Marketing Automation Hits the Mark
Marketing automation has been on the scene for years, but according to some industry pundits, it's finally taking hold because companies are seeing results, and then taking that ROI to lock in or improve their marketing budgets.
"Companies are...adopting the software based on the strength of the ROI from companies that have gone first," says Carol Meyer, vice president of marketing at Unica. Additionally, she says, the category of marketing automation is expanding. "Companies make an investment in a certain part of enterprise marketing automation...and because that has done so well they may increase what they are doing [by adding on] something like marketing resource management [MRM]."
MRM, according to Bill Godfrey, Aprimo president and CEO, is what's unlocking the ROI. "There's a lot of waste right now in how that marketing content is ordered, provisioned, and fulfilled, and marketing resource management strips out a lot of that waste."
According to Cristene Gonzalez Wertz, director at Fair Isaac, however, one of the missing elements is the discipline of planning campaigns in a way that allows marketers to measure ROI. "We're starting to see companies become more familiar with the concepts and the planning that's necessary up-front. There's more sophistication in the marketplace as far as people understanding what the tools can deliver," she says. "That in and of itself lends to an increase in campaign ROI."
In fact, 25 percent of respondents to the recent Forrester Research survey, "The State of Marketing Technology Adoption," said they are planning a marketing automation initiative. Thirty-six percent of consumer services firms surveyed, which includes financial services, retail, and travel, responded that they are currently planning a marketing initiative. "The consumer services firms have already built their customer data warehouse, and after you've built that, and you get some analytics in place, you build some customer insight," says Elana Anderson, senior analyst at Forrester. "Marketing automation is the next logical step, because it helps you do something with that insight." Consequently, Forrester is predicting "a bullish 2004--2007 in the marketing automation space--ten to fifteen percent growth in the market," Anderson says.
Scott Burdette, managing director in BearingPoint's consumer industrial technology solutions practice, sees a movement toward centralization. "A big trend that I see today is to try and centralize...things that are used around the marketing process into a central data repository tool. That cuts down all of the manual processes that are required today to try to organize and manage all of that."
And although there have been tools with which to handle elements like campaign management and procurement, Burdette expects to begin seeing the integration of such tools. "What we're seeing [emerge] is the integration of all of these tools, so you can manage all that in a single workflow. The actual output of the product is much better, because it is aligned and working together, as opposed to [being a] very disjointed processes."
Marketers Need Technology to Step Up
Automation, optimization, integration -- all critical to effective marketing, and all require technological involvement. Too bad the relationship between the two still has a few bugs.