Digital Marketing is living an (r)evolution.

In the last decade, new practices appeared and transformed the way marketers do their job. This transformation is in working order and is supported by the improvement of information and communication technologies.

Web 2.0, Cloud computing, Social Networks and Big Data delivered the foundation of a new paradigm for marketing in the digital era.

Multiple systems were developed in order to answer the constantly changing requirements of digital marketing.

  • Content Management Systems emerged for the creation and publication of content online, supporting a consistent customer experience.
  • Marketing Automation tools were created to automate daily marketing tasks such as connecting with customers via email.
  • Customer Relationship Management tools were built to store information about prospects and customers and were primarily used by marketing and sales to gain a better overview of the sales funnel.
  • Analytics tools provide accurate statistics about the interaction of the visitors with multiple touch points.

We could also enumerate E-commerce Systems, Enterprise Content Management and many other systems supporting marketing strategies in the digital era.

Why I’m telling you this?

Last year, alongside my regular job, I decided to challenge myself with a full year of studies, remote and onsite lessons about sales and marketing and by writing a dissertation about the market of marketing automation software.

I spent many hours searching, analyzing and writing, and I am sharing the findings with you as I think it could be helpful to other people interested in this field. Maybe it will help another student, or a person interested in digital marketing and moreover in marketing automation.

Please be aware that so far only the jury at my school has read (and as well judged) this study. So I’d be happy to hear your thoughts in the comments.

What’s on the menu

I don’t want that you risk indigestion, and that’s why I won’t share the 40 pages of my study in this post (you can find a free copy at the end if you are greedy).

I would rather offer the best bite in individual posts and sprinkle them with some fresh updates. Indeed this study was done end of 2017, some stuff happened in the meantime in the world of marketing automation. However, it contains many things still relevant.

Here what the chef might offer for the upcoming posts:

  • The market overview: Some facts, figures, trends and macro-environmental factors.
  • Competitors Analysis: Let’s drop names — Salesforce, Hubspot, Marketo, Adobe, MailChimp!
  • The users of marketing automation: What do they know? do they know things? Let’s find out!
  • Opportunities and Threats: Helpful if you have to do a SWOT analysis of the marketing automation market.

The menu of the day might change based on what is fresh at the market.

(And by the way, if you don’t like my food metaphor, please DO NOT visit my instagram)

Would you like to have an appetizer? A bit of history of the Marketing Automation.

Let’s start with the beginning, how this whole thing has started.

Marketing Automation started in 1992 with the release of Unica. At this time, most businesses were still offline and the internet was still not really developed, therefore neither were online marketing practices. The US company was originally built to serve organizations with basic marketing tools. In 2010 it was bought by IBM and is currently part of IBM’s extensive marketing solutions.

The rise of the World Wide Web in the 2000’s had a huge impact on how companies could do business. Their customers were online and accessible worldwide. The web moved from static pages to a more dynamic media enabling interaction between users and pages.

In order to answer the new challenges faced by businesses and to capture those interactions, a new generation of tools appeared to support this rapidly growing online audience. Between 2000 and 2010 companies such as Eloqua, Silverpop, Pardot, Neolane, Infusionsoft entered the online marketing space.

At the same time, consumers began to access digital information not only from their desktop but also on their mobile (remember the first iPhone?) and through social networks (did you heard about Facebook and Twitter?). These new channels have opened new perspectives for marketers. And it was just the beginning.

In parallel, cloud computing became more accessible thanks to companies such as Amazon and its Amazon Web Service (AWS) that enabled software companies to deploy their application on a global scale. Tools such as Ontraport (in 2006), Hubspot (in 2006), Act-On (in 2008) and Marketo (in 2006) started to offer Software as a Service (SaaS) to marketing professionals.


The success of these marketing software companies was remarkable and the early companies from the 2000’s were almost all acquired in the 2010’s by the Big Ones such as Salesforce (Pardot), Oracle (Eloqua), IBM (Silverpop and Unica), and Adobe (Neolane, and recently Marketo in 2018).

These big players built up a marketing suite made of several softwares (Analytics, Marketing Automation, CRM, CMS) in order to provide all-in-one solutions also known as Marketing Cloud.

Another side of history shows us that with each technological revolution, new tools appeared on the market and offered new capabilities to digital marketing. Guess what’s next!

Until next time.


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