The Eye of Providence (or the all-seeing eye of God) is the symbol of an eye surrounded by rays of light inside a triangle. It represents the eye of God looking over humanity. Never seen it before? I think you have. A common depiction of it is on the United States one dollar bill.

In demand marketing, that Eye of Providence is the marketing automation platform. However, it isn’t the marketing automation platform for one organization; it’s the actual marketing automation vendors and their ability to aggregate data, actions and responses across all of their customer instances that have a tremendous amount of untapped (and semi-creepy) potential of insight. That really intrigues me.

That being said, I don’t get it. What am I missing? Why haven’t marketing automation vendors created insight from the wealth of data they have access to?  So, if you’re one of those (less than 100) product managers at a marketing automation vendor, can you write us and let us know if you’re on the case or broaden our thinking and let us know why not?

Insights from crowdsourcing in marketing automation

Marketing automation vendors could pull together usage data across all of their instances to provide companies benchmarks, insights and indexes to better understand how they compare to other like organizations.

  • Specific tactic performance benchmark. Currently, many vendors provide benchmarks on email open, click-throughs, form submission, and the like. Moreover, some vendors just don’t show averages and go down to the industry or size of company. This makes the benchmarks more meaningful, but at the end of the day it really doesn’t provide information that informs strategy. What would be incredibly helpful is looking at the use of the tactic. As an example, a newsletter, an unsolicited whitepaper, and a webinar follow-up, are “emails,” but are different use cases and the performance metrics for each are very different. The same is true for a “contact us” form, a form for a trial account, and one for a webinar signup: they are all forms, but have different uses
  • Product use. Provide insight on how other organizations are using marketing automation. For example, how many companies are using progressive profiling in their online registration forms? What percentage of emails include a field insert in the subject line or email body and does this increase or decrease lift and by how much? How many evergreen programs are in place and how many are focused on net new demand versus upsell and cross sell? Also, how many forms, emails, and programs are being created and used by peer companies (e.g. same size, average sale price, and industry).
  • Integrated martech. Give clarity not just on the vendors that have integrations with the marketing automaton platform, but the number of active companies using their solution. This would provide a way to validate vendor claims on how many organizations use them and also what type of organizations (e.g. size, industry, etc.) and would be incredibly valuable when selecting and building out an organization’s martech stack. Marketing automation vendors that parameterize their APIs get this information.
  • Persona index. Most B2B organizations have personas they use when working and talking about their customer and prospect base. Those that don’t do this should! What marketing automation vendors are in a position to do is provide additional context on key personas such as how many newsletters a CIO receives versus a CMO, how many forms each persona tends to submit, and at any one time how many organizations are marketing to each persona.

Email management  from crowdsourcing in marketing automation

I know, this is way more boring than the insights section, but something doesn’t need to be sexy in order to be valuable. Here are two ways that sharing response actions across all marketing automation installations could help increase email deliverability.

  • Aggregated hard-bouncebacks. Marketing automation vendors (and ESPs) to date only address the management of bounced email addresses on a client-by-client basis. So, even if an email address has hard-bounced five other times in the last week, it’s going to let you send email to that address knowing full well that it is going to bounce. What I propose is that marketing automation vendors (and again ESPs) should consolidate hard-email bounces across all client accounts. Understanding that there may be false positives, perhaps after the third hard bounce an email address could be automatically excluded from sends for a specified amount of time. This could be an offer that companies need to opt-in to in order to address privacy issues, though I’m hard pressed to think of why a company wouldn’t want to participate. In addition, perhaps this could be used in email validation for online registration forms too.
  • Known email. This could also be called email age and it’s the premise that a marketing automation vendor already knows if an email has been used before (and it doesn’t hard bounce) or not. I think this could be used in two ways. If the email address is new, it’s a proxy to know if the contact is new at the organization, which may warrant a different follow up or engagement strategy. If an email address is unknown, it increases the likelihood of if not being a fake address, which one could argue may warrant a different type or level of validation and/or data cleansing.

What did I miss? What are other ways where marketing automation vendors can act as the Eye of Providence? And if you’re on the product team of a marketing automation vendor, please drop us a line and share your thinking on where, how, or why you’re not perusing areas like this in your roadmap.


  1. Cynthia Gumbert

    Nice one- very true! What about some sort of “fatigue” index on contacts? If you’re an IT solution provider, you have the same 5,000+ CIO’s, 500,000+ IT Directors, (Managers, etc) in your database that everyone else has in theirs. The “Eye of Providence” could know if you’re trying to send an email to someone who’s just been hit with messages from 10 other vendors in the past 4 hours (from the same platform of course!). Obv for privacy that can’t be shared but some AI in the background could work to stagger sends, potentially.

  2. Jay Famico

    Hi Cynthia,

    Excellent addition! I love the idea of using AI to smooth out out peaks and valleys of the number of emails an individual contact receives. Your “fatigue” index idea also made a connection for me and reminded me about on of the features in Silverpop – hear me out on this. In the email deployment section of Silverpop there was a setting that one could select that throttled the email delivery time for each individual contact based upon when that contact was most likely to open the email. It was based upon past observed responses in one’s own system (not all of the vendors instances).

    I can see your “fatigue” concept and “Silverpops” concept (though extended across all of a vendor’s instances) working together – staggering email send times to reduce fatigue and optimizing the send day/time for each individual contacts so they line up with the days/times the contact is most likely to take action (based upon opens, clicks, and form submits).

Jay Famico

Jay Famico


Prior to co-founding Capstone Insights, Jay led SiriusDecisions’ Technology and Services practice, where he oversaw SiriusDecisions’marketing and sales technology and service coverage. He also launched and chaired the SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange (TechX). He is a widely regarded expert on marketing automation technologies, and how to rationalize an ever-growing martech stack into a competitive differentiator.

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