The Land of the Giants was a 1970 television show about a space ship that gets lost passing through a strange cloud and lands on an alternate Earth-type planet where the inhabitants are 12 times the size of its passengers. The show tapped the common conflict between the underdog and the giants (or corporate goliaths) of the world.
Small and mid-size businesses, though 12 times smaller than their competitors, can portray themselves as big or giant businesses through the use of tools like email marketing and marketing automation (MA) in today’s digital world.
MA or Email Marketing – Aren’t They the Same Thing?
To appear bigger, first you must pick your technology. Lauren Carlson at Software Advice finds many buyers mistakenly think that MA is a fancy name for email marketing. As a result these buyers evaluate vendors like Eloqua and Marketo (both of which provide a nice ROI calculator for bigger companies) against email services like MailChimp and Constant Contact that often support smaller organizations.
While both use email as the primary vehicle to talk to prospects or customers, email marketing keeps in touch with the prospect and tracks interactions based on a single campaign. Unfortunately email marketing stops there. Marketing automation follows customer interaction through all marketing touches and triggers appropriate messages based on this information without the need for manual triggering.
Marketing Automation can go a step deeper by tracking the entire chain of interactions that buyers have with a company and helps you make intelligent actions based on these behaviors. Furthermore, MA systems don’t just track – they act. Based on what your prospects do, the system can automatically:
- Start a series of emails over the next few weeks
- Send that prospect to a different web page based on his or her lead score
- Or have a sales person reach out if the prospect is at a critical point in the decision making process.
Email tools don’t segment audiences or respond in this way without manual intervention. See the chart below from Lauren’s blog post, “Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation: Which is Right for You?” for a breakdown of what you should be getting from your email marketing or marketing automation system.
|Features||Email Marketing||Marketing Automation|
|Create & send emails|
|Automation & triggers|
|Reporting & analytics|
|Mass email delivery|
|Web behavior capture|
|Social media management|
The price of email marketing is based on either the number of emails sent or the size of your mailing list – usually running less than $100 per month. According to Tom O’Leary of GroupMail, email marketing continued to provide a $40.56 ROI for every dollar spent in 2011.Can a Small to Mid Size Business Afford Email Marketing or a MA System?
The price for marketing automation systems on the low end start at $200 a month and go up to $1000 and sometimes much more each month.
While a larger investment, if it helps you close sales faster or land more accounts it is a consideration to take your one giant step closer to moving from an underdog to a big dog.
Read more in Lauren Carlson’s blog post, “Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation: Which is Right for You?”