Recently I helped the CMO of a client of ours produce their marketing plan and I quickly came to a realization.
The marketing plans we used just a short while ago are out of date. The mainstays of these plans, including target markets, market size, market niche, channels, segments, budgets, lead projections and more are still just as important as they ever were.
But now, a new component has entered the mix. And in a short amount of time this marketing plan section has achieved equal, or perhaps even greater importance than the old players.
I’m talking, of course, about the “Marketing Automation Plan”, or “MAP”.
Introducing the MAP
Yes, I’m going to use the obvious acronym “MAP”. I simply can’t resist saying you need a technology MAP as part of your corporate marketing plan. It just works too well.
I hesitated to call it a “marketing automation” plan at first because the term “marketing automation” has come to be associated with companies like Marketo, Eloqua, Neolane, Pardot, Hubspot, and perhaps dozens of other smaller companies who want to stake a claim in that space.
But a marketing automation plan encompasses far more than “marketing automation”. It’s much bigger than those products. In today’s world the concept of a true marketing automation plan is more than just email marketing or inbound marketing.
Your MAP also needs to include social media marketing, content management, PPC, video marketing, SEO, website analytics, ecommerce and more. And when I say “more” there are probably 10-20 additional areas (categories) that arguably need to be added the list. This means the plan needs to include products from many of the different categories in the diagram shown above.
Isn’t Somebody Doing This All in One Product?
Some large companies like Adobe and Oracle are starting to create a product suite around multiple areas so that they can stake a claim to a broader footprint in a company’s Marketing Automation Plan. Oracle’s Marketing Cloud is a great example (full disclosure: 4Thought Marketing is a Gold Certified partner for Oracle).
But these companies are just getting started in the process of acquisition and consolidation and it will be many years before these wildly diverse products are integrated with a single database and user interface, and become a single system.
And many doubt there will ever be a single product solution. The marketing software market is simply moving too fast for any one company to acquire, integrate, and consolidate, before a new market space opens up.
SEO hardly existed 15 years ago, PPC didn’t exist 10 years ago, social media hardly existed 5 years ago, mobile has gotten strong within the last 3 years and video is obviously on the horizon. And I’m sure there are new things coming nobody has thought of yet.
Plus there are technologies you must use, that can’t really be acquired by a consolidator, such as Google Adwords, for example. But by the time any large company acquires and consolidates a bunch of marketing technology products, it’s likely there will be more that you need in your portfolio!
Even with this brief introduction, I’ve demonstrated that the MAP component, while being one of the newest players in the marketing technology game, is one of the most important.
In the next article of this 3-part series, I’ll talk about the reasons why a well designed MAP is so important to your CEO, and walk you through the steps to create your own Marketing Automation Plan.