also the most disruptive--and possibly the most disturbing. It goes far beyond typical on-page customer profiles to compose profiles from all available signals. Yes, all.  It backgrounds your prospects based on things like their job postings, the number of folks employed where they work, their social activity, and brands they're engaging with, say on Facebook or Instagram. With this nuanced view, Infer routes prospects to the right sales development people when they show buying signals.

9. If you prefer your automated relationship-building a little less on the aggressive side, MailChimp Automation may be more your speed. You can develop email workflows, such as a welcome series or a win-back series of messages, on the fly. Branch the flow based on interactions. React to inputs from your e-commerce stack. It's just as simple as it sounds--which is to say, it's elegantly done. I've used it for a few months now, and I love it.

10. Terminus solves another simple sales problem in a simple way. How do you get your message in front of a whole account, not just your contact? With Terminus, you select your prospect list in Salesforce and specify advertising, such as social, video, mobile, or display. Terminus directs your custom advertising to the account--not just to the contact.

The best is yet to come

Neeraj Agrawal, general partner at Battery Ventures, is one of the biggest investors in marketing technology in the world. Battery has put $21 billion to work in companies such as Exact Target and Marketo.

Neeraj says, "I think we're still in the early innings, maybe the fourth inning, of this grand transformation of marketing."

I hope this list, a tiny taste of the nearly 2,000 marketing technologies that launched this year, has inspired you to search for the solutions you want. Chances are, they're out there--or they're about to be.

DISCLOSURE: Engage.cx is a client of my Atlanta public relations firm, Write2Market.

Published on: Dec 15, 2015