Marketing Automation and Lead Generation
Marketing automation is a software platform made specifically for marketers, so they can run the business of marketing. It's pretty cool. In the past, marketers had to piecemeal together a variety of different software tools to create a hodgepodge of functionality.
But what is marketing automation? According to Marketo, marketing automation is "the technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and create workflows so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster."
Features of marketing automation platforms include
Marketing resource management
Most companies could benefit from implementing a marketing automation tool, but take a look at the following table and do this quick worksheet, based on research from Gleanster, to find out if you are ready for marketing automation.
|Factor||Disagree → Agree|
|1 2 3 4 5|
|Our revenue process is complicated. It involves multiple touches from marketing and sales.|
|We target sophisticated buyers who do a lot of research before they engage with us.|
|Our company requires more insight into the exact value that our marketing programs deliver, so we can quantify our investment.|
|Our customer base out-sizes our sales team, so we lack direct personal relationships with all of our customers and prospects.|
|It would be impossible to personally call every potential customer or new lead that we generate.|
|Many of our new leads aren't yet ready to buy from us. They require nurturing.|
|We would improve our sales results if marketing played a bigger role in our revenue process, particularly as it applies to nurturing relationships with targeted early-stage prospects.|
|We already use most, or all, of the capabilities of our current email marketing service provider.|
|Data drives almost every decision that our marketing team makes.|
|Our marketing team is generating (or has specific plans to generate) significant amounts of personalized content for our target prospects.|
For each category, select the appropriate number. If you strongly disagree, choose 1. If you strongly agree, choose 5. Choose 2 if you somewhat disagree, 3 if you're neutral, and 4 if you somewhat agree. Tally your score when you're finished. If you scored higher than 35, you're ready for marketing automation. If you scored between 20 and 35, you're approaching readiness and should consider making a move soon. If you scored below 20, you may not be ready for marketing automation yet.
Now take a look at some of the top vendors in the space:
Marketo: Marketo is one of the big names in the marketing automation space. Marketo was founded in 2006 and has more than 2,300 customers and 100,000 users worldwide. Marketo is known for having a combination of robust features paired with an easy-to-learn user interface. It can handle a broad range of functions such as engagement-based lead nurturing, social marketing, and email. It also has a rich suite of analytics and reporting capabilities, and its own third-party vendor marketplace for add-on functionality. Marketo is cloud-based and integrates with some of the top technology platforms available to marketers.
Eloqua: Eloqua, another player in the marketing automation space, was recently purchased by Oracle and is now part of Oracle's marketing cloud. Eloqua was founded in 1999 and has more than 1,100 customers and 70,000 users worldwide. Eloqua has extensive functionality to help marketers do very specific targeting of the right buyers and to execute on multiple campaigns. The platform also offers dynamic lead scoring and social marketing functionality. The integration with Oracle makes it a perfect choice for anyone using that platform. Eloqua also integrates with other CRM solutions.
HubSpot: Founded in 2006, HubSpot's sweet spot is smaller companies and marketing departments. In addition to some traditional marketing automation technologies, HubSpot also includes functionality for blogging, SEO, and website pages. The platform is a great option for smaller businesses looking to automate more of their inbound marketing processes; however, it lacks some of the complexity that Marketo or Eloqua provides.