The market now abounds with significant VC investments in innovative software vendors and mega vendors attempting to create a holistic process that begins with lead generation and proceeds through lead nurture, to sales, then to up-sell and cross-sell activities. The worldwide B2B market is estimated at $3 billion. Adoption of this solution is strongest among high tech firms, but there’s been tremendous uptake in other key verticals, including financial services, manufacturing and media. At this point, only 20% of B2B global companies have purchased Marketing Automation software; by 2016 this number is expected to increase to 50%.
So what is Marketing Automation today? There are six core components:
- Data quality, data integration, data analytics and list building
- Enablement of automated workflows for the development and execution of outbound or inbound customer marketing
- The ability to develop tactics such as emails, online registration forms, landing pages
- Lead management features for lead scoring, lead distribution and lead nurturing
- Visibility and access for sales into marketing campaign efforts
- Reporting, analytics, and dashboards
But the future is more than that. It’s the customer engagement – total cradle to grave management across relevant customer facing departments. The customer experience is personalized, using the social profile and other data to help determine the most relevant, impactful content and messaging, multi-channel engagement, and a customer-centric experience.
I believe companies that totally embrace this holistic, multifaceted view of their customers will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Photo credit David Ashford.