Technology continues to change the marketing process. As a core information-gathering mechanism for the organization,
marketing has now found itself in a crucial position. It plays the role as gatekeeper in gathering and distributing customer data for the organization. At the same time, marketing remains the customer facing business unit that must represent the entire company (supply / manufacturing / distribution / retail department) to form an enduring and satisfying relationship with the customer. Marketing has now become the engine of the corporation. In many ways it has separated itself from the sales organization, but must be careful not to stray too far away. The sales department, which is typically the focal point of the organization, can neither function nor maintain the tight and enduring relationship it needs with customers, without extraordinary levels of support from marketing. The marketing process must be tightly integrated with the sales process in "closing the loop," meaning that the integration of both must cover the entire marketing process from planning, budgeting, execution, results tracking to revenue recognition and analysis. This seamless integration between the marketing and sales processes will result in automatic recognition of revenue/sales attributed to promotional efforts. Keeping this in mind, the focal points for a successful marketing automation implementation still remain: -- Campaign planning -- Planning and building the core marketing message, and the medium to deliver it (What is it that I want to say?) -- Promotion planning -- Planning and building the subsets within the campaign (Who do I want to say it to and how?) -- Collateral Management -- Defining and managing the material that supports the marketing message (What will get my audience to listen?) -- Campaign Management & Execution -- Management of the campaign and promotions and monitoring the results (Am I talking to the right audience and getting the results I've expected?) -- Marketing Analysis -- Analysis of the results prior, during and after campaign execution (How can I increase my promotional effectiveness?) The realization that marketing is a critical piece of the organization and should be treated as such in any CRM implementation will provide a higher degree of success for your project. Incorporating the integration and understanding of the sales process and your marketing initiatives will foster sales and brand awareness of your organization. Ultimately the automation of these processes ensures that the message is delivered, managed and tracked in real-time fashion. Michael S. De Lio is a Director within E-Solutions, responsible for assessment, solution design and project management for clients engaged in e-commerce/CRM initiatives, for marchFIRST an Internet Professional Services company in Chicago, IL.