Marketing Automation, as a marketer you’ve probably heard this term, but what is it?  Some use it as a synonym for email marketing… however, if you’re doing this, stop! I know, I’ve seen many people use they’re marketing automation platforms solely for batch emails, but it’s much more than that. So give this software the respect it deserves.


So what is Marketing Automation?

Here’s the textbook definition, assuming Wikipedia was your assigned reading for class.

Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

Okay professor. In basic English, please…

Say you want to reach your target audience with a personalized message and do it on their schedule. Yes, I just mentioned the abstract pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that every marketer is seeking. Marketing Automation is pretty much that. It automates your marketing by replacing your high-touch manual process with an automated one that reaches your target audience with the right time, right place precision.

At Three Deep, we think of digital marketing in these three strategies, Acquire, Engage, Optimize. Marketing Automation can be used to enhance all of these.

Acquire – Marketing Automation platforms are definitely a way to communicate value or offers to your target audience using social media, email, landing pages, even direct mail. They’re also a data management tool. After you acquire a new connection, these software platforms will store the contact, create data segments and score each contact based on their interactions and behaviors with your communications.

Engage – Any savvy marketer would like to interact with their target audience throughout their buying journey. That’s what marketing automation does. Once you’ve acquired the new contact, you automate your marketing communications across multiple channels to reach your audience at the right time, with the right message nurturing them along their way to conversion.

Optimize – My favorite part, Marketing Automation platforms are analytics machines. They house your email, social media, web analytics, purchase data and more all in one platform. It’s robust data, all consolidated in one location to optimize your future campaigns.


Why is everyone talking about it now?

Simple, it’s a growing industry. By now you’ve probably heard a few of these names: HubSpot, Pardot, IBM Marketing Cloud, InfusionSoft, Adobe Campaign, Eloqua and Marketo. All of these are growing rapidly, which is why so many marketing professionals want to know more about them, right now! These organizations increase their value by increasing the value of your marketing campaigns.

Don’t believe me? In 2012, Oracle purchased Eloqua for $871 Million. Just last month, Vista announced it would buy Marketo for $1.8 Billion. So yes, Marketing Automation companies are proving to be worthy investments. Both from you as a marketer, and software giants.


How do I make my move?

What I’m about to say is both self-serving, and true. I work for a marketing agency that provides Marketing Automation services. We don’t sell the software, rather we help brands like Red Wing Shoes increase their marketing performance and revenue using Marketing Automation. So you know what I’m going to say… The best way to get started is to consult with an expert.

I say this knowing the amount of effort implementation, integration and strategy required to make the most of your investment. I intentionally say “most,” as we find brands are only using a small fraction of the features provided by their Marketing Automation software. How small of a fraction you ask? In most cases it’s less than 30%. In other words, they’re not even receiving one-third of the benefits. Generally, that’s because they don’t know how, which is why I recommend seeking a partner when getting started. If you want, we’re happy to chat.


What are the latest trends?

I’m glad you asked. I know that sounds tacky. But seriously, we just published a study in partnership with Ascend2 on this topic. Yes, we completed interviews with 239 marketing influencers who shared their feedback on Marketing Automation strategy. Our 14-page eBook, Marketing Automation Trends for Success shares it all.