As with most things driven by tools as much as concepts, there are very broad definitions of what marketing automation actually is – it typically boils down to anything you can do with marketing automation tools. Which is a lot. More to the point, not everything we regard as part of a marketing automation project is marketing related.

However, all of it has to do with communication in some shape or form. It can be through any channel to any customer segment, which is where most of the complexity comes from. Serving automated ads on Facebook to micro-segmented audiences is very different from delivering Next Best Activity offers to retail agents in real time.

Creating personalized experiences for authenticated customers and making sure the right eDM leads are followed up by telesales require different data sets from a wide variety of sources and touch processes across various departments in more complex organizations.

I shared some thoughts on the above at a meetup for KÜRT Academy’s Intelligent Marketing Getting to help get to grips with the basics of omnichannel campaign strategy, including the right focus, segmentation logic and business rules.

I always find meetings like these hugely refreshing because they bring together very diverse crowds and challenge me to step out of the world of large sales and service organizations.

Helping banks and telcos take the next step with accelerated enterprise scale rollouts is all well and good, but how does this apply to event managers, restaurateurs and SMEs of all shapes and sizes? Tools that slash costs for large organizations are way too expensive here and the most dramatically short implementation times at corporate level need to be cut in half to be relevant.

Large businesses will never be startups and vice versa and trying to force this in many areas has created a lot of strain, but looking over the fence once in a while for inspiration on doing things better makes a lot of difference. Certainly for me.