Marketing Automation

The Cost to SMBs of Not Implementing a Marketing Automation System

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Recently, I read an article about the Ten Small Business Lead Nurturing Tools after a search on Twitter Search. I found the title curious, since I only use one lead nurturing tool, and upon reading the article realized that many small and medium (and even large) companies are purchasing anywhere from 2-10 tools to do what one marketing automation system can do.

It made me think how hard it must be for a small business to operate when having to use so many different systems. Using different tools for email, landing pages, lead scoring, and auto-replies causes inefficiencies from time lost during vendor discovery and selection and the time to duplicate information in multiple systems. In addition, there is value lost from not having the different systems talk to each other. Then I thought about the literal cost small businesses faced when using multiple tools, since it must get expensive to use so many, and how much use of the tools must be wasted because of the time it took to do a separate program in each one.

In days past, when all that was available to small companies was piecemealing these types of systems together or using a large enterprise system with costs upwards of $15,000 a month (or more), I understood the need for this time consuming approach. But now, after using products like Marketo that start at less than a sixth of that cost, I realized that the time for this effort is gone.

Even if the cost for a holistic marketing solution is slightly more than a small or medium business’s current solutions, which is often not the case, the benefit from the integration should prove its return many times over very quickly. This is because the real power in these tools is not in the ability to score, email, or auto-reply, but instead, from the ability to see all the actions of the prospect, and how they interact with you, and then be able to adjust your message (and timing of that message) to them based on their previous actions. When using multiple systems this is impossible, which makes all marketing decisions based off of them in the future risky since the marketer isn’t working on complete data.

As we are almost half way through 2009, I encourage marketers to look at what they have spent on utilizing multiple systems and what return was achieved from all this time and cost. Now compare those costs to the cost of utilizing a marketing automation system. Add in the additional benefit of not having to interact with IT constantly to make landing pages, and the savings from having to hire a designer every time you want to create an email. When you look at the additional return your organization will achieve because of the increase in sales and the ability to shorten your sales cycle and reduce sales efforts, it is easy to see why you should immediately implement a marketing automation solution.