Despite economic doom and gloom, 2009 looks to be a banner year for Marketing Automation solutions. As organizations look corporate-wide for opportunities to trim budgets, marketing executives are re-thinking their marketing strategies to demonstrate measurable results – and of course, hold on to their budgets. According to the Aberdeen Group, in their recent report “Lead Nurturing: The Secret to Successful Lead Generation”, B2B marketing organizations expect to increase spending by 50% on lead nurturing and customer retention programs in 2009.
Just as Henry Ford used automation to produce an affordable car with increased efficiency of manufacture, Marketing Automation platforms are changing the way marketers drive demand with fewer resources. Solutions that automatically engage, manage, and qualify prospects have cleared the Gartner “Trough of Disillusionment,” and, with an additional push from a down economy, are rapidly finding a home in even the most non-analytic marketing organizations. E-mail and online marketing programs can be launched quickly, are cost effective, and provide immediate feedback. Whether you’re tracking responses to an email campaign or tracking each page a prospect touches on your web site, these programs are measurable and can be used to automatically trigger future more targeted messages the close more sales. Automation is key to constant and repeatable results.
Ford did not invent the concept of an assembly line, but he did perfect it. Before Ford, skilled craftsman built cars as a team, custom fitting parts and assembling them in place until each vehicle was complete. Automation reversed the process. Instead of workers going to the car, the car came to the worker who performed the same task of assembly over and over again. Ford reduced the assembly time of a Model T from 12 1/2 hours to less than 6 hours.
Marketing is one of the last business functions to embrace technology, automation, and true measurability. With internal competition for budget dollars and external competition for fewer customer dollars, the time to automate and follow the lead of Henry Ford has come.
Competition is the keen cutting edge of business, always shaving away at costs. -Henry Ford