Is “Marketing Automation” an Oxymoron?

I like the term “Marketing Automation” – sounds great…. This is going to automate my world of Internet visibility, demand management, lead generation – fantastic. I will simply plug in a trusty CRM tool like Eloqua or Marketo, hook it into my application… and – like magic – next week, the leads will start to poor in. Right?

I don’t think so….

Marketing Automation is incredible technology. I love it!  However, I see it as only a small part of the overall solution. There are two broad elements of the category according to Wikipedia – demand generation and marketing workflow automation. I think the workflow automation part is pretty nice to have… taking care of repetitive tasks with software tools… But it takes a lot more than technology to get it right. Demand generation also requires a lot more than automation. What are the underlying values of the brand experience? The offer?  Actually, using the software is a very small part of what makes integrated marketing and sales successful. There are a lot of questions to consider.. here are just a few:

  • What is the overall strategy- target markets? segments? influencers?
  • What are the competitors doing?
  • How are customers experiencing the brand?
  • How are you positioned across the outposts of the social web?
  • How are you organized to deliver?
  • What is the lead scoring approach?
  • What are the business rules for lead flow? – Inside sales? Outside Sales?
  • Is pricing right?
  • How are you distributing? partners? channels?
  • How effective are your persuasive communications and sales techniques?
  • Customer Service?
  • Relationship management and learning dialogue?
  • Measuring marketing? Sales? What are the incentives?
  • What content assets will we use to drive a permission marketing program?
  • What is the role of sales, marketing and communications?
  • How do we get the web design aligned with the platform technology?
  • How do you integrate with sales force automation (another promising term!)?


The list goes on….I think the place to start with a Revenue Architecture… but I am biased of course.


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