Episode 1: What is Marketing Automation?

Episode 1: What is Marketing Automation?

In our very first episode, host Chris Davis examines what marketing automation is and how you can apply it to your business.


Join us for a comprehensive breakdown of marketing automation. By likening marketing automation to a car, Chris clearly defines its many parts and demonstrates how they work together to generate leads, engage leads, and convert them to customers.
He explains how marketing automation differs from — and in fact encompasses — email marketing. This episode delivers complex information in a digestible manner at an easy-to-follow pace. We cover everything that marketing automation can facilitate for your business, demonstrating how a platform like ActiveCampaign can indeed help you work smarter, not harder.
In this car analogy, you are the driver. You are the visionary. Listen to Episode 1 to learn how you can drive your business to new destinations, faster than ever with marketing automation.
Chris Davis: Welcome to the new ActiveCampaign Podcast with your host, Chris Davis, currently the Director of Education here at ActiveCampaign and I’m excited about this inaugural episode where we are going to define marketing automation. Yes, this episode is all about what is marketing automation? Let’s dive in.
I recall a few years back, I was attending a conference [00:00:30] for marketing automation consultants and on the stage was a very well-known internet marketer named Brendon Burchard. He’s made a statement. He was encouraging all of us in the crowd. He said, “You guys are gonna be so important to the future of small businesses because marketing automation is a piloting platform. It is just launching and you guys are on the ground level.” Of course, as a consultant, a budding consultant at the time, [00:01:00] it was just like, “Yeah!” Right? You got your journaling going, you’re jumping up and down, and you just hope that that’s true for your sake.
It has been nothing but a pleasure to watch those words take form and in turn true within the last few years. It hasn’t even taken a long time. I have the pleasure to, A, be a part of it and, B, witness it shape and take different [00:01:30] forms. I am excited to really break down what this new tool for small businesses that they can leverage to remove themselves from their business, to work on their business, and really operate as the enterprises that they should be. I’m going to dive right into it. This is going to be packed full of me. You may have [00:02:00] to rewind it a few times but that’s okay. I want you to understand this space, this tool so that you don’t abuse it, so your expectations are properly set when you approach it and you know exactly what to do to get the desired results out of it.
Let’s start with some history. Is marketing automation new? Absolutely not. Marketing automation has been around forever. It’s just the the [00:02:30] progression of technology has really infused its growth and its exposure. Here’s what I mean. A lot of the tools that we use and have available to us today were only available to enterprises, so big corporations like General Mills or Best Buy or Target. They were the only ones that had the big bucks to really pay for the technology. As technology as I mention has progressed, that [00:03:00] price point has dropped and has people have more widely adapted and adopted new technologies, the price point continues to be more and more competitive, thus, giving the small business owner the same tools that were once exclusive to enterprises. Now that we have the same tools at our disposal, we can operate like big enterprises.
[00:03:30] The idea of a marketing automation, in a sense, has always existed. It’s just now that it’s become more tangible to the small business and small enterprise that it’s taking a lot different form. Marketing automation is, in many ways, seen in in the history of corporations as employees, managers, and people other than reporting up, [00:04:00] doing tasks for the CEO of the company in a way that does not require or mandate his time or her time. The very purest, pure form of automation is delegation, delegating the necessary tasks to those responsible enough to execute it consistently for business growth. With that in mind, the definition [00:04:30] of marketing automation is the process of employing technology to continuously execute your marketing strategy.
What we did was technology came around and we say, “Hey, look. We no longer need people. We no longer need to delegate to people all the time. we can now delegate, delegate to technology.” A perfect example nowadays [00:05:00] is the self-checkout. I remember when the self-checkout kiosk first started and people were so hesitant. Now it’s like you can’t stop somebody from going to self-checkout. Somebody can be at the end of the line saying, “Hey, I can check you out over here,” and then I walk right past him and go to self-checkout because it’s faster. As a business owner, so like a Target, Walmart, whatever store you now took what used to take one-on-one engagement [00:05:30] and you just take one cashier, one person at a time to check them out and the line just got long. Now this self-checkout, you’ll see you have one cashier manning four or sometimes eight self-checkout lanes. This idea what automation is is moving from one-to-one to one-to-some for scale and business growth.
Now in saying that, I’m just assuming [00:06:00] that you have processes and systems in place because they are the backbone to automation. When we talk about execution, that’s what it is. Automation doesn’t stand on its own. It’s comprised of systems, systems in your business that are made up of processes that are running synchronous to each [00:06:30] other. When I talk about synchronous operational systems, essentially I’m talking about third-party platforms. We’re in a day and age where it is expected, if you’re going to be doing any kind of digital marketing, that you’re going to be integrating multiple platforms. The term for this is called a stack, a marketing stack. It’s the combination of tools that you need in order to execute [00:07:00] your marketing. How those tools talk, they have to be in sync.
Let me give you an example of being in sync. Let’s say I have a shopping cart platform. When someone makes a purchase, I need to send them an email. My shopping cart platform is only able to send a notification internally that a purchase has taken place. What do I want to do? I want to send that notification to my email [00:07:30] platform. While my email platform receives that notification, it needs to fire an email off to that new customer confirming their purchase. That synchronous communication is what we call automation. Beforehand, it took somebody on the phone, “Can I have your credit card,” writing down the credit card information and then perhaps that person was the one sending out the email or maybe that purchase triggers someone else [00:08:00] in another department and they sent off email. Now technology is doing all of that.
In the end, if there’s one word that I would summarize marketing automation as, it will be a facilitator. Marketing automation is a facilitator of your business, sitting, waiting, willing, ready, asking, “What can I facilitate for you today? Hello, business owner. What can I facilitate for you today?” [00:08:30] It’s always asking that. That question is continuously being asked throughout the day because technology doesn’t wear out, does he get tired, doesn’t show up late, doesn’t get sick. It just needs to be told what to do, unlike humans who, dependent on who you hire, could feel a certain way you telling them what to do so. Understanding what marketing automation is and its role of facilitation of your marketing strategy [00:09:00] and it’s not limited to your marketing strategy. It encompasses your sales strategy as well. It’s a facilitator of your business processes and systems for the sake of enabling you to scale as fast as your strategy enables you to.
In that vein, the three goals of marketing automation are to acquire leads [00:09:30] and in all of these goals are the requirement is they have to happen continuously. Hour after hour around the clock, 24/7, these three things have to happen: acquire leads, engage those leads, and close those leads. That’s the three criteria. Everything that you would do within the marketing automation [00:10:00] platform will fall under those three categories because the acquisition process is for both prospects and customers. I may need to acquire you first from a prospect to a customer but then I have to take you to the acquisition process again when I take you from Customer A to Customer B, cross-selling or upselling. An engagement is consistent throughout it all.
As a lead, I’m engaging you to become a customer. [00:10:30] As a customer I’m engaging you for retention purposes and upgrade purposes and cross-selling, and close is the old adage in sales, always be closing. You’re always closing the deals. You don’t stop when you get a customer. No. In fact, it’s easier to get a customer to give you money again than it is to generate an entirely new lead. This is why the goals of marketing [00:11:00] automation so important, acquiring, engaging, and close, and understanding the breadth of which it does it between customers and leads. Having that foundational understanding of it will help you when you approach it and you start executing it to keep those as your guiding principle.
I know a lot of this already. If you’re in the marketing automation space, this is music to your ears. You’re sitting back like, “Yes! He gets it. [00:11:30] That’s what it is.” You’ve got fuel, you’ve got a better way to explain it to your clients now. You have a better understanding of what it is. Your confidence should be rising right now and I’m happy for that, but the reality is that there is a lot of people, there are a lot of people, that don’t understand it at the level that you do. There are people that want to use marketing automation. They want to be part of the crowd. They see [00:12:00] businesses leveraging it all the time. they see it. They see these solopreneurs or these small enterprises just scaling these startups and they want a piece of it.
I have an analogy that I’m going to provide for you today that hopefully it brings that understanding down to whatever, down or up to whatever level that you’re [00:12:30] at. If I can for a minute, if you could allow me to liken automation and turning your business into an automated system, if I could liken that to that of an automobile and its system where there’s a compilation of independent parts working in tandem to achieve a common goal. [00:13:00] What is that common goal? Move forward. Every now and then, yes, you’ve got to reverse but the goal, the purpose of an automobile is forward motion. Very rarely do people get in the car to go backwards. It’s a very specific case and when they do, it’s the back out of a bad situation to go forward into another one. I feel that this analogy is very fitting [00:13:30] to building an automated system, building your business, to be an automated system.
What I need you to do for the next few minutes is envision your business as the vehicle that facilitates the customer journey. Your business is now that vehicle. Let’s talk about the components of this vehicle, likening an automobile to a automated system, [00:14:00] AKA your business and it all begins with you. You’re the visionary. As the visionary, you play the role of the driver, the driver of this vehicle, this system. You’re the one that determines: Who is it that you want to serve? What impact do you desire your business to make on the world? As the visionary, you’re responsible for navigating your business in that direction [00:14:30] and making the adjustments when necessary. You can’t delegate it. You can’t outsource it. You are the business owner, the visionary. Without you, there’s nobody in that seat to drive this vehicle, to operate this system. That relies, that sole responsibility relies on you as it should.
As the visionary, [00:15:00] in order to move, in order to have any form of progress in your business in this new system we’re talking about, you’re going to need a motor. Your motor is going to serve as your ability to automate. Your motor is your automation. it’s the central processing unit of your entire system. In this way, automation becomes [00:15:30] the functionality in which all other parts communicate to and through. Your motor is receiving multiple inputs and producing the desired output to accurately operate your business, your system, your automobile. It is the center of all that you do allowing you to just simply, as the driver, it allows you to just focus on the inputs. What is [00:16:00] the input to the to the motor is hitting the gas pedal. It’s going to send the signal to the motor. “Hey, we need to accelerate.” That motor is going to send a signal to other components, other parts of the system to say, “Based on this input, it’s time to produce this output.” That’s the role that automation plays.
Now, you can’t have a fully functioning motor without oil. A [00:16:30] motor is just a huge chunk of metal without oil to lubricate it and help it run. Thus, the oil becomes your processes. Without processes, there is no automation. Because it leads to the question: what are we automating in the first place? [00:17:00] If you’re not clear and you don’t understand your processes and then you go to implement automation in your business, you’re going to hit a wall faster than you, you’re going to lose before you start because marketing automation requires the presence of processes. The more clearly defined those processes are is the higher quality the oil for [00:17:30] your motor is. When processes become outdated and ineffective, you run the risk of damaging your motor. This is that dreaded saying: “Well, we’ve always done it this way.” Right? “Hey, wha- why are we do …” “I don’t know. It’s always been like that.”
Sometimes we need to do the oil check. Any automobile [00:18:00] after X amount of miles, it is required that you check the oil and make sure that not only do you have the right amount but it’s not contaminated, it’s not [dirty 00:18:12]. There’s so much that can go on in the system. Same with your business, there’s so many different changes to your market, your audience, the technology, the landscape, your competition. You have to always make sure that your processes are on point, top-notch, fine-tuned [00:18:30] to execute, to provide your motor. Put it in a position to win. This is how automation and processes play. They’re hand-in-hand. They go hand-in-hand. You can’t separate one without the other. If you did, if we just focus on the processes, again, we’re going back. We’re going back in time when we had employees and then people doing everything.
Automation is the motor your. Processes [00:19:00] are the oil. We now have the foundation to at least move. We can move now. We got a motor that’s functioning and the next thing we need is a frame, a frame for our system, our automobile, the frame for its body. This is what your framework is. Your frame is your framework and that is used to implement your standard processes. [00:19:30] Now, your processes are confined by the framework in which you create to execute them in. Your framework is the underlying structure of your entire system. It creates movement from the output of the motor because the output of the motor is generated by the processes. To put it simply, your framework is how you get things done. [00:20:00] It doesn’t matter if you have the marketing automation tool and the processes if you don’t have an overall framework in which encompasses it all to allow you to actually accomplish something in your business.
We’ve got automation as the motor. We’ve got the processes as oil ad we’ve got a frame. In that, we’re just going to assume by frame, I mean, we’ve got wheels, axle, rods. Everything required. [00:20:30] You’ve got your body, your doors, everything that you need. This vehicle is now ready for forward progression. At this point, we’re ready for forward progression. What do we need? What do we need to move forward? You need fuel. It doesn’t matter how beautiful you built the car, that nothing matters if you don’t have fuel. What is fuel? [00:21:00] Fuel is your marketing strategy.
You will continuously, throughout this podcast, hear me emphasize the importance of having a sound marketing strategy. You can’t buy this at the store. You can’t hire a guru to define this for you. As the business owner, it is your job to come up with the marketing strategy. [00:21:30] Now, there are certain cases or perhaps you have a business partner, equal ownership and they do the marketing, you do the business operation. What I’m saying is the marketing expertise must reside in your business. Anybody outside of your business should not know more about how to market your business than you. With no strategy, you have no fuel, you have no progression. [00:22:00] A lot of people are, they have a car with the empty tank. Instead of filling it with strategy, they’re looking to replace the motor. They’re, “Oh, I think I need an oil change. Let me put air in the tires.” They’re looking at everything else but their strategy and it’s your strategy that fuels everything. Not only does your strategy [00:22:30] provide your system with the fuel to move forward, given that you also want to put the best type of fuel in your car.
I remember I was living in Ohio one time, not one time, a while back, and it was around the time when gas prices in the USA had really spiked. People would drive miles to get [00:23:00] to a gas station that had lower gas prices. There was this particular gas station by my job at the time that was always filled. I mean any time of the day you go there and the cars were just overflowing into the street. The price was ridiculously lower than all other gas stations in the area. I’m talking about almost an entire dollar. Now people would drive miles just to save $0.10. This gas station was almost like a dollar [00:23:30] lower and always scratching my head and was like, “How can they do this? How is this possible?” Come to find out, it was watered down fuel. They were diluting the fuel, of course, to make a regular amount, a regular liter of gasoline now became four or five liters. People would put this in their car and their cars would literally fall apart. The engine [00:24:00] would lock up. They have all kind of issues.
What that showed me is, at that point, I had never really given thought to the quality of fuel that we put in our cars. When we liken this to marketing automation and the fuel is our strategy, our strategy determines the type of fuel that we need to put in. Our strategy is the fuel and it determines the type of fuel. What that means is my strategy determines, with a strategy [00:24:30] in place, I can now move forward. That strategy is also going to help me determine the tools that I need to implement. That is very important because, just like crappy fuel, if I’m using crappy tools, I’m going to have the same result as someone else who isn’t doing anything. I’ll produce absolutely nothing and it’ll feel worse because I’ve got money on the line.
[00:25:00] We use our strategy to guide us in the decision-making process of what tools we need to use. You don’t have to go to a blog or go to a Facebook group or hire another guru and ask them, “Hey, what tools should I be using?” There’s nothing wrong with asking but at the end of the day it’s going to be your strategy that dictates which tool [00:25:30] is the best for you. I’m not just talking about marketing automation, in everything, which webinar platform if you’re running webinars, which email marketing system, maybe you’re doing direct mailing. You’re going to require an entirely different platform than someone who’s doing eCommerce. It’s not a one-fits-all solution out here where people are like, “Well, uh, so and so is using this tool so I wanna use it.”
It [00:26:00] really depends on your strategy and your strategy is the fuel that’s going to help your framework, help your processes be executed within your framework, which is all independent to your particular system business so it should look different. It should look different. That’s the role of your strategy. I can’t stress how important your strategy is [00:26:30] to help you go forward with not only the fuel but the tools, fuel and tools. You get it all from your strategy.
ow we’re moving. We’re moving now. What’s the fastest way to crash when you’re moving is to simply stop paying attention to all of the signs around you that tell you when to stop, when to speed up, when to slow down, [00:27:00] when to turn left, when to turn right. If you ignore all of those, you are guaranteed 100% going to crash. That’s what your analytics in your business prevent you from doing. Your analytics provide the insight on how well your business is doing and any adjustments or optimizations you make in your business should always be backed up with that data. As a vehicle, we have our GPS [00:27:30] unit and our dashboard that tells us our miles per hour, the amount of fuel that we have, the time, the arrival time, maybe it helps us understand the traffic. We’re looking at all of this data and we’re making the necessary adjustments.
We’re not flying blind. We’re not saying, “Hey, if I just go straight, I’ll get there. No need to look at, you know, my, my, my navigation unit that’s telling me to turn [00:28:00] left. No, no need to look at my, my, uh, speed barometer that’s showing that I’m going too fast or too slow and a crash is imminent.” You have to be navigated by the numbers in your business if you are going to be successful and if you’re going to effectively execute automation and build your business as a system. You have to pay attention [00:28:30] to your analytics and dashboard. Remember, if I’m not paying attention to this, I don’t see my fuel indicator. What’s the importance of that? Your marketing strategy is always evolving so one thing, you may have filled up on one thing, it may have gotten you 3 to 400 miles but you’re going to need to refuel. It’s your analytics that tell you. It tells you how well your marketing strategy is working. [00:29:00] It will tell you that and it’ll let you know, “Hey, look. We need a new strategy. Hey, pullover. We need to fill up.”
If you’re listening to your, if you’re paying attention to your own analytics in your business, no longer do you have to pull over off your path and ask strangers how to get to where you’re trying to go. That’s a bad sign in business if you’re navigating, [00:29:30] if you’re driving, you’re operating your system and you have no clue how to get to where you’re going. I’m not saying, I don’t want you to take that as you’re expected to know everything but before you reach …
Here’s a great example. I’m an avid watcher of Shark Tank. When people are on Shark Tank, the sharks always ask them for their numbers. If they don’t know their numbers, nine times out of 10 [00:30:00] they don’t get a deal because that shark is going to, they’re looking at it like, “I can’t even assess the vitality of your business because you don’t even know it. I’m not gonna do the extra work to figure it out.” That is 100% your responsibility. You’re supposed to know that. You have to know your numbers. Now, once you know your numbers and you’ve done all you can do, you’ve made all the adjustments and you simply can’t make it to where you’re trying to get, absolutely. [00:30:30] That’s when you go and get help. Maybe there’s someone who’s traveled that path and you’re like, “Hey, let me just follow you for a few miles.” You have to own the the understanding of the analytics in your business.
We’re finishing up here. Now you have everything in place. You built your business, [how 00:30:59] you [00:31:00] got your strategy, you’ve got the fuel, you’ve got the motor, you’ve got the processes, the oil, you got to drive. You’re ready to go. Your business is customer journey ready. How does a customer then get into your database? How do they get into your business to start this journey? What is the key to unlock the door to the passenger side so that they can sit in and start this journey? The key to it all is [00:31:30] clarity. Clarity is the key. Clarity of your messaging, that’s what instructs them on the next steps to take in your business. It unlocks the door and provides the easy path to the [seat 00:31:50], so the more clear your messaging is, the easier it is to unlock the door and sit down.
I don’t know about you all that [00:32:00] are listening but there was a point in time where I didn’t have the best operating car. When I stuck the key into the door, I had to jiggle it a little bit, I had to shake it and then maybe apply a little pressure to the handle in order to unlock the door. In this instance, we would say that my messaging wasn’t as clear because people are not going to work that hard. If they have to work, they don’t want to. In fact, you need those cars, the Lamborghini, [00:32:30] the sports cars. I forget the name of the doors, the butterfly doors that just open for you, or you hit a button that they just open vertical for you. You sit down and then they close.
That is ultimate clarity in your messaging. It makes getting into your business easy, that entire processes and it’s all in your messaging. It’s all in your messaging. Your ability to clearly communicate with [00:33:00] your target audience, your ability to do that effectively is what I’m talking about when I say clearly and it’s key. It is key and it’s the key for them to get in your business. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got everything [down packed 00:33:20]. Listen. This vehicle can go across country with one tank of gas. I’ve got it all figured out. If nobody’s going along the journey with you, [00:33:30] so what? So what?
Lastly, the last thing that we need when we’re talking about building a system, systemizing your business with automation, is timing. Timing is everything. Timing in business is similar to a timing belt in an automobile. One slip, just one slip of your automobile’s timing [00:34:00] belt can prohibit the engine from running. That’s it. That’s all that needs to be is out of sync one time and your entire, your car won’t start. Literally, it will not start. Timing is so critical that if you can’t get it right, it’s so important that if you can’t execute the correct timing, it’s time to look at your motor, your automation platform, [00:34:30] and say, “Look. I, I may need to get another platform.” If you can’t get the time that you need, what do I mean by timing? I mean sending the right message to the right person at the right time.
You have to have all three of those lined up and accurate in order for the customer journey to be effective. One slip on each one, “Hey, I had the right message and, and the right time.” Wrong [00:35:00] person. “Well, I had the right, the right person and the right message.” Wrong time. “I had the right person and the right time.” Wrong message. Any failure in one of those three is you’re shooting yourself in the foot. That’s what’s going to happen. This is the importance of timing. In fact, this is one of the main criteria that I judge marketing automation platforms by. How [00:35:30] effective and easy can you keep my timing? How can you get my timing just right? Because all are not created equal and we’ll talk about that in a minute.
Now that you see it, you see what it takes to truly build your business into an automated system, how to how to position yourself to where you [00:36:00] can stay on the outside of your business, operating it at the input level and being confident with the outputs that it produces and the good part with all these systems in place and operating in sync with one another. This vehicle, this car, this new business provide you a proven system to operate within, [00:36:30] a proven system. That’s your automobile. What’s a scaled version of an automobile?
Let me pause. Let me pause before I get to the scale because it’s important that you have in automobile. Remember, an automobile is you’ve got someone in the passenger seat. Think of it like a taxi or something like that and it’s one-to-one. You pick somebody up. You’re taking them on the customer journey. You get to the destination. You drop them off. [00:37:00] Next, go get somebody else. This automobile can hold up the three or four people. That’s still what I will consider one-to-one in business. Pick these people up, drive, drop them off. Got some more customers. Go pick them up, drive, drop them off. What’s important is that you at least have an automobile. I don’t care if it’s a Benz. I don’t care if it’s an Audi. I don’t care if it’s a Corvette. It’s an automobile. Most people, [00:37:30] all you need is a hooptie to get started in business.
You know what? In business, it’s better to get familiar with the entire journey than to focus on specific parts and trying to master them. I’ll take a broken down car that barely gets from point A to B so I can experience the whole journey than a beautiful car that can only get me a fraction of the way. Instead of focusing [00:38:00] on the entire journey, I’m just focused on getting more rims for my car or fixing the paint job, changing the paint colors. Everything is aesthetic to me that makes me look good because it makes me feel good because it looks good. Whereas you got somebody in his broken down beater, you can hear him a mile away. Every time they accelerate, it sounds like a gunshot and people are falling to the ground because they’re scared, but he can make it through [00:38:30] the whole journey from point A to B. You give me that vehicle because, essentially, especially with marketing automation especially when automating your business, you only need one proven path from stranger to customer. You flush that entire path out.
The next step is to optimize. That’s when we go back and say, “Okay. I’ve driven this path about a hundred times. Right? I know [00:39:00] what it takes. If I could just get some better tires, I can move twice as fast. I can’t carry as many people but if by moving twice as fast, I can service more people. Right?” You improve your wheels and then, step-by-step, you improve along the way. A scale version of this car, this automobile that we’ve taken and created this analogy out of, a scale version is a train. It’s a train, [00:39:30] is it not, multiple cars? Look how that works, multiple cars working in tandem with one another to get to a specific destination. You start with a car and then you use scale to a train.
The ultimate goal of automation now is to graduate from car driver to train conductor. That’s it. You’re [00:40:00] in business to be a conductor, not a driver. This is what’s wrong with a lot of people. They’re still driving. They’re still in it doing the shifting and [they instruct the 00:40:11] feeling of the gas. You should be the conductor. All of these buses behind you and you’re just directing multiple stops, multiple lead generating strategies, to fill [00:40:30] the cars on your train. It may take you a little longer to get started because you’ve got all of these leads to bring on. Trust me. You’re going to be able to serve more people and take them to their destination much faster than any car would ever be able to.
To put a bow on this thing, marketing automation [00:41:00] when we liken it to an automobile is building a synchronous system with multiple parts working in tandem with one another for forward progress in your business. What you have that forward progress, that one path from A to B, you optimize it with the end goal of scaling from car driver to train conductor. That’s it. That’s marketing automation. It doesn’t get any more complicated than [00:41:30] that. I’m hoping that this is starting to really help you envision, not only marketing automation but how all the parts play with each other, how to truly create this business that you desire, that you’ve heard, that you’ve read about, that you’ve seen. You’ve seen other people do it.
I tell you what. Instead of driving Uber all day, what if you could just drive one train from one destination [00:42:00] to the next and your day is finished. Two, three hours, maybe four. Sound familiar, 4-Hour Work Week? And you’re done. This is how you achieve it. That’s how a marketing automation helps you to achieve that end result. With all that being said, I’m confident. I’m confident that that helps. At a bare minimum, that helps. For a lot of people, that’s [00:42:30] you get it now. You get it. “Omigosh, I need processes. I need to, I need to understand my processes so I can put them in the system. Once they’re in the system, I can employ technology to facilitate these systems for me. Oh, my goodness. Let’s get on it.”
You see it, you do, but I tell you what. It’s still a bit confusing. The space is confusing because you have so [00:43:00] many platforms that are claiming automation and they really don’t do automation. If you allow me just a few more minutes to help clarify what automation is with respect to email marketing because you’re going to get that a lot if you’re looking at platforms or if you’re a consultant and you have clients that are asking, “Hey, what about this platform against this platform?” Depending [00:43:30] on how long you’ve been in the space, you just shake your head, the face palm, like, “Omigosh, did they just compare that email marketing platform to a marketing automation?”
I’m going to tell you now before I get started with this, I’m doing no name dropping. I’m not mentioning any other platforms but I’m going to be able to tell you clearly the difference between email marketing and marketing automation. I’ll also introduce the third [00:44:00] category that has arisen, that has come up, that has really grown in the last few years and it’s warranted. It is warranted. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
Let’s start with email marketing. Email marketing, automation, before I go into this, let me, I’m going to break all of these down [00:44:30] from the perspective of automation. Every time I talk, I’m talking from the perspective of automation. Before we go into this, it’s important to note that email marketing is not the same as marketing automation. Let me just make that statement right now. If it’s not the same, do not compare it as if it is. Do not compare apple to orange [00:45:00] and try to eat the skin of the orange. You will be in for quite the surprise and taste experience, so don’t do it. They’re two totally different things now. Email marketing is encompassed by marketing automation and market automation encompasses email marketing. Marketing automation can do email marketing and some were email marketing cannot do for marketing automation.
Let’s start with marketing automation, [00:45:30] I meant, with email marketing, start with email marketing. Email marketing specific to automation is the process of automating the sending of email. The automation revolves around the ability to send email. That’s it. The whole [purpose 00:45:56], when you’re looking at these email marketing platforms and they put a [00:46:00] label like automation or marketing automation out there, the end goal is always to send emails. That’s it. Because in email marketing, the contact can’t exist without an email address. That is what creates a contact. They exist on a list and they need to have an email address. In that sense, everything revolves around that email address, the sending of emails. Everything you do, if they say, “Hey, [00:46:30] when, when they click on this link, we’re gonna move them from one list to another so we can send them targeted communication.”
It’s all about the sending of email. What did I just say? Remember, I said your strategy should dictate your tool. If your strategy is saying, “All I need to do is send timely emails,” guess what, all you need is email marketing. That’s all you need. If somebody judges you and tries to tell you, “Oh, you’re behind on the times,” they don’t know your strategy. [00:47:00] Have more faith in your strategy and less in what everybody else is telling you to do. That’s email marketing, platforms that are list-based that only send email. When it inch in the execution of automation in these platforms results in more emails being sent. That’s it. That’s email marketing. That’s as far as you’re going to get by definition. [00:47:30] It’s not that I’m saying these platforms are limited. It’s what they do. Email marketing is the process of marketing with email. We don’t have to over-complicate this thing at all.
Let’s jump into marketing automation. What’s so different about marketing automation? Marketing automation is the process of automating your entire marketing strategy. What do I mean by entire? I mean both internal [00:48:00] and external. Where email marketing is all external, marketing automation can be both internal and external. There can be things that are automated inside of a business that a customer never sees. Whereas in email marketing, a customer is pretty much always on the receiving end as result of your automation but marketing automation, the automation revolves around your ability, the ability to run [00:48:30] your marketing.
The simple question is this: if you’re like, “Well, how do I know if I, if I need email marketing or marketing automation?” Does your marketing require more than sending emails? Do you have some fulfillment processes? Do you have some sales processes that have some physical touch points, some human interaction? Do the pages that people visit on your website, [00:49:00] does that matter? Do you need to score your contacts based on their behavior. Do you need to track their behavior around the web? These are questions that you have to get clear on because the choice between email marketing and marketing automation is not as simple as, “Oh, this is free and, and this is $30 a month.” If that’s what you’re basing your decision on, very ill-advised.
If [00:49:30] I could play psychic, if I could put on my crystal ball in front of you, I can tell you that the same person who’s choosing a platform by price alone is only going to continue to jump from platform to platform. Whereas if you take somebody who has a strategy, just like going to the grocery store on empty stomach, you go to the grocery store on empty stomach, everything looks good. Everything looks good. You want the [00:50:00] crackers. You want this cheese that you’ve never seen. This pizza, this vegetarian pizza all of a sudden looks good and you know you love pepperoni and sausage but you’re starving so anything looks good. For a while, as you’re eating it, it tastes good. Virtual hand raised, have you ever eaten something and it tasted good because you were so hungry but as the hunger subsided you started to really [taste 00:50:26] what you were eating? You are like, “Yuck! What [00:50:30] is this?”
That’s what happens when you pick platforms based on the wrong criteria and mainly its price. Will you go get a platform because it’s free or you get a platform because it’s very low cost? Without visiting your strategy, without knowing your strategy, by the time you really get to understanding your needs, you look up and you’re like, “Omigosh! This, this tool can’t do any of that.” Right? That’s why I say, “Listen. [00:51:00] Listen. Listen to me.” Listening to me and this podcast will save you so much time, energy, effort, and money. Don’t do it. Understand your strategy because you need to know if your strategy requires marketing automation.
Lastly, the biggest differentiation between marketing automation to email marketing is the CRM. It’s the CRM. It’s a critical element to marketing automation is the CRM [00:51:30] because, with the CRM in place, contacts can exist without an email address. You can have a first name and a phone number. There are businesses that that’s what they need to start the nurturing process. They don’t need the email. They don’t need to send you an email. They need to call you, get you on the phone and close the deal. That is a huge, huge differentiation between email marketing and marketing automation. If you need a CRM, do you know …
How do I know if I need CRM? [00:52:00] Do you have a manual sales process? Is the way that you sell your product and fulfill it not 100% reliant on the Internet, it’s not a digital-only product? If it is a digital-only product, it requires some human processes or interaction in the process of selling it. You need a CRM. Do you have multiple people touching a contact to close them? You need a CRM? [00:52:30] Does your sales cycle take longer than a couple weeks of them visiting your website? You probably need a CRM. If those are some of the factors that you’re saying, “Yes, I need that. Oh, omigosh! Yes, you’re right.” Do you have a team that has processes that they hand off and notify internally what’s going on? You need a CRM.
I’d like to see you do it with the email marketing. What you’ll [00:53:00] end up is some crazy stack of email marketing platform tied into some other project management platform sending stuff to a Google sheet using an Excel sheet as your contact database all because your strategy and tools are not aligned. That’s the difference between email marketing and marketing automation. Hopefully, as a business owner, that helps clarify why you need one without the other. As a consultant, that gives you some understanding of how to position each [00:53:30] platform.
Lastly, I want to talk about what I call advanced email marketing. Let me take a step back and talk about marketing automation, the core components of marketing automation. I said the CRM is a core component of marketing automation. Some of the core components are tags, not necessary but they exist in a lot of marketing automation platforms. Custom fields, custom fields [00:54:00] are a core component and require web tracking, analytics, what else, conditions, condition-based actions. We call them triggers. When a particular set of criteria is met, something happens. The more [00:54:30] criteria the platform has, the stronger the automation will be.
Email marketing, you can do like: Have they opened? Have they clicked? Have they received this email? Have they purchased a product. That’s essentially the criteria, wherein marketing automation, look, you can say, “Hey, our … Do they visit this page, uh, in this geographic location on this day after opening this email? Then [00:55:00] do this.” We’re talking about moat of a deep criteria, segmentation. Segmenting is the underlying theme of marketing automation is to become more segmented and targeted with your messaging and your operations, so that every lead that, though there’s 10,0000 leads coming through, every [00:55:30] single one of them feels like they’ve had your personal attention and touch.
Understanding those core components will help you understand this space a little bit. This new space is what I call advanced email marketing. It’s not full marketing automation but it’s stronger than email marketing and it existed … Here’s why it exists. It makes sense why it exists and I’m 100% for it. I think it deserves a great need in the market. For years, there was a particular platform that pretty much [00:56:00] had a monopoly on marketing automation for small business. To their demise, they kept their platform complicated, overly complicated and expensive. They didn’t spend the time that they should have on development and they really got lackadaisical by focusing so much on sales and not so much on the product and development.
What happened is other competitors came up and they gave them a run for their money. [00:56:30] One of these competitors, it was one of these cases a few years ago, or if you were email marketer and let’s say you’re a professional blogger and you needed just a little more functionality than just sending emails, there was no middle ground. You had to jump all the way up to a marketing automation platform and not only does the complexity rise but so does the price. You’re essentially being penalized for your business growing. You’ve done a good job as a business owner growing your business to the point now [00:57:00] where the technology is so confusing that you can no longer operate your business. It’s crazy, absolutely crazy.
With advanced email marketing [that was 00:57:08] filled that gap right in the middle. There’s two things that happen simultaneously. Other marketing automation platforms came into the sight of things and they made it simple, simple and cheaper, so now you don’t have to make that big jump and be confused. Then you had people who saw this middle space [00:57:30] and they put a product right there and their email platforms, list-based, that offer some form of tagging and custom fields and a little bit of dynamic moving between lists. At the end of the day, that’s it. They don’t have a CRM. You’re not going to be able to fully automate all of your internal processes or hand off contacts, assign contacts owners. You’re not going to be able to do that.
Advanced email [00:58:00] marketing is very much for those platforms that allow you to send email and then they lay on top of it. You know their primary focus is sending email and then what they do is they lay right on top of that, the ability to do some automation, not for automation. We’re not talking about for automation here. We’re just talking about some automation. Depending on [00:58:30] what it’s called, it will look, it will have you thinking you’ve got for marketing automation platform.
Guess what. This is not a podcast to convince you to switch tools or stop doing what you’re doing. I just want you to know that if that suits your needs, if you’re like, “Look. I love, I will send an email. I’m so good at sending email and this platform, added tags and a couple if-else and some goals, and now I am set. This is wonderful.” Stay. Do it. [00:59:00] Stick with it, man, woman. Your strategy is now aligned with your technology. Yes, do it. Do it. Absolutely stay there, but just don’t pick that tool off the base of price or what somebody else said or recommended or just flat-out good marketing.
Some of these tools, they’re great at marketing. They’ll promise you everything in [00:59:30] the world for free and you get in it and it’s all good when you start. When stuff starts working and you’ve got over hundreds of contacts, watch what that price does to you. Watch what that price does. You’ll be paying top dollar for a platform that is limiting you. I’m saying this to say when it comes to marketing automation, do not base your choice [01:00:00] on price of the platform or anything other than your strategy. Take the time to get to know your strategy, take the time to identify your process, and take the time to do the work. Get all of the pieces in place that are necessary: your dashboards, your timing, your oil, your key, your clarity. Get all of these things in place because once they’re in place, you become empowered in your business. You [01:00:30] know your needs so you’re no longer a slave to what a consultant or guru tells you you need or some fancy marketer selling you.
In closing, what can automation do for you? One word: facilitate. Automation can facilitate the processes necessary in your business to generate revenue. [01:01:00] Automation is a facilitator. Remember that. Hopefully, this podcast has enabled you to see what marketing automation is, its role, how it functions, and how it’s different. Walking away with that understanding, I’m telling you, is going to put you 10 times ahead of all other business owners and your competition. Where they stumble [01:01:30] and fall, you’ll be striding through full sprint all the way through and that’s the goal. That’s the goal of this.
If you have any questions or comments, please do so. Ask them in the comments below. I would ask that you go to iTunes, Stitcher, wherever you’re listening to this and leave a review. Leave a review, talk to me. My name is Chris Davis. Say, “Hey, Chris. This made a good point.” “Hey, Chris. I disagree with you on that.” If this [01:02:00] has really resonated with you, it’s enlightened you in some form, please go into iTunes, leave a review. Hit five stars for me. I promise I’m going to continue to create content that is easily digestible. I’ll be taking these complex ideas in business and marketing and technology and I’ll make them simple for you to understand because your business [01:02:30] deserves it. Every business deserves to have the right technology match with the right strategy. Do that for me, everybody. Thank you so much and I will see you all on the next episode.

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