What is marketing automation and why you should care

What is Marketing Automation and Why You Should Care

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation” blog series.

Marketing automation—if you haven’t heard of it, it’s time to get yourself educated (before you have to mumble into your shirt when you boss asks you about it). What is it? Well, it’s the love child born of the marriage of the Chief Marketing Officer and the Chief Technology Officer. They named their baby Chief Technology Marketing Officer, and gave him his own department. A marketing automation solution is his toy chest.

Get the white paper, 10 Reasons You Need Marketing Automation.

What is marketing automation? It’s not so much as standalone product, but more a set of tools to manage the so-called “big data” of your business—the waterfall of customer information inside and outside your company. Automation tools harness this data to create automated, personalized, measurable marketing programs that deliver the right offers to the right people at the right time. This makes your customers happy because you have brilliantly solved their problem before they knew they had them. It makes your boss happy too. It’s all good.

For at least a generation, companies have had access to far more customer information than they can use. Think about it. Why do you get offers for wireless carriers and cable companies that you already use? Because these companies have customer information stored all over the universe and can’t connect the dots between all the different sources.

The big data at the bottom of the marketing automation world is customer and business information. On top of this you have various layers of information management, and tools to drive sales. These might include:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)—this is where you organize your customer information, and into which you import externally generated information that you purchase or generate through other marketing activities. Think Salesforce.com.
  • Content Management System (CMS)—a way to create and organize your online content around your products and services and the keywords your customers use to find stuff you make. Think WordPress and Drupal..
  • Inbound Marketing—a program to capture the traffic coming to your site using landing pages with registration forms for white papers, webinars, case studies and other assets to generate leads. Think Hubspot, Infusionsoft or Marketo.
  • Outbound Marketing—direct email solutions, ad delivery platforms, social networking monitoring and response solutions and other tools to generate leads. Think Constant Contact or Mailchimp.
  • Customer Management—once a customer, you show them a different kind of love that lets them know you’re there for them for help and to anticipate what they’re likely to want and need next. Think Zendesk.
  • Analytics that dashboard all this stuff and let you view, virtually live, the awesome results your stack is delivering. Think Google Analytics.

Marketing automation pulls all of these elements together into a single platform. Sure, you can create a website on WordPress, use Constant Contact for email, manage leads in Salesforce and create landing pages with Hubspot, but it’s not very efficient and it will be very difficult to close the loop between marketing efforts and sales.

Consider this. People welcome tools that make their lives easier by automating routine tasks. Marketing is not about tricking people into buying something they don’t want, but about making it easier to get what they do want and need. Marketing automation enables this by combining customer information with automated tools to allow you, Mr. Marketer, too be the genius you are by delivering the right offer to the right person at the right time, increasing sales and keeping the funnel full.

To learn more about how marketing automation can help you, download “10 Reasons You Need Marketing Automation for Your Business.” If have any questions leave them as comments or shoot me an email.

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation” blog series.

Bill Peatman

About Bill Peatman

Bill is the Senior Writer and Content Developer here at Alaniz. He has more than 20 years of marketing experience and has worked for successful startups and well-known brands such as Cisco and Brown and Caldwell. Bill is a graduate of Stanford University, and has an MA from Santa Clara University.

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