What in the World Is Marketing Automation?

With a huge, booming market and continued growth, the demand in companies for marketing automation tools is greater than ever. Back in 2014, for example, there were nearly 11 times more B2B organizations using them than in 2011. That trend has only strengthened.

As more and more start their buyer's journey, service providers like Dingle continue to encounter new prospects with the same fundamental and very important question: What is marketing automation and what can it mean for us? I’m going to try to define the term and explore the phenomenon, focusing on what it is, who it’s for and why you should care. 

Ready? Let’s go.


Intelligent Email Marketing?

Marketing automation as a term describes a technology or software (like crm or erp) which allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster

It automates marketing actions, but is there more to it? For me marketing automation technology represents the modern marketer’s new clothes, a working environment and philosophy of customer engagement which, together with crm, enables both today’s digitized marketing function as well as its highest and most alluring objective: a relevant, personalized customer experience. 

A Modern Customer Experience Is Impossible Without It

Many mistakenly think that a more intelligent way to send emails is how automation delivers value. That’s missing the point and, for sake of an example, totally migitates the importance of the internet in the buyer’s journey.

Successful companies need automation technology to deliver a modern, personalized and relevant customer experience on a volume scale.  Indeed, HubSpot, the world’s leading marketing automation platform, defines their platform as software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon. For most of us that's an unrealistic benchmark, but a worthy goal nevertheless.

The inbound methodology, as developed by HubSpot, helps to paint a more comprehensive picture of what modern marketing should be able to do: nurture individuals with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into evangelists. Then manage that very personal relationship on a volume scale.

 

HubSpot Inbound Methodology

 

Courtesy of HubSpot 2015

The Most Common Features of Marketing Automation Platforms

This is where it gets a little tricky. Comparing platforms and features can be confusing – some vendors prefer to pack as much under one hood as possible, while others (especially enterprise-focused solutions) limit the scope of features to the bare necessities, but dive really deep. 

Summing up some features that automation industry leaders like to communicate, typically you can expect to see:

  • Advanced email marketing
  • Landing pages
  • Forms and calls-to-action
  • Campaign management
  • Engagement marketing
  • Prediction and scoring / prospect activity tracking
  • Customer lifecycle management• CRM integrations or actual crm capability
  • Social marketing capabilities
  • Website cms
  • Mobile marketing capabilities
  • Closed loop reporting
  • Marketing and sales funnel analytics


It's Competitive Necessity 

If you're taking those first steps towards a partially or totally automated marketing and sales future, I hope this blog has helped to answer the primordial question: What is it?

Yes, it's the software for automating marketing actions.

But even more so it's an exciting environment enabling a new, more efficient and relevant approach to managing the modern marketing and sales funnel, ultimately your customer's experience.

Will you need it? Regardless of industry, I dare say it's inevitable. If your clients have access to the internet, it will be business as usual. Some companies will make it a source of real advantage, but for each and every one it will be a basis of competitive necessity. So get on board!


Set up a free audit of your e-environment to establish whether acquiring marketing automation is the right move for your company. Contact us today.