Marketing Automation: The Evolution of Email Marketing

Brent Mellow at akaCRM wrote an interesting blog post entitled Email Marketing Solutions for  What I found interesting is how he combined marketing automation as an enhanced version of email marketing.

The differentiating feature of a Marketing Automation application vs. an Email Marketing application, is automation as the name implies. No longer do you have to be present to click the “send” button to fire off hundreds or thousands of email messages. Additionally, you may not even have to manually select which names to mail to as a Marketing Automation application can dynamically add and remove names from a distribution list based on segmentation formulas that you pre-establish. Most Marketing Automation tools include most all of the functionality found in Email Marketing applications described above and provided enhanced capabilities through many of the following features:

  • Campaign Automation – replicate successful multi-step marketing campaigns and have them run on auto-pilot. For example, set-up a campaign that will automatically send a save-a-date email 180 days before the event, invitation 90 days before event, reminder 30 days and 5 days before event, and sorry-we-missed-you and thanks for attending messages 1 day after the event. Campaign automation is the core functionality that differentiates Marketing Automation applications from Email Marketing applications.
  • Dynamic Content – automatically provide alternative content based on segmentation parameters. For example, a recipient in California could receive content on events in California while a New York recipient could receive events in New York all through a single automated emailing.
  • Event/Webinar Management – manage invitations, registration, reminders and post-event correspondence; integrate with popular webconferencing programs like WebEx. Forms and Landing
  • Page Management – Many solutions can create dynamic landing pages that can be pre-populated with personalized information on the user, greatly increasing click throughs and form completions. These PURLs (personalized URLs) increase open rates in emails as well. Completing personalized forms can also be supported by auto-responder functionality provided in some applications.
  • Lead Nurturing – ability to manage leads overtime that aren’t ready to buy today and monitor for changes in interest. Lead Scoring – ability to apply formulas to leads based on behavior and visit patterns.
  • Social Marketing – integrations with Twitter, Blogs, etc. Website Monitoring – enable your teams to see individual companies visiting the website, often in real-time. This is not the same thing as website analytics like Google Analytics. Some vendors refer to this as website caller ID.

Marketing Automation Applications Pre-Integrated with (prices shown are entry level pricing disclosed by vendor; consult vendors for volume discounts and other pricing considerations based on volume and features desired)

  • Act-On ($500/month)
  • Eloqua ($1,200/month)
  • ExactTarget (pricing not disclosed)
  • Genius ($1,500/month)
  • Manticore Technology ($2,000/month)
  • Marketo ($1,200/month)
  • Silverpop (pricing not disclosed)

Read the entire post here


  1. says

    Nice post. Many of our customers that use some of the automation tools listed above run online events and real-world events. The tools seem to work well for people already engaged and accepting of email. You mention personalized URLs in the post. I think those present the best opportunity to move people into a trusting relationship–aka get more people to engage with you via email and online.

  2. says

    Michael – I agree that personalized landing pages using PURLs can help improve increase conversion rates. Even a simple personalized email title and heading can help help move the relationship along.

  3. says

    Nice post. We would add one more key differentiating feature: functionality and responsive email testing – how your campaign will display in different email clients and identify if the HTML or content will cause trouble with spam and volume filters before hitting send. Deliverability parameters are constantly changing, so we employ many proactive measures to ensure the highest possible levels of deliverability and positive reputation for all of our customers, including 24×7 monitoring of their email servers and IP addresses.

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