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Good topic. Often I describe marketing automation or marketing operations, in general, as the management of our marketing software tools. Our marketing software enables us to automate and streamline marketing initiatives; some that were previously done manually, others to reduce user error, and others to improve efficiency. All of which prove a return on investment of bringing more prospects into the funnel and generating revenue.
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For non-marketers, I like to keep it simple, high-level and use analogies that they can relate to.
Most people know what email marketing is at this point, like MailChimp. So I typically tell people the Marketing Automation is like an email platform on steroids, that allows not only for outbound communications, but for marketers to automate responses that feel personal based on online actions that people take, that feel very personal and deliver exactly what they person is looking for at that time. Beyond that it's a database management tool that allows us to basically put everything in a big pot, set it on simmer and see what rises to the top that's sales ready so that we can better route people when they're ready to talk to a sales person.
Are you familiar with Lead Forensics, we have had a discussion about getting e-mail addresses from Visitors on our site off their
IP addresses even though they did not fill a form with their e-mail address. Do you have any knowledge about this Technology?
I would recommend starting and additional post on this. I think you'll get some interesting responses from the community. That said, yes I have. Happy to share those with you either offline or I will respond to your new topic
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I like to use the pocket knife analogy - Yes, email platforms like MailChimp can do mail blasts (i.e. only includes the blade), whereas a marketing automation platform is like a fancy Swiss Army knife (i.e. also includes the nail file, folding scissors, screwdriver, can opener, nail clippers, tweezers and the toothpick) .
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I always find starting off with an example is the most relevant way to explain it. Personally, I have spent time working in a Car Dealership setting so I usually go with a car dealership purchase experience which is generally relatable for people. Asking questions, and having people engage and think about how they would approach it, I find makes it become clearer.
Q. How would you go about Purchasing a Car?
A. Well I'd Google it.
Perfect and so maybe you'd end up on a website for Toyota. Now we know you exist, but we don't know who you are. We refer to this as an Anonymous Lead. We don't know who you are, but we can start to learn some of your interests and build a profile, in case you decide to share more about yourself.
Option 1: You have kids, perhaps you are looking at our minivans and SUVs to be able to get them to Football Practice. (I'm from Canada, we say Hockey Practice up here).
Option 2: You don't have kids, so you were looking at a couple of our cars. Now, if you ask for more information about a dealership close by, we can help provide relevant content about vehicles that matter to you.
I think it's obvious how that conversation would proceed, so here it is condensed.
People relate to shopping for a car online - (Anonymous Lead), Self Identifying for more information (Known Lead), Requesting a Test Drive (MQL), Setting an appointment with a Sales Associate (SAL) and perhaps doing a Credit Check (SQL). Then they either buy (Closed Won) or don't buy (Closed Lost). It's a pretty quick example that gets them in the right frame of mind to show how and what Marketing Automation tools do as part of those various steps. Depending on if you are going for a long in-depth conversation, you can add in the information about the roll of Ad-Tech and Events to bring people in to the database and Direct Mail, E-mail, SMS in the distribution of your messages.
Once all that is shared, it's pretty easy to sum it up with, Marketing Automation utilizes technology to process large amounts of data to target the right person, at the right time, with the right message to achieve higher sales and improved customer satisfaction through a great customer experience.
I like to describe Marketing automation as if it's a robot to give it some personification while reinforcing the concept that it's all technology and machine driven!
This robot is very smart and can figure out things at a capacity way beyond any human. It can check look at thousands of "people" (aka lead records) and figure out what they want at a given moment and react accordingly, giving each person a very personalized experience! But this robot doesn't know how to react to a situation unless we give it instructions first. My "robot" is how I reference what is happening in the programs that I'm setting up: the signal, the action, and the result.
I've also heard a good way of defining marketing operations is that marketing is the art and marketing operations is the science.
Marketing Automation is a class of software that allows its users to manage their digital ecosystem in a way that produces an individual and unique experience for leads at any point in the buyer’s journey.
Through a mixture of Game Theory and Behavioral Economics, we are able to cultivate and redirect the lead’s interest, thus creating a more attractive exploration of the offers that most interest the particular lead.
Our activities in the Engagement Economy drives wantedness by proving our commitment to earning a customers’ business across every touchpoint—across the entire customer journey.
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It depends on who I'm talking to and how much time I have.
Option 1: I tell them that I manage our email marketing and database management. Then 90% of the time they follow up with "Oh, so you send spam." I then respond by saying that it is actually my job to make sure we don't send spam
Option 2: The analogy approach...I ask them if they've ever shopped online and put things in their shopping cart without buying the items. Then a few hours/days later they get an email saying "Hey, did you forget to check out?". I then tell them I coordinate and build the programs needed to make all of that happen. Even though, no company I've ever actually worked for used e-commerce, it is a way for them to understand on a very high level what I do.