Software has changed every industry in the world - even sheep can now be more effectively managed - and so it is unsurprising to learn that marketing is no different.
Some time ago the contact details of prospective customers were taken from the paper of people's Rolodexes (link included for younger readers) and loaded into digital databases.
This move meant that everyone could use the information and marketing became an 'enterprise-wide' activity, or in English; something that everyone could use.
But people make mistakes and software doesnt (feel free to argue about this for as long as you like) and so automation came along to remove the people
As the name may suggest (and I hope that it does), marketing automation software automates common marketing processes
These include customer segmentation (splitting customers into groups of similar profiles) and campaign management (updating how customers have reacted to what they were sent ans deciding what to send them next).
Both of these take time and effort to do manually hence marketing software automation provides substantial savings.
Additionally, automated campaigns can progress whatever the time is in the office.
The 'right' email can be sent to people depending upon how they have reacted to previous contacts whenever that interaction happened which is useful for international marketing.
Given the huge number of ways prospects can find and interact with your company and its products, some level of automation is a must to ensure that marketeers can keep up.
This 'level' could be something as simple as taking people's contacts out of their email clients and into a central database - something every company must do - to implementing a full functioning automation suite of software.
But as with anything in life, over-reliance on one thing will bring its own problems.
Good marketing is and always will be built on good, creative ideas and without these no software will rescue the campaign.
But, used in the right way, marketing automation software will increase the number of people a company can influence and hence increase the number of potential clients.