Making Sense of the Marketing Automation Conversation

While many marketers may have heard about it and know plenty of other cohorts in the marketing realm infatuated with it, a large number of marketing representatives still don’t know what marketing automation is all about. At its core – and at its best – marketing automation encompasses tactics and software that enable companies to buy and sell just like Amazon – that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert them into buying customers and turn customers into delighted consumers. This type of marketing automation usually generates significant new revenue for companies while providing a powerful return on the investment required.

But, do not assume marketing automation is the easiest initiative to execute…it is certainly not impossible, either. An effective analogy about the marketing automation phenomenon is best represented by growing a plant: First, fertile soil that’s ripe for the growth of a plant is required, and then the seeds themselves need to be cared for before requiring water and light so the seeds can be nurtured into a lush, blooming plant. At the end of the day, marketers hope they’ve nurtured the leads – the seedlings – well enough to yield actual paying customers (or a lush, full-grown plant).

Still, the term – marketing automation – has become something of a buzz word. Marketers seek out marketing automation software under the impression all of the digital marketing tools necessary for growth – including those required to generate new leads – are found under the proverbial hood of marketing automation. This misconception leaves many marketers with sophisticated tools to automate the middle of their funnel, but with no solution to generate new leads to nurture in the first place.

The consequence, say marketing professionals, is marketing types begin buying lists of email addresses to nurture instead of generating inbound leads. While this appears to be a quick fix solution, it’s not a long-term solution…nor does it create the fertile ground for a healthier, more stable relationship with future customers. In summary, the keys to successful marketing automation boil down to two principles that should scale and evolve with customer acquisitions:

  1. Recognizing that marketing automation does not actually perform marketing and lead generation for the user, but rather helps scale successful efforts.
  2. Centering marketing messages around the real, live individual at the receiving end of marketing campaigns.

When considering a marketing automation provider, it’s important to choose the software and company that best suits your business and unique goals.