The Evolution of Marketing Automation

While aiming to promote products and services successfully in the market, companies have realized the importance of adopting marketing strategies from the beginning. Due to intense competition, marketing strategies were impregnated with technological innovations to evolve as modern marketing, which is now embedded in the customer’s life and affects it at an accelerated pace.

Fortunately, from radio to the Internet to smartphones, today technology has revolutionized the ways in which marketers can reach their potential customers. But back then, in the late 1950s, with almost no effective marketing channel, companies found it difficult to reach an enormous customer base.

That’s how automation technology was created. Its origins go back to a customer relationship management or CRM that came from Rolodexes and a package of business cards. It acted as a saviour for companies struggling to keep records of their employees and customers in a central knowledge group. But, in a short time, it became the fundamental element of the business and began to find its applications also in professional business services.

By the late 1980s, CRM platforms had gained more power in terms of customer service, sales management, and forecasting. But, the high price kept him confined to a few multinational corporations.

In 1999, Mark Benioff, founder of Salesforce, invented the monthly license payment (MLC) model, with the goal of offering an agile and profitable business model, which also introduced SaaS or Software as a Service. And in contrast, this technology evolved as an amalgam of email capability, web analytics, and Marketing Resource Management (MRM). With the advent of the Internet, marketers were looking for potential ways to reach their customers. The pioneer of this Eloqua space arrived in 1999 and developed a product, later known as an automated marketing service in 2003.

Soon, the success of this trend led to the arrival of more market players such as Pardot, HubSpot, WhatsNexx, etc., and the industry began to gain momentum as it switched from marketing automation services to cloud platforms.

In 2008, new platforms such as HubSpot, Act-On, dominated the market, and the advent of social network marketing, content management and search engine optimization caused marketers to incorporate a variety of automation tools.

In 2013-2014, the automation industry experienced tremendous financial growth 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 on the acquisition of ExactTarget, which is recorded as the largest acquisition in its history.

I found people wondering if CRM and marketing automation coexist. In fact, few consider the latter to be a subset of the CRM industry that 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 focuses entirely on marketing strategy. When a CRM manages a company’s interactions with its customers, automation software streamlines the company’s marketing tasks and workflows. However, these two, together, go hand in hand and reinforce the knowledge and efficiency of the company. A good integration of CRM-marketing automation frees up an opportunity to manage data management and marketing strategy plans.

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