The term “marketing automation” has been used extensively and possibly incorrectly in the industry. Many definitions exist and many vendors claim they offer marketing automation. As a result, no one vendor offers the same marketing automation solution. We’ll clarify some of the confusion for you and help you answer the question, what is marketing automation?
What is marketing automation according to analyst Mac McIntosh?
“The use of technology to generate, nurture, score and qualify leads, and drive sales, using customized, multi-touch marketing communications tailored for each contact’s profile, level of interest, behavior or place in the buying process.” – Mac McIntosh”, sales-lead-insights.com
Marketing automation has been referenced as the “second coming of email marketing”. The truth is, it might be to email marketing companies; but it’s not, and it’s much more than that. In layman’s terms, what is marketing automation? Marketing automation is a broad description or category name for a set of features and/or technology which help reduce repetitive, high value tasks associated with marketing processes. Repetitive tasks are usually manual and include things such as marketing segmentation (database segmentation), campaign management, database cleansing, and lead nurturing. Marketing segmentation is the process of dividing a contact database into individual marketing segments commensurate with a marketing campaign. For example, dividing a database into companies in the financial industry interested in security solutions. Campaign management is the process of setting up, automating, and measuring campaigns. Setting up a landing page with a web form in conjunction with an email marketing effort is an example of a campaign that’s managed with marketing automation. Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships and automating prospect/customer engagement in a personalized way through a combination of email, web sites, micro sites, and direct mail. The variance in vendor’s marketing automation solutions is attributed to the multitude of features. As suggested above, basic components such as email marketing could be construed as marketing automation. Analyze marketing automation features and benefits carefully when deciding on a vendor’s solution.
What is marketing automation without a way to measure results?
“Without a measurement and analytics component, all “automated” technology is of little more value than a car without a steering wheel. Thus, in order for any customer engagement component to be valuable, it must return actionable data that can be analyzed and benchmarked over time to consistently improve performance…” – Ian Michiels
Marketing automation value is enhanced with lead tracking. Lead tracking “listens” to online visitor behavior to identify prospect’s relative interest to purchase. Tracking creates a digital fingerprint of your prospect’s activity. When combining analytics with marketing automation the solution becomes a powerful tool to help businesses make continuous improvement in their revenue generation cycle.
Surprisingly, a recent study conducted by Aberdeen Group showed that 67 percent of the 130 respondents indicated they relied on multiple separate silos or niche solutions for automating marketing activities vs. leveraging a single integrated platform. When researching what is marketing automation look for a holistic solution; basically, a platform not a product. Lead Liaison considers marketing automation to be one leg of a multi-leg stool that encompasses lead generation, sales prospecting, and automatic lead qualification (lead scoring). Together, these constituents form our revenue generation software platform. To learn more about how you can leverage Lead Liaison’s revenue generation software and/or further discuss what is marketing automation contact us.
To continue education of what is marketing automation reference our three part series on the need for marketing automation, benefits of marketing automation, and lessons learned from marketing automation.
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