Marketing Automation – It’s Like Fish Farming

Having troubles explaining Marketing Automation to others? Everyone has their own definition. However, none of them are easy to understand or remember. In this article, we will explain Marketing Automation with a simple fishing analogy.

Imagine one of our prehistoric ancestors. Let’s call him Mr. Caveman. He is going fishing by the river.  He has already figured out that the best way to attract the fishes is by using a bait and a hook, but he has a problem…

Too Many Baby Fish

After a while, Mr. Caveman gets smaller fishes. Occasionally, he catches a big one, but mostly, he keeps getting fishes too small to eat. He throws them back, which makes things worse because he keeps catching the same small fish over and over.

The small fish are equivalent to prospects who are interested but not ready to buy. Many of the so-called “leads” you generate with Inbound Marketing (fishing with bait) will not be true potential buyers for your products. On average, only 20% of B2B leads are sales-ready when they first come in. These prospects can take up a lot of your sales reps’ time.

Fish Farming

Mr. Caveman has a great idea. He builds an enclosure in the river, using sticks to hold the small fish. Instead of throwing them back, he puts them in his enclosure and feeds them. He can now concentrate on catching the big fish.

This fish farm is the equivalent of using marketing automation to nurture prospects until they are ready to buy. Marketing Automation allows you to ‘capture’ your prospect’s contact details and then ‘feed’ them content until they are sales-ready.

Measuring Fish

Every so often, Mr. Caveman checks his fish farm. He takes out the larger looking fish and measures them. If they aren’t long enough, he pops the fish back in. Otherwise, they are ready to eat!

Measuring fish is like lead scoring in Marketing Automation. Marketing Automation allows you to find the prospects that fit your target profile. It also allows you find the hot prospects displaying buying behaviors that indicate that they are ready to engage with sales.

Marketing Automation will assign each prospect score that will indicate how sales-ready they are. It’s then your task to review those prospects and decide which is ready.

Cooking the Fish

When Mr. Caveman gives fish to the village cook, he wants to ensure that the fish gets cooked immediately, while it’s fresh. After all these efforts, the last thing he wants is the fish spoiling.

In Marketing Automation, once you’ve identified a lead as “hot”, you want to make sure sales follows up quickly – and in a relevant manner, so you need integration with your CRM and automation of processes like sales alerting, lead recycling, and service level agreements (SLA).

Scaling Up

Pretty soon, Mr. Caveman gets elected as chief of his village because he’s such a great fisherman. Unfortunately, it now means that Mr. Caveman has to produce 30 fish every week or people will go hungry.

Mr. Caveman has a good operation but it needs to get much more sophisticated. He now needs to predict how many worms and hooks he needs to put out every day to catch enough fish. He then needs to guess how many of the fishes he catches will be big enough to eat that day and how many will need to go into the farm.

With his farm, he needs to predict how many fishes will become big enough to eat on a weekly basis and how much food he needs to feed the fishes he’s holding.

This systematized fishing process is like Marketing Automation. Marketing Automation provides insight into which marketing programs are working and which aren’t. It gives the marketer the metrics she needs to speak about the marketing’s revenue impact.

And there you go – an easy way to remember what Marketing Automation is all about. As you can see,Inbound Marketing (bait fishing) is completely complementary to using Marketing Automation (fish farming).

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