Marketing Automation

Do you really think that pre-defining customer behaviors and maintaining 100's or 1000's of rules-based campaigns is feasible?

Typical Marketing Automation Workflow Interface

SaaS folklore suggests that Eloqua founders Joe Payne & Mark Organ colluded with Marketo founder Phil Fernandez to define and align on a common taxonomy around lead generation/lead management, giving rise to a brand new category now known as marketing automation.

The rules-based drip/nurture campaigns that are the bedrock of today’s B2B marketing automation have recently spread into the B2C realm, as evidenced by the rapid growth of Neolane (acquired by Adobe), ExactTarget (acquired by Salesforce) and Responsys (acquired by Oracle).

While rules-based approaches combined with lead scoring have become staples of B2B marketing, they have failed to scale well into the B2C arena for a variety of reasons:

  • While there are clear efficiencies to be gained once an “always on” rules based campaign is up and running, getting there requires significant manual effort where marketers spend weeks creating and testing complex “if…then” rules to deliver messages/offers to targeted audiences.
  • Marketers are required to define these rules in advance of ever having run a campaign to test performance, thereby relying purely on personal knowledge or intuition to try and drive ROI
  • Theoretically, rules-based approaches allow marketers to define and configure an infinite number of permutations to reach hyper-segmented audiences with very specific messages, which has been widely demonstrated to improve the messaging impact and performance. However, the reality is that humans can only reasonably comprehend a few dozen rules stacked on top of each other before they lose the ability to understand what’s really happening and attribute any cause to any effect (positive or negative).


​The application of rules-based approaches to marketing automation has generated lots of excitement around delivering on the promise of 1:1 customer journey management. Unfortunately, due to the scalability & complexity limitations outlined above, those promises, particularly in the B2C world, have largely gone unfulfilled.​​

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