Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, December 17, 1903. The Wright brothers produce what is officially described (thank you, Wikipedia) as “the first sustained, controlled, powered, heavier-than-air manned flight.” Little did they know that a first “flight” (almost a hop, really) of 120 feet lasting 12 seconds would, in a very short time, completely redefine the transportation industry.
A century later, marketers are feeling a similar lift from marketing automation software. And like the Wright brothers, we can only imagine where we’ll be in 10 years.
Some Before and After Observations
Consider just a few comparisons of life before marketing automation (BMA) software and after marketing automation (AMA) software’s arrival.
BMA: The segmenting of a prospect database, if it takes place at all, is done manually. Hours and hours are spent viewing records in the database or scanning a spreadsheet line-by-line to find the appropriate people to receive your next email blast.
AMA: The system is continually adding everything learned about a prospect to their record and can pull the perfect list for your next email blast in seconds. Literally, seconds.
BMA: Email campaigns are executed manually, with each phase requiring extensive work including the recording of new information about a prospect, the removal of unsubscribes from the list, the scheduling of the next blast, etc.
AMA: Prospect records are updated automatically, unsubscribes are pulled from the list, and the entire process flow is defined in advance so once it is initiated, a campaign can run from start-to-finish without any additional input from you.
BMA: A one-size-fits-all approach to email campaigns is used due to the enormous amount of work that would be required to have multiple paths within a campaign.
AMA: Prospects can be moved effortlessly (i.e. automatically) from one process flow to another, and nurtured differently based on their needs, their purchase timeline, and a whole host of other criteria.
BMA: Content was generic and boring.
AMA: Content is personalized, interesting, and engaging.
BMA: Server-based analytics tools are combed for hours, hoping to find a hint as to what website visitors are consuming, how much time they are spending on each piece of content, and speculating on whether the data is accurate and meaningful.
AMA: Website activity can be seen in real time as the visitor interacts with the content, and the system automatically sends alerts indicating each content item they are consuming.
BMA: What little can be known about the (online) marketing efforts of competitors requires significant and continual investment of time, expertise, and effort.
AMA: Competitors' online marketing efforts can be automatically monitored with comparisons and trends to help identify what’s working and what’s not.
BMA: Search engine optimization (SEO) of content requires constant diligence and most often falls short of optimal.
AMA: Each new piece of content is automatically checked for search engine optimization and recommendations presented in real time allowing content to be search engine–friendly prior to release.
These are just a few of the long list of time-freeing, business-building features we now enjoy thanks to marketing automation software. So, if we sound a little pumped here at 30dps when we talk about being a HubSpot Partner or how we support other marketing automation software platforms, it’s with good reason. The sky’s the limit with marketing automation systems and we’re having great success in helping our customers enjoy the ride.