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Book Review: Think Outside the Inbox
There is so much information regarding Marketing Automation tactics available in various places on the web, it makes the subject seem a bit overwhelming. Marketing Automation is still not widely understood or practiced by B2B businesses. In bits and pieces, perhaps it is (CRM systems, email marketing campaigns, social media tools) but there are marketing automation systems that provide a way to integrate all these tools into a single platform where you have all the information in one place, allowing for easier measurement of the effectiveness of the campaigns. So, where would you get started?
What does the book discuss?
InThink Outside the Inbox, authors David Cummings and Adam Blitzer, break down this topic down into a quick and easy read (about 150 pages) containing solid, actionable tips along with a comprehensive overview of a Marketing Automation system’s key components, and most importantly, how they fit together and into a modern sales cycle.
Overview of the current climate
The book begins with a simple but smart analysis of today's marketing landscape (such as how the B2B sales cycle is 22% longer today than it was just five years ago), setting the stage for explaining the connection between key sales and marketing systems in the rapidly growing world of Marketing Automation. This section of the book discusses benefits, challenges and functions of Marketing Automation in today's B2B world.
Fundamentals of Marketing Automation systems
Next, the authors give an overview of marketing fundamentals and present cases on how you can leverage Marketing Automation as part of your toolkit, particularly integrating your CRM database with other applications. The point is, instituting a more fluid, integrated process gives the marketer more control over the process, the ability to identify and engage with the right customers, and making it less likely to lose valuable prospects mid sell cycle.
Tactical Tips and Best Practices
In addition to describing how Marketing Automation systems work, the book steps through major business marketing best practices:ideas on how to better manage email campaigns, use landing pages, general advice on nurturing B2B relationships, and measuring success rates. This section alone made the book for me, invaluable.
Yes, at times, the authors describe marketing automation a bit idealistically, making it seem like a “magic” solution. Like most other strategies, a solid foundation, valuable content, and a fair amount of effort are needed for the system to work properly. If you are already creating (or making an effort to create) valuable dialog with clients and prospects, the book would be a great introduction before dipping your toes into a fully integrated program.
Regardless, Think Outside the Inbox is a recommended read for any professional seeking to understand the benefits of a Marketing Automation solution (or simply interested in some new tactical tips!).