Marketing automation?

This blog handles a lot about marketing automation. So wouldn’t it be a smart idea to start of with an explanation of what we see as marketing automation?

Let’s kick off with the general content on Wikipedia.

Marketing automation according to Wikipedia

Wikipedia divides software for marketing automation in to three areas:

  • Marketing intelligence
  • Marketing automation
  • Advanced workflow automation

According to Wikipedia, marketing automation is used for:

  • Demand Generation
  • Lead Management
  • Lead Scoring
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Lead Generation
  • Campaign Analysis
  • Lead Qualification
  • Sales Effectiveness

Other sources

While Googling on marketing automation you come across lot’s of sites and articles on this topic.  One of the better infographics of current market developments at a glance can be found on Dutch blog

Infographic on marketing automation

Marketing automation and retention

So marketing automation seems to be about creating new business. But why is that?

I have worked my brain to understand why all of the raving words on marketing automation never mention the automation of marketing activities after a sales and limit themselves to a specific set of drip marketing contacts. Isn’t getting them in and moving them up the right customer relationship management approach? In a business relationship, the era after a sale is known to mankind as customer loyalty or even more commercial: retention. This is ground you are willing to fight your customers over (metaphorically speaking, but we’ll get to that later).

But, after reading the articles on our subject,  it seems it is not yet possible to automate this part of commercial process. Or is retention just not part of marketing? I beg to differ!

Customer life cycle

Marketing is more than getting a sale, it’s about maximizing your number of customers and their value. From the moment you get in touch for the first time, until the ‘I miss you, I have changed, let’s try again’-mails. We call this whole process the customer life cycle.

Every business has specific moments in time when they contact their customers, these are excellent events to automate. In order to automate a customer life cycle, as a marketer, you have three domains to master;

  • Data
  • Content
  • Media

Why do I mention these three domains? First of all, because they are essential to start with marketing automation. And besides that, as a teaser for one of the next articles to come.

What I have left for you is our definition of marketing automation. So to conclude this article, a robust description of marketing automation is:

Marketing automation: automation of the touch points during the whole customer life cycle, automatically adjusting channel, content and timing to personal preferences and needs of every individual

In practice you will see that channels all have their own pro’s and con’s and in marketing automation all revolves around building a customer profile. So enough more to elaborate on. Luckily enough, we are not limited to only one article here, now, are we?
About the author

Over the past few years Walter van der Scheer has been evangelizing marketing automation to advertising agencies, e-commerce companies and co-workers alike and has been building a team of determined sales professionals. He has made progress, but the road ahead is still very long. Walter shares his personal experiences and challenges along the road of changing the way that marketing is done, while trying to stick to the strategically chosen path.

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