Everything You Wanted to Know About Marketing Automation in 2015

(But were too drunk to ask)

Marketing Automation is POPULAR.  Buzzword, new-girl-at-the-high-school, ISIS-on-FoxNews popular.

BUT, what exactly is it?  How’s it work?  And most importantly, do you need it to get rich and famous like me?

I’ve “asked” (i.e. went to the websites of) the Three Major Players in the Marketing Automation Game for answers, and assuming I can Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V correctly, I believe I’ve found some answers.

Question 1:  What is Marketing Automation?                                                     

According to the fine people at Marketo – “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.”

According to the lovely people Pardot – “Simply put, marketing automation works to automate your marketing communication programs.  With a marketing automation platform in place, your marketing and sales teams can automate and optimize your lead generation and nurturing programs form initial prospect contact through the entire sales process.”

And according to the cool and edgy but longwinded people at Hubspot – “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. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required.”

Ah, yes, all great insight, but what does it do specifically?

Question 2: How Does Marketing Automation Actually Work?

Marketo, you’re up – “Marketing Automation software is used in many modern marketing processes, including lead generation, segmentation, lead nurturing and lead scoring, relationship marketing, cross-sell and up-sell, customer retention, and marketing ROI measurement.”  But how does it do these things, Marketo?  How? “Email Marketing + Landing Pages+ Campaigns Management + Prediction/Scoring + Lean Management + CRM Integration + Social Marketing + Marketing Analytics = Marketing Automation.”

Pardot? – “Marketing Automation makes it easy to integrate email marketing, reporting technology and your lead generation and nurturing efforts to create a true sales ecosystem”.  But how, Pardot? HOW? By “Blended lead scoring and grading”, “Prospect activity tracking”, “Lead nurturing”, “Forms and landing pages” and “Closed-loop reporting”.

Hubspot, you hip bastards, what do you have to say for yourself – “From attracting visitors to closing customers, Hubspot brings your entire marketing funnel together.  The result?  Less hassle, more control, and an inbound marketing strategy that actually works.” And how’s that happen?  Through “Blogging, SEO, Social Media, CMS, Lead Management, Landing Pages, Calls-to-Action, Marketing Automation, Email, Analytics, and CRM Sync”.   Gotcha.

Question 3: Do I need a Marketing Automation System to get Rich & Famous Like “America’s Sweetheart” Eric Ryan?

According to Marketo “Companies can expect three core benefits: more pipeline, more productive Sales reps, and higher revenue….”  AND?  “Furthermore, according to Nuclear Research, 95% of companies reported some benefit from marketing automation. They found that companies can expect to achieve an increase in marketing staff productivity between 1.5 and 6.9% and increase sales productivity by an average of 4%”.  Not bad, not bad.

Pardot doesn’t have any hard numbers, but they do say this – “Marketing Automation saves your company time and resources by automating many of your lead nurturing programs efficiently and effectively.  You can set up convenient drip marketing campaigns that automate your campaigns, social media activities, and streamlining your reporting, all of which allow you to focus on what you do best – growing business.”

And naturally, Hubspot does it with pictures because they’re very modern –

HubSpot MA 1of2 HubSpot MA 2of2

The Moral of the Story

Marketing Automation Software is a tremendous tool, HOWEVER, the success you’ll enjoy with Marketing Automation Software, much like the success you’ll enjoy with  banjo playing or unicycle riding, is in direct proportion to the effort you put in.

Blogs and landing pages and CTA’s don’t write themselves, and prospects aren’t going to walk around self-nurturing.  In the same way that buying Microsoft Word doesn’t make you Malcolm Gladwell and buying a hammer doesn’t make you Bob Villa, subscribing to Marketo or Pardot or HubSpot alone won’t make you a successful marketer.

Now, combine the power of automation with your brilliant and consistent marketing efforts?  Well, then you’re well on your way to fame and fortune, my friend.  Welcome to the club.