Autotask Veteran Bob Vogel Launches B2 Marketing

Bob Vogel, most recently executive director of demand generation at Autotask, has left the company to launch B2 Marketing, which offers "specialized marketing products and strategic marketing consulting, exclusively for MSPs, VARs, IT Solution Providers, Systems Integrators and IT consultants." Vogel's departure is the latest change at Autotask since the company hired CEO Mark Cattini in December 2010. Here's the update.

Vogel was chief marketing officer at Autotask until late 2010 or so, helping the company march toward roughly $20 million in annual revenues, a figure published in an Albany newspaper in 2010. Vogel then transitioned to the executive director position (with PR responsibilities) around January 2011 amid multiple leadership changes at Autotask.

An Autotask representative confirmed Vogel's departure, stating that Director of Product Marketing Bruce McEwing is the PR contact during this transition period and Scott Opiela remains VP of marketing. Opiela took over Vogel's marketing responsibilities in January 2011, I believe. I've sent Vogel a request for comment but I've yet to hear back. Updated, 12:32 a.m. ET, July 1: Vogel's perspectives are recapped below in the comment area.

Vogel's Evolving Role

In some ways Vogel's departure is surprising. In other ways it isn't. Vogel's business relationship with former CEO Bob Godgart predates Autotask. When Godgart began to transition out of the company in December 2010, some folks wondered if Vogel would step away, too. Plus, Vogel was commuting from his home in Philadelphia, Pa., to Autotask's headquarters in Albany, N.Y. -- a four-hour drive.

Vogel, who was a journalist early in his career, briefly stepped into the PR role for Autotask. He managed media relations for the successful Autotask Community Live event in May 2011, helping to ensure the conference expanded its reach to more bloggers and channel journalists.

Changing Leadership

Vogel's departure is the latest in a string of executive and management updates at Autotask:
The current executive team is striving to accelerate growth. I believe CEO Cattini wants the best of both worlds: Maintaining Autotask’s automation focus on VARs and MSPs while positioning Autotask as the channel-equivalent to Salesforce.com and NetSuite.

Still, competition in Autotask's core market -- PSA (professional services automation) software -- remains fierce. Rival ConnectWise remains in  growth mode and is set to host IT Nation -- the MSP industry's largest conference -- in November 2011. And Tigerpaw Software has been growing its installed base while preparing for a second-annual user conference in October 2011.

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