There are more than 7,000 technology platforms that assist us with Marketing, so it’s not surprise that companies are unsure about which solution or stack of solutions will best solve for their business problem.
Marketing automation has emerged as a dominant trend, and a necessity for larger enterprise organisations who need to connect with their customers at scale. Planned and executed well, Marketing Automation can deliver excellent results for businesses. What we see though, is that with limited time and money, many are still turning to their email service provider (ESP) to automate their marketing processes – and are missing out on significant benefits as a result.
Are ESPs and Marketing Automation Platforms the same thing?
Marketing automation and ESP both handle email marketing but are not the same.
An ESP facilitates the delivery of promotional email campaigns and newsletters, and has been in the corporate marketing toolkit for what feels like forever.
Marketing Automation software, as the name suggests, exists to automate marketing actions based on user activity and provides a way to create integrated online campaigns. It minimises the manual ‘human’ aspect of email that pertains to both operational and marketing activity, and aims to streamline marketing efforts by removing manual processes.
Both ESP and marketing automation are built to improve communication between organisations and their customers. Arguably the biggest point of difference between the two is the cross-platform insights gathered and used in Marketing Automation compared to the relatively siloed and manual nature of ESP.
Marketing Automation goes beyond email
Companies using an ESP as a basic Marketing Automation tool will benefit from the ability to send their eDMs to targeted lists, track email performance, and create and send campaigns – much as Marketing Automation systems might. However, Marketing Automation goes beyond email.
The purpose of Marketing Automation is to intelligently nurture leads through a lead funnel until they are ready to be actioned by a sales team. Lead scoring based on customer activity through your funnel adds extra value by giving the Marketing team intelligent data about their customers’ online activity.
For example, you can initiate marketing actions for contact groups that have satisified a particular set ot rules and conditions. For example, actions might be associated to:
...among many more.
This means the Marketing team can deliver hot, marketing qualified leads (MQLs) that have been through customised lead pathways that facilitate a preferred journey or buying cycle.
These lead qualifications are not part of the traditional ESP offering and provide marketers with insights that they can use to identify and pursue genuine, high interest leads. Organisations that rely on their ESP as a marketing automation tool won’t have the ability to generate, analyse, and act upon data relating not only to their email activity, but wider digital activity across the website, social media or paid advertising for example.
Being able to see what a known or unknown user is looking at on a website could ultimately be the difference between promoting and making a sale. Lead nurturing and qualification is harder to achieve at scale with simple ESP. Using Marketing Automation on the other hand:
We can see what a users are looking at, and send them a targeted follow up for that product or service
We can use email to promote user activity, such as reminding users of products and services they may have viewed at an earlier point on a company’s website
We can customise content to display dynamically to a viewer based on previous activity (look out for our blog on Personalisation coming up), enabling calls to action that are tailored to users
We can monitor website actions and see where people are getting stuck in the pipeline, and optimise appropriately
We can set up triggers to assign leads to sales reps once a lead score is reached, helping you to strike while the iron is hot
We can maintain a rich database of information that is continually updating with the most recent activity of both known and unknown users
We can measure the impact of marketing initiatives on revenue
Get started with Marketing Automation
Every business needs different marketing strategies to be successful, and every sales journey is unique. While many businesses rely on ESP’s to convey their message and campaigns, if you’re looking to scale, you can’t rely solely on your ESP.
If you are wondering whether marketing automation is right for your business, we can help you decide.
Our 90-minute sales and marketing alignment meeting can help you get your teams on the same page and kick-off your Marketing Automation journey, so get in touch below.