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The Difference Between Email Marketing and Marketing Automation


The Difference Between Email Marketing and Marketing AutomationHear all this talk about how marketing automation is so amazing?  Not sure what it really means and why it would be important to your company?  Looking for answers but no one seems to have any?  If so, look no further -  this article reveals the differences between marketing automation and email marketing as well as some tips to ensure that you get the most out of your marketing automation system.

It is estimated that marketing automation companies will earn $325 million in revenue in 2011. (Raab Associates ).  Much of this growth of 50% year over year is seen in the high-tech and business services sectors and is expected to continue grow at these rapid rates. 

But why is this amazing new tool growing so rapidly and what can it do for your company?  To answer these questions we went to Michael Ward, CEO of Net-Results Marketing Automation. Not only has Net-Results been ranked as the top marketing automation platform by TOP SEOS for over a year, but Michael lives and breathes this stuff and it is his passion to create a great product that can do amazing things for the companies that use it.  The following is what he described in an email interview:


What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation combines strategy and technology to help companies identify, manage & qualify sales prospects. When implemented properly, marketing automation implementation ensures that sales personnel are continuously focused on closeable, quality leads resulting in increased revenue and sales efficiency.

From a technology perspective, marketing automation software triggers various events when the right conditions are met:  It can alert a salesperson when a high value prospect spends time looking at your pricing on your website; it can schedule a call from the assigned sales rep to a particular prospect; it can launch a targeted email to that prospect or add them to a pre-built email drip or lead nurturing campaign; it can score your prospects based on behavior and qualifications and let you know when a score reaches a “sales ready” threshold. Ideally, it should be possible to trigger each of these actions based on any combination of conditions you choose.


How is it different from email marketing?

Email marketing is an unintelligent solution: you launch your email to your list, get stats on opens and click-throughs, and hopefully generate some revenue from your email “blast”. This has come to be known as “spray and pray”.

A marketing automation system is highly intelligent as it knows not only who opened and clicked through from your email, but also which pages each prospect viewed and for how long.  It knows which prospects downloaded your white paper or filled out a form. It ties to your CRM system and knows the relative value of each of these prospects. Most importantly, it scores and qualifies each of these prospects based on who they are and how they interact with your campaigns and website and escalates quality leads so that sales can focus their time on the best prospects.


How have things changed recently in the marketing automation world?

Over the last 12-18 months, there has been greater adoption of marketing automation. The increase is due to the fact that marketing automation has been getting greater publicity in the mainstream as a must-have technology, similar to CRM ten years ago.

From a platform standpoint, integrating new features such as social media, CRM and lead scoring are now expected of vendors in order to create greater visibility into prospect behaviors as well as aligning marketing and sales. We see this as a continuing trend in 2012.


What advice or tips would you give anyone who is looking to get into using marketing automation?

Before diving into any new technology, a proper game plan of process and expected outcomes is always warranted. Marketing automation is no different. Segmenting your prospects by persona is what a lot of organizations begin with, and we highly recommend that approach. Who are your prospects and what are their behaviors during the buying process? What type of content and mediums are necessary/needed to properly nurture these leads until they are ready to buy? What actions/inactions of prospects are to be scored and how much? When does a lead become a qualified lead and thus turned over to Sales? These are high level questions to begin with and there are obviously much more granular areas to dive into. The bottom line is that marketing automation alone is a tool, and is only as effective as the strategy and process around that tool.

To learn more about Michael Ward and Net-Results, check out their their marketing automation blog or follow them on twitter. We here at Inbound Sales Network, would like to thank Mike for taking the time to answer our questions.  Mike is  a fountain of knowledge, and we look forward to the great things to come from him and the at team Net-Results.

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