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When Marketing Orchestration Replaces Marketing Automation, Less Really Can Be More

By aligning sales and marketing activities, marketers can create more effective consumer interactions.

When Marketing Orchestration Replaces Marketing Automation, Less Really Can Be More


Marc Johnson, Bombora

The sales and marketing industry has exploded over the past decades, prospering thanks to marketing automation tools, digital advertising and the widespread availability of data. While these tools all come with the promise of making marketers’ lives easier, what they actually deliver is the ability to intrude on individuals’ daily habits, at an unchecked pace. Add in the unrelenting pressure for businesses to grow and we find ourselves in a world in which sales and marketing have run amok.

People are bombarded with 10,000 messages a day. Americans received 26.3 billion robocalls in 2018, and 82% feel that online ads are disruptive. The backlash from both consumers (adblocking) and governments (GDPR, CPA) is real. The advertising industry has a bad name, to say the least, and the old ways of operating are numbered.

In the face of all this, CMOs have no choice but to evolve past a mentality of unrestricted attempts to engage. Modern marketing and sales can’t survive the current “more is better,” take-no-prisoners-approach.

It needs to abandon the current process that tries anything (email, ad, call, direct mail, event) possible to get human attention and move toward a more curated, selective approach. That doesn’t mean abandoning the tools that are widely used today. It simply requires a more thoughtful, restrained, orchestrated approach to using those tools.

Automation Is To Quantity as Orchestration is to Quality

Orchestration means moving away from automating single tools and components, toward having all of the different marketing and sales elements running off of the same data and talking to each other. For as much as marketing and sales have invested in technology and data sources, they often still operate in silos.

This approach opens the door for miscommunication and misaligned strategy throughout the organization. Hunger for growth, without a unified plan, means a marketer hits the same prospects again and again, creating untold brand damage.

Orchestration is the actual alignment of all sales and marketing activities, which has often been promised but never really delivered in the digital world. It’s about actually aligning around what the consumer needs and what the prospect is interested in — while resisting the extraneous.

When those criteria become the core of a marketing and sales approach, the focus shifts to the quality of interactions, not quantity. Delivering targeted messages at scale is easy at this point in time. Delivering effective messages — those that resonate and help — without wasting ad dollars or contributing to the disastrous ad pollution takes time, skill, discipline and data.

Moving in this direction marks the beginning of the end for marketing-qualified leads and tactics such as acquiring contacts and “just getting names in the door.” Those tactics have been dying for a long time, true. But orchestration is also a move away from intrusive activities such as large scale “nurture” (also known as “nag”) email, to more passive brand and awareness building. It’s giving up on disruption and moving back to the basics of advertising.

In a way, we’re describing the Jerry Maguire “fewer clients, less money” mission statement. Ask, as Jerry did, “Who’s coming with me?” in a room full of marketers, and you might get a similar response. This approach is counter-intuitive, yet it is the only way for marketing and sales to survive. Less truly is more.

With over 20 years of experience helping build data businesses in the marketing and media technology industry, Marc Johnson leads the strategic growth of Bombora and heads its marketing team. Previously, Marc served as the CMO of Resonate, a venture-backed analytics and audience targeting company, named a cool vendor by Gartner and a four-time Inc. 5000 company. He was the Global Chief Marketing Officer and North American GM of Experian Hitwise, a consumer insights and competitive intelligence company operating in 11 countries. Marc has also served as Executive Vice-President to Buzzmetrics, the first consumer-generated media research firm (acquired by Nielsen).

This story premiered on our sister site, DemandGen Report