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How Automation Software Changed Marketing

by Monica Mehta, August 2014

Over the last five years, marketing automation software has fundamentally altered the way marketing functions. According to technology research from Gartner, by 2017 the chief marketing officer (CMO) will spend more on IT than the CIO. According to Dustin Grosse, CMO at DocuSign, the company’s budget affirms that statistic.

“People talk about how sales and marketing systems are going to outpace any other investments that IT is going to make in the coming years,” says Grosse. “We’re already there. Our systems are one of the largest line items in DocuSign’s IT software budget.”

The main reason for this is that modern consumers’ expectations have changed with the advent of the internet and information at their fingertips. “Prospects want to be educated, but to do so in a more self-service way. They don’t want to be stuck on the phone and have to sit through tons of presentations,” says Grosse. “If you can get them content that’s tailored to their industry and role, and it allows them to review it when it’s convenient for them, that’s a win for everybody.”

The new technology has also changed the makeup of marketing teams. Grosse now looks for marketing professionals who have experience with constructing marketing automation campaigns. “These are more-technical marketers than we’ve ever had previously, because they’re thinking not just about the creative and content and response rates,” he says. “They’re also thinking about what the end-to-end process is going to look like in order to involve sales reps, to create a great customer experience, and to make sure that the data is captured throughout the entire process, so that we don’t waste any time, energy, or money.”

The role of the CMO has changed as well. Previously, CMOs had to be brand-focused, concentrating on advertising and messaging. But according to Grosse, CMOs today have more-analytical backgrounds and are more general-management-oriented.

“The best CMOs are thinking about end-to-end cost and investments, and particularly leveraging automation systems to make sure they’re scaling campaigns and their investments, and making the right portfolio investment choices around the marketing mix. It’s a much more technical focus,” says Grosse.

Marketing automation has also changed the relationship between sales representatives and marketers. Previously, marketers would supply target audience lists for salespeople to prospect against or call, and create messaging. Now, sales and marketing work more collaboratively to reach out to prospects, and to create value in the process of engagement.

“A main benefit of marketing automation systems is that we can now tailor content that is way more relevant to buyers, in a way they feel is informative and helpful,” says Grosse. “We are supplying them with best-practice content and material for how to evaluate whom they should select. We give our prospects case studies, video testimonials, use case information, and implementation details to really build a relationship by exchanging information.”

Monica Mehta is a regular contributor to Profit.

Snapshot DocuSign
    • Headquarters: San Francisco, California, and Seattle, Washington
    • Industry: Software as a service
    • Employees: More than 850
    • Oracle products: Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud Service
Snapshot Dustin Grosse
  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Length of tenure: 3.5 years
  • Education: MBA, Yale School of Management; BS in economics, University of California at Riverside
  • Personal quote/mantra: “Be the change you want to see in your company.”
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