Marketing has evolved and how! CRM, Inbound marketing, Digital marketing, Marketing Automation and the list grows.
Old wine in a new bottle?
Well, the core of marketing has always remained the same. I believe it was Eli Goldratt, the management guru, who had said that marketing is about getting the pigeons to fly in and perch themselves close by, so that sales could shoot them. So, Marketing will always be about getting the customers to know, like and trust you. The icing on the cake, is of course, when your customers turn ambassadors for your products and services.
Marketing automation is about IT tools or software that helps streamline and automate the key marketing activities to hand you a well-oiled and whirring marketing engine.
The marketing automation suite primarily includes:
- Email campaigns
- Lead scoring and nurturing
- Relationship marketing
- ROI measurement for marketing actions
- Digital advertising management
While many of these activities are already being carried out by many companies in a traditional way (manual and with spreadsheets, maybe), marketing automation ensures that the process is data based, easy to manage and offers key insights. For example, marketing automation software allows you to gather data from your website analytics to help in segmenting your prospects. This input allows one to build different campaigns that are customized for each target list and automated mass emails could be launched as per pre-determined schedules. Helps create customized and targeted landing pages (as against home page; to improve chances of conversion), Based on prospects’ clicking behaviour, leads could be scored and accordingly integrated into the CRM for opportunity management. When I post a job on my company Facebook page, I am flooded with proposals from various HR recruitment firms. The marketing automation software in these companies have integrated their lead management with social media and it allows them to pitch their services right away.
Marketing Automation for the Smart marketer
There is no doubt that Marketing Automation could help companies reduce their customer acquisition and retention costs, just by providing a flexible framework to build quality into their marketing programs and help measure their effectiveness on a continuous basis. Today, the roles of CIO and CMO appear integrated as never before and the C-suite has a new tenant, the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Marketing automation could well be the lever to gain the most bang for the marketing buck and clearly erase the myth that marketing is a cost center. Now, that would be smart, wouldn’t it?