3 Common Misconceptions About Marketing Automation

55% of B2B companies are using marketing automation technology in 2016, according to Emailmonday. But despite marketing automation’s growing popularity, there’s still a lot of misinformation floating around — both about what marketing automation is and what it isn’t. In this blog post, I’d like to address three of the most common misconceptions I’ve come across in my time working with the technology.

1. Marketing automation is just for marketers.

“Marketing” is in its name, so it’s easy to understand why this belief is so common. But the fact is, marketing automation facilitates the entire buyer’s journey, from a customer’s first interaction with your business to the moment sales closes the deal — and beyond!

Most folks in the tech industry know that a marketing automation platform makes it easy for marketers to generate and nurture leads. What a lot of people don’t realize is that its sales functionality is just as robust. Salespeople can use marketing automation to:

  • see exactly what prospects are clicking, downloading, watching, and reading — allowing reps to personalize sales conversations.
  • send personalized, marketing-approved emails to prospective clients.
  • get real-time alerts when hot leads are engaging with their website or emails.
  • report on sales campaigns.
  • pass cold leads back to the marketing team for further nurturing.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. The fact is, marketing automation is at its best when sales and marketing teams use it together.

Related Resources:

25 Marketing Automation Tips from Sales

The Little Black Book of Sales and Marketing Alignment


2. Marketing automation is just a fancy name for email marketing.

Email marketing is part of marketing automation, but the two aren’t synonymous. ESPs, or email service providers, allow marketers to send personalized emails to their databases and report on the success of email campaigns. Marketing automation takes this ten steps further.

Picture this: Eleanor, the CMO at a tech startup, wants to redesign her company’s website. She doesn’t have much web design experience, so she turns to Google and comes across your PPC ad. Intrigued, she clicks it and fills out a short form to download a lookbook full of your company’s best designs. This is where things get interesting. Eleanor browses the lookbook and then heads to your Twitter account to learn more. With traditional email marketing, you would never know this — but with marketing automation, you can now gain insight into what Eleanor is reading on your website and interacting with on your social profiles. Based on this, you can automatically add her to a targeted email list that keeps your company top of mind as she does her research.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing automation. To learn more about the key differences between ESPs and MAPs, take a look at the related resource below.

Related Resource:

5 Ways Marketing Automation Differs from an Email Service Provider


3. Marketing automation requires a big marketing team to implement.

Back in the fledgling days of Pardot, we had a marketing team of one. Yep, you read that right. As the company grew and went through two acquisitions, our team has expanded — but the lesson here is that any size team can use marketing automation.

Of course, more complex campaigns will require more effort and a larger team, but the same can be said for marketing without automation. In fact, automating time-consuming tasks like lead generation and lead nurturing can open up your current employees’ schedules to accomplish even more.

Related Resources:

Does Your Company Need a Full-Time Marketing Automation Team?

How Many Marketing Hats Do You Wear?


It’s about time we set the record straight and clear up some confusion around marketing automation. If you want to learn more about the technology and how to get started at your B2B company, click on the banner below to download the Marketing Automation Success Kit.

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