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B2B Marketing Automation: Here’s My Definition

How’s this for a definition of B2B marketing automation? 

The use of technology to generate, nurture, score and qualify leads, and drive sales, using customized, multi-touch marketing communications tailored for each contact’s profile, level of interest, behavior or place in the buying process.

Unfortunately it’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

In my view, the primary benefits of B2B marketing automation are:

  • It allows marketers to accomplish more, usually at a lower cost, than they can get done manually;
  • It facilitates continuous improvement by allowing marketers to track and measure the results of their campaigns, then make necessary adjustments, in near real-time.

What do you think?

Do you have a better definition of marketing automation?  Do you see other benefits that marketing automation delivers?

Please join the discussion by clicking on the word “Comments” in the line below the Share button.

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Comments

Mac;
An excellent definition, well done for coining it. If you’re okay with the idea, I’d like to use it in our glossary on our website. I would of course credit you with the words!

And to show you why I like it so, here’s the way we break the Process of Inbound Marketing Automation down into 4 stages or phases of activity:

1) Attract more visitors to your website using SEO, Social Media Marketing or SMM, and PPC. (Your generate demand part).

2) Engage their attention with industry leading content (website copy, white papers, videos, podcasts, etc.)

3) Qualify these visitors by grading their profiles and using their digital footprints to rack up a score and hence “know” their quality. And, while you are qualifying them, nurture them from cold leads to hot prospects with multi-touch drip email campaigns.

4) Automatically feed these hot sales ready prospects directly into your CRM and automatically notify the assigned sales rep (based on product or territory or whatever…).

Agree totally with your benefits statements, but would refine the 2nd one, as yes you can and should implement a Process of Continuous Process Improvements (CPI), but doing so also allows one to continuously learn more about your ideal prospects. We called this, “How to get Priceless Market Insight for Free”, in the white paper we wrote about it and which is available free on our website.

And also available on our website is a post which describes a formal Process Specification which details “How to run a Social Media Marketing (SMM) Campaign” using the ideas of CPI. And because this post suggests using ROI as one of the metrics to monitor during the Process, there are also posts on this same link which describe how to do this, and where to find the 10 best free ROI calculators on the web. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/cEc0ln

 

Mac;

I like you definition. The one area I would build out on is the value marketing automation adds in developing a business process to effectively manage the marketing funnel. While many marketing automation platforms can be used “to track and measure the results of their campaigns”, the real value is at a higher level for managing the entire demand generation process.

 

Mac,

This is what I’ve come up with so far…

A systematic and largely automated process to attract qualified buyers [using art, science, research and finesse] who over time become great clients with sexy project opportunities as defined in your Perfect Client Profile.

 

Eric, Christopher and Tom, Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Eric, here’s a challenge: Turn your wordy comment into a one or two short bullet points summarizing the key benefits of marketing automation

Christopher, I understand what you are saying, but how do we turn it from more of a feature statement into a benefit *(the “you get…” part) that can be summarized in a bullet point?

Tom, Your definition of marketing automation is more fun and thought provoking than mine, but immediately made me think marketing automation must be hard to implement. That bothers me a bit as I believe marketing automation makes marketers jobs easier, not more difficult.

-Mac

 

Hey Mac, Love that you are such a thought leader but still emphasize the basics. It’s what makes you such a reliable source for information in B2B marketing.

My definition of Marketing Automation is:
Marketing automation is the use of technology to manage and automate the process of converting prospective customers into actual buyers. By automating the various tasks and workflows involved in demand generation, lead management, and sales and marketing alignment, marketing automation contributes to shorter sales cycles, increased revenue, and better marketing ROI.

I created an entire ‘cheat sheet’ on marketing automation that can be found here (without registration): http://www.marketo.com/b2b-marketing-resources/documents/cheatsheet/MA_cheatsheet2_10.pdf

 

Great definition Mac, succinct yet comprehensive! For me, marketing automation is about achieving marketing agility and the ability to execute, not getting mired in the multitudinous steps involved in undertaking marketing activity. Marketers need to be able to focus on the “what” of campaigns and demand generation, not the “how”, and marketing automation is a big part of that.

 

I like your definition. The one area I would build out on is the value marketing automation adds in developing a business process to effectively manage the marketing funnel. A systematic and largely automated process to attract qualified buyers [using art, science, research and finesse] who over time become great clients with sexy project opportunities as defined in your Perfect Client Profile.

 

[…] feasible if it’s automated. Simon Daniels summarizes is very succinctly in a comment on Mac McIntosh’s blog ” Marketers need to be able to focus on the “what” of campaigns and demand generation, […]

 

[…] in the year I added a comment to a post on Mac McIntosh’s blog regarding his definition of B2B Marketing Automation. In essence, I returned to my oft-visited […]

 

Mac, thanks for the post on defining marketing automation. One would think the exact term “marketing automation” is self explanatory but it’s really not. A solution can automate something all day long but the key is what good does it do? I agree with the two benefits you listed and would add one of my own. I was talking to a client one day and she stated, “marketing automation helps us look bigger than we actually are.” I thought about this for a second and it’s very true. This point feeds into your first benefit, about accomplishing more. If you’re a small company of 20 employees or so there’s a good chance your marketing team is one person large. Using technology to stay on top of customer relationships, touches, and overall nurturing makes you seem like a couple 3x – 4x the size. B2B buyers typically get a better feeling if they know they're not dealing with a super small vendor. Thanks again for the post, I look forward to reading more!

 

Thanks for sharing nice information…….

 

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