At its best, marketing automation is software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon — that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. HubSpot
Ask a stranger what “Marketing Automation” is and you’ll generally get a blank stare. Try it the next time you are on an elevator.
The term “Marketing Automation“ is the new buzz in the marketing world over the last five or so years. However, the evolution of the definition has changed dramatically over that time period.
“Marketing Automation” is not just lead nurturing and lead scoring–it is much bigger. As evidence, just check out Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, which doubled from 947 vendors in 2014 to 1,876 in 2015.
21 Pros, 21 Marketing Automation Perspectives
A mix of technology and process, we interviewed some of industry’s top thought leaders to get their take on what marketing automation means to them. Thanks to all that participated in the project.
Scott Brinker (@chiefmartec) | Founder at chiefmartec.com
Scott is the master of marketing technologies as he’s seen the space evolve significantly over the past few years. His famous Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic doubled from 947 vendors in 2014 to 1,876 in 2015.
That’s why I’m most excited about marketing automation solutions that take a true platform approach, opening up their switchboard to plug-and-play ISV marketing applications of all flavors.”
Carlos Hidalgo (@cahidalgo) | CEO & Principal at ANNUITAS
Carlos is a Strategic Marketing Professional with a focus on increasing revenue through the development of strategic Demand Process Transformation.
“Marketing automation is an enabling technology and is only as good as the strategy behind it. Too many organizations have bought into the promise that marketing automation would increase the effectiveness of content, improve the ROI on their marketing and provide a way for companies to get closer to their buyers.
However, less than 22% of enterprise companies who own marketing automation say it has helped them achieve their overall goals in Demand Generation. The meaning behind marketing automation is to automate strategy, without a strategy, it will just automate tactics and chaos.”
Maneeza Aminy (@maneezajaan) | CEO & Principal Consultant at Marvel Marketers
Maneeza is a revenue performance management and marketing automation expert, among many other talents such as: public speaking, entrepreneurship, humanitarian efforts, and much more. She is currently the CEO/Principal Consultant of Marvel Marketers and has experience with other businesses such as Marketo and Salesforce.
“Marketing Automation is one of the most amazing forcing agents I’ve ever seen. It unifies so many systems, teams and processes that it makes you address all the difficult business problems you could otherwise ignore.
Marketing, Sales and IT alignment is the foundation and until your data, lead lifecycle and digital marketing expertise are in place, you can’t leverage automation for the original reason you bought it … reporting and insights.
The biggest ROI of Marketing automation is its ability to trigger change management in the most stagnant of environments. This one output has consistently impressed me. Oh yeah, and then there is all the fancy stuff like actually scaling personalization at time of data abundance, not to mention sparking the rise of the Marketing Technologist.”
Thom is a CMO of the Year Finalist, Social and Viral Media Hall of Fame member and Webby Award Official Honoree. Aside from being award winning, Thom is an innovative Global Marketing Executive with proven success driving demand generation, corporate communication, and sales and marketing programs for startups as well as Fortune 100 corporations.
“Marketing Automation enables me to streamline processes, automate execution, and efficiently allocate scarce marketing resources. More importantly if provides invaluable analytics and metrics that allow me to focus activity where it generates the highest return throughout the lead and sales lifecycle.
The bottom line: The feedback I get from our marketing automation solution lets me do my job better, generate more sales, and most importantly, look smarter than I really am.”
Matt Heinz (@HeinzMarketing) | President at Heinz Marketing Inc
Matt has more than 15 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations, vertical industries and company sizes. He also has held various positions at companies such as Microsoft, Weber Shandwick, Boeing, The Seattle Mariners, Market Leader and Verdiem.
“Marketing automation is all about increasing engagement, velocity and conversion of prospects through the buyer’s journey by leveraging precision processes, content and cross-channel communication. This frees sales reps to focus on conversations that matter.
Technology and content are replacing media as the coin of the realm for leading B2B marketers, and marketing automation is the tip of that spear.”
Brett Rudy (@bkrudy) | Senior Director of Marketing at HIMSS Media
Brett is a strategic marketer with 20 years experience helping brands increase awareness, perception, and purchase intent while increasing profitability. He has expertise in acquisition and retention strategy, direct and digital marketing, analytics, branding, customer engagement, and content creation across verticals ranging from consumer goods to travel. Brett is an idea guy, seeking creative solutions to business problems.
“Marketing automation allows a brand to put their best thinking to work, enabling marketing teams to focus on crafting insightful strategy and creative that moves the needle — instead of being buried knee-deep in campaign deployments. For the first time, marketers can truly reach the right customer with the right message at the right time.
When customers and prospective customers receive messages they actually want, these messages aren’t perceived as marketing, but as content — and strong content positions brands as a thought leader.”
Paul Green (@paulsgreen222) | Global Marketing Automation Manager at Extreme Networks
Paul is a highly motivated Marketing professional with increasing dynamic experience in all facets of lead generation and marketing operations for complex B-to-B enterprise solutions. He has many specialties including: Marketo, Eloqua, Salesforce.com, Good Data, Marketing Operations, Marketing Automation, and much more.
“I believe at the heart of the automation discussion is an on-going cross functional discussion around business process alignment. Key drivers are IT, Sales and Marketing but it has to be about the organization. It’s far less a technology discussion then it is about process and more importantly change management.
Of course a key focus is on sales and marketing process, data, tools and people but at its very heart; the fabric of what makes it so powerful is it forces the organization to focus on alignment. Marketing automation is not simple, it’s not for the faint of heart but it’s for organizations that are focused on growth and have commitment at all levels of management to embrace the change. The end goal is easy to agree on, driving real and measurable revenue improvements. What’s not so easy is how to get there.”
Josh is a highly motivated executive with a wide range of business and technical online experience. He is an experienced leader with an entrepreneurial style that achieves profitable results in the demanding online environment where both partners and customers strive to achieve the best deal. His specialties include: Entrepreneurship, New Business Launch, New Business Development, and much more.
“Marketing Automation has allowed us to connect with our customers on a whole new level. Using each of their engagements with us as clues, we’re able to create a personalized set of communications aimed at assisting them with the discovery of our solutions that best meet their needs. And with lead scoring in place, we’re positioned to recognize when discovery turns toward action and it’s our turn to reach out to them.”
Laura Maiurano (@lauramaiurano) | Director of Digital Marketing at Splash
Laura is a highly motivated, proven leader with a passion for marketing. She has experience in digital marketing, brand marketing and event marketing with specialization in demand generation.
“Marketing automation is a crucial component of a lead generation strategy. Building a solid, scalable foundation allows marketers to gain insight at the most granular level giving them the ability to be hyper-targeted across all marketing efforts.”
Debbie Qaqish (@DebbieQaqish) | Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group
Debbie is a thought leader around everything revenue marketing and regularly speaks, writes and holds webinars on the topic. Debbie has also penned several books including Rise of The Revenue Marketer: An Executive Playbook.
Today’s marketing organization is being transformed by customer-facing technologies and in this new environment, marketing needs to hone their technology awareness/use capability and ensure they have unicorns (marketing technologists) as part of the team.”
Josh Hill (@jdavidhill) | Author of MarketingRockstarGuides.com
Josh is an experienced sales and marketing professional with 15 years of service in technology, customer service, website development, business-to-business sales, and marketing.
“To me, marketing automation means all the features and so much more. It is too easy to go along with the tools that can codify the marketing rules today, instead of being flexible for what works in the future, thus marketers must continuously work to push the tool further in service of the audience. As a marketer, automation is simply a must have tool that reduces drudge tasks to free me to get out more content to the right people.
Marketing automation also worries me–tools can codify and stagnate demand gen so marketers must continuously work to push the tool further in service of the audience.”
Mark Farnell (@katamawoody) | Marketing Operations Director at NewVoiceMedia
Mark has 20 years experience covering research, analysis, consumer and B2B marketing. His sector experience includes: retail (DIY), luxury goods, video games, online learning, cloud computing and cloud contact centres.
Firstly, productivity. We simply could not deliver the number of marketing campaigns our business requires without an automation tool. Linked to this is the fact we can be agile and easily make changes to campaigns and scoring to ensure we are delivering the right type of marketing qualified leads to our sales development teams.
Secondly, intelligence. Being able to track in so much greater detail how our leads are interacting with marketing campaigns and the impact that has on pipeline and revenue means we can make informed decisions on our marketing investments.”
Kelly Waffle | Vice President at MarketBridge
Kelly is the Vice President of MarketBridge and a hands-on marketing veteran. He has over 20 years of experience in client marketing automation, demand generation, and digital marketing. This includes, most recently, nearly two years as an industry evangelist at Marketo and almost six years as architect and owner of connected marketing and sales funnel initiatives at Sourcefire (now Cisco).
“I see marketing automation as a powerful engine that is an important part of a high-performance marketing vehicle (collection of processes)—such as a Formula 1 racecar. Picture it. Some pit crews (marketers) are new to Formula 1 racing (digital lead management) and don’t have complete cars–so they spend most of their time polishing them (sending out random email blasts.) Other pit crews have achieved advanced vehicle control and acceleration by adding components such as a steering wheel (strategy), turbocharger (lead nurturing), a dashboard (metrics and KPIs), a gearbox (lead scoring), a transmission (CRM) , oil (forms/landing pages), various tires (campaigns), pit stops (segmentation), etc.
To perform optimally, the engine needs the right mixture of fuel and air (marketing channels) running through it. At the same time, pit crews must monitor changing track, vehicle, and weather conditions (market and competition)—as well as driver positioning and velocity–and make the appropriate changes to fuel, tires, and steering to improve control and acceleration and win the race.
As in Formula 1 racing, engines (marketing automation) need to be tuned by master mechanics. These seasoned mechanics also continue to stay ahead of the pack by adding more components and making them work together for better effectiveness and efficiency.”
Diederik Martens (@diederikmartens) | Marketing Automation Manager at Quintiq
Diederik is a passionate revenue engineer and is mainly focused on Marketing Operations. It is his life goal to share everything he has absorbed in his field as autodidact, by speaking, teaching, coaching, or consulting. Diederik and Quintiq was also awarded the 2015 Killer Content Award at the B2B Content 2 Conversion conference in Arizona.
“Marketing Automation is key in any respectable marketing operations department. It’s not just automating your marketing to save time anymore. It’s enabling your sales by sourcing your CRM with lead behavior. But also to structurally improve data quality in your CRM.
I think the big marketing automation platforms are the first we can really recognize as integrated marketing suites. It’s where today’s marketers start their day. Managing the engagement with their leads and driving pipeline growth.”
Edward Masson (@edwardmasson) | Director of Marketing Operations at Acronis
Edward is a regular contributor to RevEngine Insider. Edward is a highly results-focused senior digital marketing and automation platform consultant with extensive experience in online marketing programs and technologies that power the campaigns.
I can build out my content marketing strategy, map it to the buyers journey, add some lead scoring and I’m good to go!”
Pierce Ujjainwalla (@marketing_101) | Founder of RevenuePulse
Pierce is the founder and Principal Marketo consultant for Revenue Pulse. He is passionate about two major things: marketing and technology. Over the past six years, he has used his passion to help companies of all sizes reach their revenue and marketing goals through technology.
“In my opinion, Marketing Automation is a platform that Marketers use to plan, coordinate, manage and measure ALL of their marketing campaigns, both online and offline. Much like Sales relies on CRM, modern-day Marketers now have their own platform where they conduct their business.
The best Marketers use Marketing Automation in order to have engaging communications with their prospects and customers and measure what’s working and what’s not, in ways that simply were not be possible before.”
Dan Radu (@DanRadu) | Founder of Macromator
Dan is a regular contributor to RevEngine Insider and is also the principal marketing technologist for Macromator Inc. He understands both marketing strategy and how technology can be employed to execute it. Dan founded Macromator Inc. to directly help marketing executives with both demand generation strategy and technical execution in order to get the most out of their marketing automation and CRM investments.
You could say that marketing automation is the marketing technology architecture to put a demand generation strategy into practice. Is all-in-one software system for marketers, an extension of CRM functionality which plugged into CRM looks at the same data nexus.
Different software vendors label their products as marketing automation so you’ll find marketing automation for mom-and-pop shops all the way to global enterprise solutions under the same label.”
Alexandre Pelletier (@apelletier) | CEO at Perkuto
Alexandre is a very successful entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in technology start-ups and marketing. He is currently the CEO of Perkuto, which is a marketing automation agency that helps Sales and Marketing professionals deliver impactful results. His team also makes a killer RSS app.
“Marketing automation was born from the need to automate the repetitive task of sending and tracking more and more emails and drive them to conversion. With the advent of Content Marketing, it shifted towards tracking all the various touch points in order to measure campaign ROI and to demonstrate the contribution of Marketing to revenue. Now, I strongly believe that Marketing Automation is evolving towards Marketing Operations Excellence. It’s all about improving the flow in the organization value stream and eliminating waste.
Despite the fact that Marketing contains lots of creativity, at the end of the day it’s nothing else than a complex business process. Marketing Automation is the core technology enabling the implementation of thorough and well-thought processes. Benefits are reaped only if the processes are efficiently designed, well implemented, and adopted throughout the organization.”
Kaitlin Stich (@Kaitlin_Cahill) | Senior Marketing Manager at BrightTALK
Kaitlin has 6 years of marketing experience and a passion for growing businesses. Her expertise extends beyond her knowledge of content creation and strategy with webinars and videos into her skills of using them to drive demand for the business, create new opportunities and connections, and build excellent experiences for customers.
“When I think of the way marketing automation is evolving today, I can’t help draw a number of parallels to the evolution of sales force automation applications like Salesforce — the technology is changing the way businesses build products and connect with customers for the better.
Marketing automation allows marketers to not only score and route leads to sales, but create customer experiences that would otherwise be impossible to have at any scale. Thanks to the value that marketing automation platforms are bringing to businesses, interested stakeholders have grown to include many areas of the business such as: customer success, support, and product.”
Rick Miller (@OptimizedMiller) | Vice President, Customer Insights, at Networked Insights
As a member of Networked Insights’ leadership team, Rick helps guide corporate strategy and product development while managing an analytics team that provides cutting-edge brand and product research. Rick’s company is on the leading edge of marketing automation as it works with major brands to identify social trends to obtain real-time insights on customer behavior.
When those activities get integrated with the marketing platforms, marketers will have a complete vision of its prospects—that’s the future.“
Jeff Coveney (@RevEngineMarket) | Founder at RevEngine Marketing
Jeff is an accomplished marketing expert with more than 20 years success in generating demand and creating buzz for leading technology organizations. Most recently, Coveney founded RevEngine Marketing, a marketing automation consulting firm that helps companies accelerate leads through the marketing funnel in a repeatable and measurable way.
To simplify the definition, we’ll use an example. Marketing Automaton is to Marketing as an assembly line is to manufacturing—repeatable, measurable, efficient.
Marketing Automaton is the assembly line where all campaigns flow to give businesses a deep insight into marketing and sales effectiveness. A great marketing automation strategy helps fuel leads into revenue by giving business a better way to convert prospects into loyal customers.”
The Official Marketing Automation Definition
If you are looking for the official definition from companies that deal with marketing automaton regularly, check out below.
Salesforce.com is the leader in CRM and recently got into the marketing automation space with the acquisition of Pardot in July 2013.
“Technology that allows marketing and sales departments to create, deploy, and automate online marketing campaigns and sales activities that increase revenue and maximize efficiency.” Salesforce Blog
If you are looking for education for modern marketers through training, tips, and blog posts, Marketing Profs has all of that and more.
“Marketers in businesses of all sizes have found success using marketing automation to automate and integrate online marketing efforts, cutting down on manual processes and freeing marketers up to try new approaches. By integrating email, search marketing, lead generation, social campaigns, CRM and Web analytics into one system, marketers can work smarter, not harder.”MarketingProfs
Content Marketing Institute
CMI is a website full of guidance, insight and advice from experts, and an active community for discussing the latest information that is driving the industry forward.
“Marketing automation has the ability to expand the value and impact of your content, capture lead intelligence, improve lead-to-sale conversion rates, drive repeat purchasing, and enhance the overall customer experience.” Content Marketing Institute
Infusionsoft makes sales and marketing software to help small businesses thrive. They have made it their goal to give these small businesses the tools they need to get organized, grow sales, and save time.
Send emails, direct mail and voice broadcasts automatically based on date, time, or a behavior, like a click or purchase.
Attract more leads and turn them into customers — while you do other things. Take repetitive tasks and let the software take care of them for you. The beauty of marketing automation is that once you set it up, it runs on its own!” Infusionsoft
Marketo is one of the leaders in digital marketing software and solutions. The company was started with the goal of becoming a company that would change the market with technology innovation and thought leadership. Marketo is extremely successful and widely used by businesses all over.
“Marketing automation is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.” Marketo