Marketing automation: An overview

Marketing automation can be confusing simply because it is such a big concept. Essentially, everything that falls or could fall under the heading “marketing” can be systematized and fit under “marketing automation.”

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This includes demand generation, traditional marketing activities, inbound marketing generation, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and social media marketing. It includes website optimization and customization via segmented visitor analysis software that tells you who is visiting your website, where they’re from, and what they’re likely to be interested in.

robot spyIt also includes lead qualification, lead nurturing, and lead management via thought-leadership activities, blogging, white papers, newsletters, and case studies. Actual sales themselves are naturally part of the process, along with steps in which you contact customers or pre-customers via email, social channels, or even by phone. And, of course, there is ongoing campaign analysis, sales effectiveness tracking, and sales intelligence.

The oft-cited statistic is that 70 percent of the buying process is complete before the purchaser ever engages with a salesperson. Whether that number is accurate or not, in these days of search engines and social networks, more and more power is being transferred from sellers to buyers, who can easily perform company and product research that 20 years ago would have been a dream.

A good marketing automation suite should provide the tools to drive traffic to your various sites, subsites, and social channels; help you understand who that traffic really is; help you customize your messages to those people; and then invite them into a complex opening dance with your company that ultimately leads the ultimate prize: Cash in your pocket.

Along the way, email marketing, landing pages, CRM integration, social marketing, and analytics and reporting are key.

Next: The big (new) boys: Hubspot, Eloqua, Marketo … and Salesforce

More information:

International Business Machines Corporation, abbreviated IBM and nicknamed Big Blue (for its official corporate color), is a global technology and innovation company headquartered in the Northeast US. IBM is the largest technology and ... read more »

Salesforce, the Customer Success Platform and world's #1 CRM, empowers companies to connect with their customers in a whole new way. The company’s platform and application services include: Salesforce Sales Cloud, the world's #1 sale... read more »

Eloqua, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oracle, is the leading provider of modern marketing automation and revenue performance management software that helps ensure every component of marketing works harder and more efficiently to drive r... read more »

Oracle is the gold standard for database technology and applications in enterprises throughout the world. The company is the world's leading supplier of information management software and the world's second largest independent softwar... read more »

Marketo (NASDAQ: MKTO) provides the leading marketing software for companies of all sizes to build and sustain engaging customer relationships. Spanning today’s digital, social, mobile and offline channels, Marketo’s® customer eng... read more »

HubSpot is the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform. Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 10,000 customers in 65 countries use HubSpot’s software, services, and suppo... read more »

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