Set the Record Straight: Marketing Automation vs. Email Programs

We attempt to set the record straight as we simply look at Marketing Automation systems as compared to Email Programs

We’ve been testing a variety of Marketing Automation programs; the ones we like we have agreed to offer as potential solutions to our clients.  In this space, there has recently been a multitude of white papers, ebooks, case studies, and webinars pushing the technology, hoping a key executive finally says to the boss- “I suppose we should look into this.”   As he/she should.  I’ve been writing more about marketing automation recently, and I wanted to bring about few key points:

For Marketing People:

  • Marketing Automation does not replace what you do; it enhances your value.  It does take work and effort to manage Marketing Automation systems, and if your company is not willing to assign the role internally, NuSpark Marketing will manage the platform and act as a conduit between your department and sales.
  • Your job is to advertise and promote your company towards those most likely to buy, and thus offer your sales people the leads most likely to close.  Marketing Automation, by nature of its ability to track your marketing, email, and web activity efforts, will help you qualify “buy-ready” leads for your sales people through lead nurturing via quality content and lead scoring.  Standard email programs are limited in identifying hot prospects.

For Sales People:

  • You have goals and quotas to meet.  It’s a competitive field you’re in, and you want to have the most intelligence you can.  Marketing Automation gives you that intelligence. By reviewing the activity of your leads via Marketing Automation dashboards, you’ll know if your quality leads viewed webinars, downloaded which white papers, viewed which pages on your site, and responded to which offers.  By knowing this information, you can customize your sales pitch and make it relevant; and that means enhancing relationships and more sales.
  • Your time will be spent more efficiently as you will only be spending time with quality high-scored leads and not the tire kickers.  Once marketing and sales define the level of lead by lead score you wish to receive, you’ll only get those high quality leads to manage.  Marketing Automation will hold back the low-scored leads, and will nurture them with timely emails and content until their activity raises their lead score. Once that lead score raises to the defined threshold, you get them.  When you spend time with quality leads, your close rates increase, and your revenue per deal increases.

Here are some examples on how Marketing Automation differs from standard email programs (like Contact Contact, AWeber, or Campaign Monitor):

1.  MA identifies companies and individuals that visit your site or landing pages, and based on their behavior, starts qualifying them as prospects.

2.  When these visitors perform specific actions or fill out web forms, they are automatically scored; when the score reaches a certain level, they can be sent directly to a CRM.  Most systems integrate well with, but also others. Those leads may also be routed to specific salespeople.

3.  When leads are captured, many MA systems automatically capture their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles for further intelligence gathering on contacts.

4.  Many MA systems track pay-per-click campaigns, and thus can correlate quality leads,  website behavior, and keyword entrances.

5.  Where email programs have nice email design modules, MA systems also include unique landing page creation modules. Landing pages are microsites that promote specific products/services with call-to-action web forms.  remember, websites need to be lead generators; not online brochures.

6.  Flexible lead scoring.  By determining weight levels of specific activities, prospects increase their score through ongoing lead nurturing (with MA) until a defined threshold is reached.

Here’s an example:  I set a lead grade of 50 points; meaning I don’t give leads to sales people through CRM until the prospects reach a lead score of 50.  Here’s what I assign specifically:

  • Prospect fills out a webform:  15 points
  • Prospect downloads a white paper on Technical Solutions: 15 points
  • Prospect visits our blog page: 5 points
  • Prospect enters a “gmail” or “” email:  Subtract 10 points
  • Prospect receives a nurture email and opens it: 5 points
  • Prospect clicks on a link within the email to read or download more content: 20 points
  • Prospect is a VP or higher (based on web form): 10 points

Again, once that lead performs a number of activities that total 50 points, he/she is considered a quality lead and then is sent to sales.

7.  Flexible Lead Nurturing Sequences.  By creating drip campaigns nurtured to specific lists via relevant content, prospects become quality leads vis lead scoring as described above. Here’s an example of how lead nurturing works with Marketing Automation:

First, it is important to make sure buyer profiles are developed before starting a drip nurturing campaign, because the content has to align with the prospect’s needs based on his/her persona and place in a purchase funnel (future blog post).  Two examples of profiles and specific content targeting those profiles:

  • Profile A: Technical buyer; middle management; interested in specific case studies, webinars, podcasts, and blogs that help solve problems in his department
  • Profile B: Executive buyer; upper management; interested in white papers and blogs that focus on overall ROI and revenue-generating issues and new processes.

Example of nurturing sequence for Profile A:

  • You promote a webinar on targeted media and social media channels
  • Prospect clicks to your landing page to learn more, and downloads the case study by submitting just name and email for now.  His computer receives a cookie.  His score is 15 points so far.
  • Two hours later, he gets an email, thanking him for the download, and includes a link to a podcast on a similar subject.
  • He clicks on the podcast link in the email. Add 5 points to the score.  His web activity shows he did not listen to the podcast yet.
  • Two days later, he gets an email with the same podcast link as a reminder; he also gets a link to the latest blog post.  Again, he opens the email. Add 5 points to his score.
  • This time, he clicks on the blog post link.  Add 5 points.
  • On your site is a Resources Page, which he visits.  Add 10 points.
  • From that he downloads another case study; this time the web form asks a little more information, like company name and job title.  Add 25 points.

The total lead score for this prospect is now 65 points; he’s engaged in the site and the content.  He’s a quality lead and now goes to sales to nurture the close.  By the way, if the prospect doesn’t download the case study, he’ll need to be nurtured again, perhaps a week or two later, with additional content until the lead score reaches the threshold.  Get it?

As you can see, Marketing Automation is so much more robust than standard email programs.  If you have a sales team, and sell a complex product or service, then Marketing Automation is the solution.   NuSpark Marketing is there for you to prepare how to implement the platform so that your company can close more sales rather than have those prospects leak out out of the funnel and buy from the competition instead.

To learn more:

Recent Blog Posts on Marketing Automation:

What It Is

Getting Ready

Here’s our website link to see some of the players and their demos:

Marketing Automation Demos

About Paul Mosenson

NuSpark Marketing Founder, Chief Lead Generation Strategist and Online Media Director An experienced B2B and B2C marketer, Paul has been helping clients generate leads and grow their businesses for over 25 years. Paul helps plan and optimize marketing and lead generation programs.

1 Comment

  1. Eric Goldman

    This is a great article – thanks for sharing. Your explanation of the differences between email and Inbound Marketing Automation (IMA) are concise and complete, and I liked some of the points you made concerning IMA’s benefits, too.

    I would add, although it’s implied by what you say, that IMA tools include email handlers and thus when calculating the expense of using implementing a solution, don’t forget to deduct from the monthly bill the amount you are now spending on email services.

    For anyone contemplating implementing an IMA system, however, I would caution you to first off ensure that you have a complete and up to date Marketing Strategy which includes the Inbound aspects of IMA, such as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, Social Media Marketing (SMM), and Pay-per-Click advertising (PPC). And you should also design a formal process specification around the the way you will run your IMA system, who will do what within it, and what metrics you will measure to evaluate success or failure.

    Such Process specifications are best designed with the concept of Continuous Process Improvements in mind. In other words, your Process should consist of the following 5 phases: Think, Plan, Do, Measure and Repeat. If you do run your IMA system this way, you will get better and better results each time you repeat the cycle.