What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.

IDC predicts that the overall market for automating marketing will grow from

$3.2 Billion in 2010
$4.8 Billion in 2015

Marketing automation

software is used in many modern marketing processes, for businesses of all types
—including B2B and B2C organizations.

Marketing automation helps marketers streamline their lead generation, segmentation, lead nurturing and lead scoring, customer lifecycle marketing, cross-sell and up-sell, customer retention, and marketing ROI measurement.

Some of these practices are possible at small volumes without software, but technology becomes essential with any scale and with the increasing number of channels marketers are required to manage. In particular, these processes all require:

A central marketing database. A place for all your marketing data, including detailed prospect and customer interactions and behaviors, so you can segment and target the right message to each customer. Think of this as “system of record” for all your marketing information.

An engagement marketing engine. An environment for the creation, management and automation of marketing processes and conversations across online and offline channels. Think of this as the "orchestra conductor" for your customer interactions.

An analytics engine. A way to test, measure, and optimize marketing ROI and impact on revenue. Think of this as the place you go to understand what worked, what didn’t, and where you can improve.

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What It Is Not

  • A fancy name for email marketing:

    Not even close. Like the term suggests, marketing automation encompasses marketing campaigns across all channels—from direct mail and phone campaigns to online, social and mobile initiatives. What’s more, it combines robust, insight-focused capabilities from your CRM, lead management system, web analytics platform, and other systems to create something that’s more than the sum of the parts.

  • A way to send spam:

    Like anything else, the technology delivers results based upon how you use it. Yes, it can be used for bad marketing, like spam. But it can also be used for exceptional marketing that truly connects with customers based on their preferences.

  • A solution that only benefits marketing:

    Yes, the marketing department benefits from marketing automation. But high-quality usage often improves marketing and sales alignment, which ultimately increases revenue.

  • A solution that delivers value without effort:

    If only you could just buy marketing automation technology, then sit back and watch the results produce themselves. But no. To deliver, it requires a comprehensive strategy that integrates the right processes, people, content, data, and more.

Who Uses Marketing Automation?

Large enterprises have long found value in the technology, but marketing automation isn’t just for big companies. In fact, Small and Mid-Sized Businesses (SMBs) make up the largest growing segment in the space right now. And thousands of companies even smaller than that are using automation as well. Similarly, companies across all industries are using it. The early adopters were primarily in “business-to-business” (B2B) industries such as high-tech / software, manufacturing, and business services. But increasingly companies across all categories–including “business-to-consumer” (B2C) industries such as healthcare, financial services, media and entertainment, and retail–are adopting the software for its real-time, engagement-oriented approach to maintaining and extending customer relationships throughout the customer lifecycle.

"A centralized, global platform like Marketo provides Citrix with a leveraged investment that dramatically reduces the time and resources spent with third parties to set up and execute marketing programs. The result has been lower costs and a substantially higher marketing ROI."
- Eva Tsai, Director of Marketing Operations, Citrix
"Marketo is the fuel that powers Aconex's marketing programs. In one recent thought leadership campaign, we achieved a 12-fold return on the original campaign investment. It gives our business unprecedented marketing agility."
- Céline Stenson, Marketing Program Manager, EMEA Aconex

What Are the Common Features And Functions?

Features include email marketing, landing pages and forms, campaign management, engagement marketing, prediction and scoring, customer lifecycle management, CRM integration, social marketing capabilities, mobile marketing capabilities and marketing analytics.

  • Email Marketing
  • Landing Pages
  • Campaign Management
  • Prediction/Scoring
  • Lead Management
  • CRM Integration
  • Social Marketing
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Marketing Automation

What Is The Value And ROI Of Marketing Automation?

Companies can expect three core benefits: more pipeline, more productive Sales reps, and higher revenue, as found in the Marketo Benchmark on Revenue Performance
(as of Sept 15, 2012 n=489).

In a benchmark study by eMarketer, research found that B2C marketers who are using automation- including everything from birthday emails to cart abandonment programs – have seen conversion rates as high as 50%.

Furthermore, according to Nuclear Research, 95% of companies reported some benefit from marketing automation. They found that companies can expect to achieve an increase in marketing staff productivity between 1.5 and 6.9% and increase sales productivity by an average of 4%.

Marketing automation brings value and ROI to your numerous marketing efforts. The right marketing automation platform, combined with smart organizational and process alignment, makes it possible to connect the dots between that promotional email you sent last month, that webinar you hosted last year, and the revenue your CEO sees this week or can expect to see next quarter.

How Can I Maximize My Success

While there are important differences between different vendors, success is often primarily determined by three things:

  1. Your strategy and process
  2. Your content and lifecycle
  3. Your people

By investing in these areas, you can achieve solid ROI from marketing automation. The key is to “think big, start small, and move quickly”. In other words, the best results usually come from getting started with what you have today, and then incrementally investing over time to move up the curve.

Next Steps:
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