The other day I received an email that had very clearly missed its target market when it landed in my inbox.  The email in question was from a law firm seeking my participation in a class action lawsuit for a botched surgical procedure for women that I had supposedly undergone.  After reading a few lines of this ‘botched’ email, I could only think about how that law firm should have utilized a marketing automation platform as opposed to simple email marketing through an ESP.
Basic email marketing uses purchased lists of addresses to coordinate email blasts to existing and potential customers.  These lists become more focused as recipients opt in or out.  While this adds some level of accuracy to the email marketing process, it still falls significantly short in comparison to marketing automation.  Marketing automation takes into account so many more levels of data that a prospect provides through its email, web and other interactions with your organization. Email marketing works best for delivering generic promotional materials with a hope of mass appeal. Unfortunately for that law firm I didn’t fit their buyer persona. On multiple levels
In addition to nurturing leads, marketing automation has the ability to score leads.  Lead scoring is the process of assigning a numerical value to prospects to represent their position in the buying cycle based on their behaviors, actions, and inactions.  The higher the lead score, the closer the lead is to make a purchasing decision, and ready for a sales handoff.  Lead scoring is absolutely critical when it comes to efficient lead management, as it allows sales to prioritize hot leads and better predict how soon they can close the sale.
Both email marketing and marketing automation can be effective in creating sales given the right circumstances.  With its ability to track a potential customer’s progression towards purchase, marketing automation is exponentially more sophisticated and can provide more meaningful engagement with prospects and enhance a marketer’s efficiency.  Had the law firm used proper database segmentation to improve on  mailing list they would not have emailed me regarding an all female-targeted class action lawsuit, but perhaps they got my attention should I ever need an ambulance chaser. I just hope they didn’t pay too much for my name.
For further information about the vast differences between email marketing and marketing automation, you can download our white paper, which is chock full of more good nuggets.

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