Marketing Automation : The Latest Must-Have Software
Earlier this summer I attended the Built in Chicago Moxie Awards and met the energetic team at G2 Crowd. Voted for Best B2B Startup, the dozen or so employees in red shirts were easy to spot. I started talking with Adam Miller about marketing automation and the rest is history.
We’ve kept in touch the past few months and have gotten in several in-depth discussions on various marketing automation tools and what makes a great one. I invited Adam to write about marketing automation at a high-level to help begin the educational onboard for businesses and marketers stepping into the marketing automation pool for the first time.
When CRM software became must-have software (Salesforce launched in 1999) there was an inherent value in having an analyst or consultant help a company with its purchasing decision. These experts could simplify the buying process with their opinions and recommendations on how to implement the software. These were siloed purchases and integration across other products and platforms was less of an issue.
Today, this is no longer the case. Buying decisions have become increasingly complex and consumers have the power. With many implications attached to purchases, such as how a product will integrate with different types of software, marketing automation and CRM are important pieces of a company’s sales and marketing teams, yet neither system can exist on it’s own.
As buying decisions evolve, recommendations and user insight have become a crucial part of the purchase process. User reviews are a great way to get a pulse on how well marketing software integrates with other systems. The base expectation is that regardless of platform, these systems should perform essential marketing functions, such as social media, email marketing, lead nurturing, and individual campaigns.
Vendors are more tuned in with customers who want integration and often promote their partners when trying to sell their solution. Consultants are also explaining how their business partners integrate with other vendors and can advise their clients on how these products best integrate with each other.
Need an example?
Salesforce, in a nod to the increased popularity of integration, recently bought ExactTarget, meaning that Pardot, a marketing automation system, and ExactTarget’s email marketing platform are part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Last year, Oracle bought Eloqua for just north of $800 million, which started the “arms race” for CRM systems to buy their marketing automation counterparts.
In the near future, more CRM vendors will look to make marketing automation as part of their overall suite. This should come as good news to businesses as the differences between marketing automation and CRM continue to decrease.
Adam Miller is a Community Builder at G2 Crowd, a reviews site for business software. Go to g2crowd.com and review your favorite software.