Marketing automation is one of today's hottest technology areas. Fueled by major trends involving Big Data, marketing’s increasing responsibility for revenue performance, and the accessibility of software-as-a-service (SaaS), the adoption of marketing-automation platforms is growing at a 30 percent clip. Marketers across the B2B and B2C landscapes, including some of the largest companies in the world, are increasingly using these platforms and integrating them with CRM systems to create closed-loop marketing and sales environments.
With all of the fervor surrounding social media, marketing automation is evolving into what is being dubbed as “Marketing Automation 2.0.” Social-media conversations, and the resultant campaigns, are being managed through marketing-automation platforms. However, marketers need to step back and assess what this functionality is really providing them: that is, more customer interaction history based on basic levels of demographic and firmographic segmentation. In other words, limited competitive advantage.
Marketing Automation 3.0
Bottom line, Marketing Automation 2.0 doesn't go far enough in providing marketers with the sophisticated segmentation and profiling required to really accelerate revenue performance and a sustainable competitive advantage. It does begin at the basic building-block level, but it’s all in your data and how it is stored, manipulated, and used. Today’s marketing-automation platforms are not optimized to conduct true multichannel marketing campaigns that rely on sophisticated segmentation and profiling that can be applied at different stages of the customer life cycle. Here are the criteria that marketers need:
- the capability to integrate online and offline (financial, customer service, manufacturing) data
- the capability to match contacts beyond email address (Twitter handles, LinkedIn profiles, etc.)
- the addition of business rules to manage, improve, and use the right data sources at the right time
- the capability to use progressive profiling based on online and offline customer interactions
- the capability to create a complete customer profile mapped to the customer life cycle
If some of these criteria look familiar, it’s because they have their roots in database marketing and the use of the marketing data mart. Of course, the idea of database marketing might evoke complexity and cost, spanning many, many months to deploy and hundreds of thousands of dollars. And isn’t a benefit of the marketing-automation platform to eliminate this complexity? That is the popular perception.
Today, however, cloud computing is vastly altering the economics and time-to-implementation of marketing data marts by, in some cases, up to 80%. Marketing data marts are being built in the cloud with the same type of principles found in their marketing-automation and CRM SaaS counterparts. These new marketing data mart architectures promote the economies of scale, flexibility, and dynamism found in cloud computing. Furthermore, they are more readily able to take advantage of the new business-intelligence tools that are being specifically introduced to drive marketing analytics in the form of customer intelligence.
As a result, today’s marketing data marts are functioning as a customer intelligence hub, fully and seamlessly integrated with marketing automation platforms and CRM systems, to create true cloud-based, closed-loop marketing and sales environments. These environments, from a marketing perspective, are what Marketing Automation 3.0 is all about.
Next Page: The promise of Marketing Automation 3.0
Every marketing strategy needs to create a tipping point. Marketing Automation 3.0 is the tip of the spear that propels that strategy. Here's why.
The new cloud-based marketing data marts aggregate all customer interaction history, for all of your products, into actionable customer profiles. These data marts enable marketers to fully understand buyer behavior, across any marketing channel, at any stage of the customer life cycle.
Let’s go back to one of the original premises behind Marketing Automation 3.0–the Big Data trend. At any given moment in time, data is flowing freely across all of the touchpoints of your organization, from offline systems (e.g., customer service and manufacturing) to your online ones (e.g., email, mobile, Web site, Twitter, Facebook, online communities, and the media). The cloud-based marketing data mart’s purpose, rich in customer intelligence capabilities, aggregates these interactions and dramatically reduces the risk of opportunity cost in not marketing to your prospects and customers at the right time with the right offer.
Marketers fully understand that missed revenue opportunities abound within the sea of data their campaigns create, their sales forces generate, or within the normal scope of business. It’s what has fueled the real-time marketing trend for many years. But a crucial component is missing–an infinitely accessible, actionable, and scalable customer intelligence marketing hub that harnesses your Big Data and drives revenue performance to new levels.
That’s the promise of Marketing Automation 3.0, where marketing automation is brought to new heights through a cloud-based marketing data mart that functions as an intelligent marketing hub. This intelligent marketing hub drives marketers beyond the economic efficiencies of running automated campaigns to instead producing dramatic levels of ROI based on the kind of sophisticated segmentation and profiling that creates sustainable competitive advantage.
Like any innovation, it’s a progression. Just as search engines became contextualized advertising platforms and cell phones became smartphones, cloud-based database marketing is driving the evolution of Marketing Automation 3.0 into an intelligent marketing hub.