Your boss just asked you to set up a marketing strategy for your company. Your first thought is to fill up your potential and current customers’ inboxes with promotion after promotion with a few educational pieces dispersed throughout. Then you can cross “add a marketing strategy” off your list, because you’re done … right? Well, sort of. Except there’s more.

There’s no doubt that email marketing is a critical component of a marketing strategy. However, it’s definitely not the only thing that targets your audience in a way that keeps them interested and makes sales happen. This is where marketing automation plays a key role in that strategy your boss asked you to create.

Marketing Automation Platform vs. Email Marketing Software – What’s the difference?

For either component, whether it’s an email marketing tool or marketing automation platform (MAP), you’re going to need a technology solution that reaches out to your database. Both platforms allow you to:

For email marketing solutions, this is typically where the list stops. These capabilities are a great start. However, if your company has a dedicated sales team, they will be asking for more. This is where a solid MAP comes into play. Let’s say you send out a great email but 80% of the prospects that received it aren’t ready to buy yet? You don’t want them to forget your name after that one email. Marketing automation solutions are designed to intelligently nurture your leads along until they are ready to be handed over to sales. This conducts more effective email campaigns that are targeted to your database appropriately.

As we mentioned before, a MAP can do everything above but let’s add to that list:

Marketing Automation is Better for B2B

Today’s B2B buyer likes to be educated. Promotional emails are good but not the only thing they’re looking for. Buyers want personalized content and lots of it. In fact, 74% of marketers are saying that targeted personalization significantly increases customer engagement (eConsultancy). Buying for your business isn’t always as easy as walking into a store and picking out a sweater. The B2B sales cycles is longer than that. Marketing automation tends to be a better fit for B2B companies and their lengthy sales cycle. Marketing automation allows your company to have enough interaction with a lead before passing it over to sales. Sales isn’t getting bogged down with low quality leads and marketing is looking more and more like the email hero.

Comparing Apples-to-Apples

Ultimately, email marketing and marketing automation are no apples-to-apples comparison. A marketing automation solution is a greater financial investment than simply implementing email marketing. Whether your boss asked you to create a marketing strategy from scratch or build on one that’s already in place, either platform requires time and research to show results. It’s up to you to decide which is right.

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again. Email marketing is only one ingredient in the marketing automation recipe. The world may be your oyster but a marketing strategy is your apple pie. The filling on its own is delicious, but it’s nothing compared to what you get when you add a warm flaky crust and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Did we help you understand the bigger picture … or just make you hungry?