What is Marketing Automation?
The world of marketing has changed so dramatically in the last decade. Marketing before the digital age consisted of billboards, direct mail, and magazine ads. It now has spawned into content, websites, online ads, video, social media and so much more. There are so many avenues for marketing to go down now that it was inevitable a technology like marketing automation would be born.
What exactly is marketing automation?
Great question! Marketing automation is essentially like your air traffic control tower. It's a central place where all of your marketing initiatives are plugged into and has powerful tools to further enhance the tracking, reporting and selling of your product or service.
Many marketing automation providers have (but are not limited to) some of these features:
Automated Email or Drip Emails
Social Media posting and tracking
Lead to Revenue management
There is a misconception that if you get marketing automation software, you no longer need to use many other softwares in order to perform your marketing campaigns. While this may be true in some instance, depending on the breadth of your campaign, it's not always right.
Technology for webinars is a great example of how marketing automation falls short. You'll still need a software like GoToWebinar to plug into your marketing automation software to make it work. The marketing automation software essentially makes it easier to track, manage and report on webinar attendees and email them post-webinar. However, you wouldn't be able to run a webinar within the marketing automation software itself without integrating a separate webinar solution.
We sometimes like to tell clients that a marketing automation solution is somewhat similar to an iPhone. It has some really cool features on its own and can make things much easier. However, if you want the most use out of it, it's important to download apps onto your iPhone to further the technological capabilities.
So, now that you know what marketing automation software is, when should you make the transition and which one should you choose?
That will vary significantly from company to company. It's best to think first about what your goals are with implementing a marketing automation solution. Are you wanting to better manage your lead lists? Do you want to nurture your lead lists in a consistent and methodical manner? Is managing your marketing efforts too overwhelming? Do you need a central reporting system for your marketing campaigns?
A special note, especially at technology companies, should be put on your sales team and how your marketing and sales teams integrate. Do they work together at all? Marketing automation can sometimes soften, rate and nurture leads until they're ready to be handled by your sales team.
You'll also want to think about what you can afford and if you have a marketing person, or agency like LNCG, to help implement and manage the day-to-day functionalities for you. Oftentimes, it takes time for an employee to learn how to use marketing automation software and work through the kinks of initial implementation.
After assessing all of that, then you can zero in on which solution is best for you. There is a whole marketplace for marketing automation solutions now than there were years ago. The big players are still HubSpot, Act-On, Pardot, and Marketo.
HubSpot, by far, is very popular because of their tiered plans based on company size and forever free options for marketing and sales. There really isn't a right or wrong answer here so take careful note of what is important to you and your company when the time comes.
At LNCG, we work as an extension of your marketing team, or we are your out-source marketing department, and we implement the marketing automation solution for you. We also customize every aspect for you from the lead rating, to web forms and design and develop emails that are on-brand.
If you're considering implementing a marketing automation solution at your technology company, definitely consider some of the things we discussed in this article and if you need guidance, don't be afraid to ask the team at LNCG - no strings attached. We're always here to give a helping hand and can ask the right questions to help guide you on your decision.