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Marketing Automation Is Here To Stay

Marketing Automation Is Here To Stay

Gone are the days of traditional Online Marketing and good riddance I say! When I first started in this industry(14 years ago) we were forced to use a series of ESPs, Softwares and additional Marketing and IT/Dev resources to accomplish the mission.

This was a handicap as I would spend hours scoping projects with Business Owners  followed by developing the strategy, sharpening  the Marketing messages, creating email campaigns and A/B tests, updating website content, updating social media sites, ensuring metric tracking was in place, all the while managing each of relationships with the service providers and learning all of their intricacies. The task was dizzying and often left me with an empty feeling of did I forget something? I did not like this feeling….

Segue…

So what is all this about and what the heck is Marketing Automation? According to wikipedia, “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.”

According to Sean J. Partridge, “Marketing automation saves your ass some time…and that’s good!

With Marketing Automation, things have changed and have done so for the better. I still spend the same amount of time preparing for each campaign but they are now executed in a symphony like harmony of awesomeness with sincere thanks to platforms like Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot who make life much easier to Marketing Departments and IT Teams.

I actually piloted Hubspot in 2007 before they even offered email services. The Hubspot experience was wildly successful as I was able to do several tasks from one platform, namely track Social reach, Blog, CMS like Web builder(did not use) and SEO best practices. I soon realized the ramifications were huge as I was saving time by working in one platform which was a significant advantage at the time, now the services are full-blown powerhouses of capability offering the full gamut of Marketing service, if you can think it up, it can be automated, for the most part anyway.

But…..Caveat emptor……

Don’t let me fool you.  These  marketing functions are still very complicated,  as you need to become an expert in each SaaS providers suite of offerings and how they handle their processes, like customer support, APIs and a myriad of implementation and on-boarding issues.

The reality is that nothing worthwhile is ever easy and this will play true as you identify and configure all the variables found along your unique customer journey. You must understand everything about your customer and also your back office processes to truly realize the benefits that Marketing Automation can offer your consumer and support/operational touch points in this OMNI channel world we live.

All that glitters is not gold….so what’s the downside?

You got it…it’s mostly cost but it’s also implementation and product learning curve. Depending on your goals, you will likely need a sizeable budget to get in the game, but once you are in the game and if you have good people, the upside is huge.

You will also need to get training on the platforms and there will be a learning curve, how steep depends on your team’s capabilities and expertise. Costs go up if you need certain expertise, but as with any investment there are risks, but the boost to your productivity will offset them shortly after implementation depending on your industry, etc…You’ll get the whitepaper if you inquire with any of the big three I mentioned above.

At the end of the day, if you stop and weigh the cost of Marketing Automation against all of your existing vendors, developers, contracts, etc.,  then look at your SG&A, you’ll find there can be attractive alternatives to the grind it out struggle that Online Marketing is without automation. You won’t regret exploring it either way and I implore you to do so!

And with that I leave you with my latest Trap mix….but don’t worry I will continue to write on this subject in upcoming articles as it has impacted my day to day life as an Online Marketer and Website Developer in ways I am still discovering.

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