There have been two "hot" topics at every marketing trade-show or event I've attended over the past year. First would have to be social media. Yes, the marketing world is aflutter with this new medium. The excitement reminds me a bunch of kids headed to the candy store. The world as we know it has been revolutionized (again) - do you have Snickers? Echo chamber aside, social media is an exciting communication channel that every marketer needs to be utilizing to deliver their message to the market. With all this hubbub, new solutions are hitting the market to enable marketers to more effectively track and manage social media. Have you heard about Radian6 yet? Check them out. The second topic has been marketing automation solutions. Marketing leaders have been talking about automation for as long as I've been the space - over six years now. Based on the wide spread adoption we're starting to see at Manticore Technology, there's no doubt mmarketing automation has hit the mainstream. Is it any wonder? I've seen some pretty amazing results from our customers have put the time in to define their business process and wrap a proper lead management solution around the process.
The next question to me is how are these worlds coming together - or should they? I think there is a huge opportunities for integration of these types of applications. If we look at marketing automation solutions as a mechanism to help move prospects into and through the sales pipeline and social media as a means to generate more awareness and broader interest, the two need to work in collaboration since the sales and marketing funnel is unified. But how?
The first way would probably be around enabling marketers to distribute broad social media messages within their marketing automation solution. If I'm executing a campaign, wouldn't I want to spread the word through social media? You bet. Today I would need to log into various apps making it quite time consuming. What were all those passwords again?
Another opportunity for integration would be tracking individuals in the social discussion, then based on their response, perhaps I would want to engage them in an automated manner. At a minimum, I'd want my sales team to see how a prospect has been responding so they know how to engage the prospect. For a great example of this, check out Insideview.
What say you? To integrate or not to integrate?