The Evolution of Marketing Automation
While aiming to promote products and services successfully in the market, businesses had realized the importance of adopting marketing strategies early on. Due to the intense competition, marketing strategies got infused with the technological innovations in order to evolve out as the modern marketing, which is now embedded in the customer’s lives and affecting it at a rapid pace.
Fortunately, from radio to internet and smart-phones, nowadays technology has revolutionized the ways marketers can reach to their potential customers. But, back then in the late 50’s, with almost no effective marketing channel, companies were finding it challenging to approach a huge customer base.
This is how automation technology came into existence. It has traced its origins back from a Customer Relationship Management or CRM that came out of Rolodexes and a pack of business cards. It acted as a rescuer for the companies who were endeavoring to maintain their employees and client’s records into a central knowledge group. But, in no course of time, it became the fundamental business element and started finding its applications in professional business services as well.
During the late 1980s, CRM platforms had gained more power in terms of customer support servicing, sales management, and forecasting. But, the high price tag kept it confined to few multinational corporations.
In 1999, Mark Benioff, the founder of Salesforce, invented the Monthly Licence (MLC) fee model, with aiming to offer cost-effective and agile business model, that further introduced SaaS or Software as a Service. And in contrast, this technology evolved out as an amalgam of email capability, web analytics, and the Marketing Resource Management (MRM). With the advent of the internet, marketers were seeking potential ways to reach their customers. The pioneer of this space Eloqua came in 1999 and developed a product, later renowned as automated marketing service in 2003.
Soon, the success of this trend led to the arrival of more players in the market such as Pardot, HubSpot, WhatsNexx etc, and industry started gaining momentum while shifting marketing automation services to cloud platforms.
By 2008, new platforms such as HubSpot, Act-On, ruled the market, and the advent of social media marketing, content management, search engine optimization made marketers incorporating a variety of automation tools.
In the period 2013-2014, the automation industry witnessed a huge growth financially through acquisitions when a giant marketing software company ExactTarget acquired a marketing automation company Pardot for $95.5 million and in turn, salesforce.com spent $2.5 billion to acquire ExactTarget, This is recorded as its largest acquisition ever.
I found people wondering if CRM and marketing automation co-exists. In fact, few consider the later as a subset of the CRM industry which follows one of the marketing laws suggested by Al Ries and Jack Trout. To clarify, CRM is sales focused software while the other is user-centric software that completely focuses on marketing strategy. Where a CRM manages company’s interactions with their customers, a automation software streamlines company’s marketing tasks, and work-flows. However, these two, together, go hands in hand and reinforce company’s insights and efficiencies. A good CRM-marketing automation integration unleashes an opportunity to handle data management and strategies marketing plans.
It can filter relevant data and required fields to standardize tagging and data, and ideal processes. Also, it can run auto-cleaning processes to clean the dumped data in a CRM system. Businesses utilizing automation software have witnessed an incredible growth of 451% in qualified leads and 14.5% in sales productivity as well as 12.2% marketing overhead reduction. We can conclude by saying that the future of marketing completely belongs to Marketing Automation.