December 7, 2020

Marketing Automation, The Virtual CMO Podcast

Many businesses struggle dealing with the shift away from traditional marketing to digital marketing and sales. Automation tools can help but the marketplace is filled with so many choices, it can be difficult to know exactly what solution is right for your company. You also need the right team to manage this software and maximize these tools to their fullest potential. It can be difficult to adapt old processes to new tools and  deal with these transitions in this fast-paced digital world. 

In this episode, we dive deeper into the world of marketing and automation tools and how the landscape is changing and evolving. The Five Echelon Group's Founder/CMO Eric Dickmann has an in-depth conversation with growth marketer and Kurve Founder-Oren Greenberg about marketing automation and the aspects of building a successful business.

Oren Greenberg is a marketing mentor and the founder of Kurve Consultancy in London, United Kingdom. He is a growth marketer who helps startups and corporate projects develop using digital channels. Oren has also written for leading marketing blogs and was featured in the international press. He and his team at Kurve continue to build scalable growth marketing engines to help enterprises achieve their desired goals. Greenberg has been interview in multiple podcasts nationwide like-Digital Marketing Radio, SaaS District Podcast Show, and Marketing Guys. Oren believes that "Marketing is your way to create awareness, but it cannot overcome the hurdles of a weak product."

Recognizing Your Market

The needs of small businesses are different from those of larger companies. Many entrepreneurs and startup companies tend to pour all their financial resources into developing their product or service before they even determine whether or not there is an actual market for it. While the marketplace as a whole may be large, oftentimes, they discover their total addressable market is relatively small. It's foolish to waste money and resource going after that larger market when the money would be better spent going after the narrower niche where you can be successful. Oren believes that it's much better to understand the addressable market and identify the niche where you can be successful before embarking on any marketing outreach.

Biggest Market Automation Benefits

Product-Market Fit

It's challenging to figure out product-market fit but it's a critical component of successfully launching a product. You've got to have a smart and dedicated team to help you fully understand the market in which you'll be competing. Having a diverse set of people helping you conceptualize and finalize your thought process allows you to strategically plan your marketing and minimize the chances of failure and potential loss. Greenberg tells us that it is essential for success not to exceed realistic constraints. The emotional anxiety and stress on founders can be quite overwhelming. Many business leaders can be overconfident and overlook reality. A good team that is encouraged to speak freely can enable business leaders to distinguish which is real and not, what's overly ambitious from achievable.

Product-Market Fit

When launching a new product or service, businesses have to do something that truly differentiates their particular take on a product or service because there aren't many game-changing ideas or products out there. Some business leaders can fall into the trap of  thinking that what they have is completely new to the market and somehow revolutionary. In reality, it's often just a variation of some product or service that already exists. In his years of working with many companies, Oren Greenberg has seen many business leaders who are so blinded by their concept or idea that they launch their product or service without undergoing the proper market research. Oren recommends that all companies do market research first before product launching to fully understand their target market. If you have an idea and opportunity to launch a new product, you should ensure it is realistic and based on data and research, and never rooted in ambition alone. Companies have to do something that truly differentiates their particular take on a product or service because there aren't that many truly game-changing ideas or products out there!

Oren shares that in his experience, the key to innovation is creating something UNIQUE. It may be hard to do or make something innovative but for products to be commercially successful, companies have to offer something that benefits people and solves a problem. If you biggest differentiator is price, that's probably a sign the value of your product or service isn't significantly enough. 

Content Marketing

Previously, having an average product and doing a fantastic job in sales were the two things you needed to build a successful business. This approach isn't applicable anymore because of the disintermediation of players. According to Greenberg, content marketing is one of the most important aspects of your marketing strategy. Content marketing is critical to your buyer's journey because it will help your clients find your products or services. It's also very important to get feedback from your buyers which is why customer reviews are crucial as well. Reviews help determine if your product is doing well in the market or not. Good customer service should be reflected in good reviews, while unsatisfactory product quality or service can result in negative feedback.

oren greenberg

I’m very ambitious myself, but this ambitious is realistic. And I think it's important that ambition doesn't exceed the realistic constraints.”

How Companies Struggle to Change and Adapt

Younger companies often have an advantage over more established companies because they can implement marketing automation more easily. Unlike well established businesses, they haven't invested large amounts in specific tools or established complex internal processes. Many large organizations have invested millions of dollars over the years in marketing infrastructure. That provides an advantage to companies who can outplay their larger competitors because they can implement new tools more quickly and experiment more easily, 

Greenberg thinks that companies struggle to pivot their business and implement the appropriate marketing automation because of these three things:

  1. Skills Shortage- There is a steep learning curve because people are struggling to adjust to the digital era. Some lack the essential technical and digital skills to accomplish work because the workforce has been trained in new skillsets and tools
  2. Cultural Competition and Attitude towards Change- Employers and employees might question the need for transition and doubt the benefits marketing automation will bring to the company. 
    • Why do I need to change the way I do things?
    • Why do I need to learn these new tools?
  3. Overwhelming Choices- The number of automation tools in the marketplace is overwhelming. Understanding which is the right tool or set of tools can be a complicated decision. Often times, multiple tools are needed to complete what's required and so integration becomes and issue. 
Lead Lift since Marketing Automation implementation


Customer Device Platforms (CDP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are the two most widely used marketing and sales technology systems that collect and manage consumer data. Unlike CDPs, CRMs captures customer records and notes for sales and customer service interactions. CDM is used by marketers to analyze consumer behavior and discover new patterns to engage customers. On the other hand, CRMs are used by the sales team to capture, track, and manage customers and prospects data during a sales process.

CMSWire says that the CDM and CRM softwares may have many similarities, but the main difference between these two marketing automation platforms is that the CRM platform typically deals with first party data that is sourced by sales and marketing, while CDP provides a richer view of the customer data for marketers to have a complete 360-view of buyers and design a personalized experience for them. CDPs were designed to connect disparate/multiple data sources, so there is a more complete customer profile, while CRMs do not pick up offline data and do not match data across channels. Oren believes that the customer's problem is overwhelmed and doesn't understand which between CDM and CRM is the best tool to use. What's happening now is that decision-making committees are growing in B2B, requiring more due diligence to find the right marketing automation approach to use.

Most important benefits of Marketing Automation in B2B

Customer Device Platforms

Customer Device Platforms (CDP) allow companies to personalize their customer's journey and collate information about them from all the different touchpoints into one centralized place. This allows marketers to better understand patterns of behavior. We are in an era of increased personalization which allows marketers to more specifically tailor their messages and content. 

Cyberclick Enumerates the Seven Advantages of CDP in Digital Marketing and Marketing Automation

  1. They provide a UNIQUE view of the customer
  2. They allow companies to be more competitive
  3. They are agile
  4. Democratize data
  5. Enrich the relationship between partners and suppliers
  6. They provide more effective customer and marketing experiences
  7. Improve operational efficiency
Most Effective Tactics to Optimize Market Automation

Implementing Marketing Automation

Oren Greenberg enumerates to us the six steps businesses could do to start building their marketing automation stack:

  1. Get your positioning in the market
  2. Establish the right branding
  3. Identify your audience
  4. Determine the best channel to use to communicate with potential buyers
  5. Start defining your technology stack
  6. Execute your marketing plan using the new technology

One tool mentioned by both Oren and Eric Dickmann is HubSpot to help teams manage the sales and marketing of their business. This software has helped many companies around the globe  capture and nurture leads. HubSpot helps teams to execute marketing campaigns, track the results, and then manage sales and services interactions. Similar tools from, Microsoft and others provide similar functionality.  

Marketing Automation Challenges

One of the major mistakes businesses make is buying marketing software first before identifying the problem they are trying to solve. Many companies purchase costly tools believing that the tools would help them grow faster. Unfortunately, without proper training on how to effectively use the software and how to apply to the underlying problem, companies end up spending hundreds of thousands on a tool that is not used to its maximum potential. Greenberg thinks it's best for companies to engage with a specialist who can help them figure out what tool is best for their needs in a very crowded market. Oftentimes, it's helpful to bring in a Virtual CMO when companies don't have the executive skills or experience to manage a transition to a new automation environment.

Main Marketing Automation Challenges

Another mistake that Greenberg sees in companies is that they invest more than 15% percent of their marketing budget on technology. The budget should be mainly spent on cutting through the noise with creative content rather than solely focusing on automation and efficiency. Businesses need to reduce overhead costs because growth doesn't come from these tools but by getting more customers and revenue. Oren thinks that the focus of many businesses is often in the wrong place.

Common Objections to Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation is Only Part of the Solution

Many companies invest large dollars in tools but don't have the resources to run these tools. Tools by themselves do very little, you have to feed them with information. You can't buy a Facebook ad without creating the ad. And you can't implement an inbound marketing strategy without creating great marketing content. It seems that people often jump into a new tool without realizing that they have to incorporate the tool with a trained team to get maximum value from the investment. 

Greenberg tells us that people have a hard time buying intangibles. They want to see something concrete and immediately see results. Oren gives us a book as an example. You can buy a book for around five to ten dollars, but what is interesting is that despite its cheapness, the information you can gather from books can change your life. Many of us miss out on the value of strategy versus execution. As a tool, a marketing automation platform is like that book, the value is not the tool itself but the information it can provide. It takes time for the information to collect but when used correctly, it can have a game changing impact on your business!

Live Stream Replay


  • Understand your addressable market and product-market fit before making marketing investments
  • Content marketing is an important part of any comprehensive marketing strategy
  • A marketing budget should be mainly spent on cutting through the noise with creative content rather than overly focusing on automation and efficiency.
  • Businesses should consider consulting CMO services to help formulate a strategy and get advice on a marketing automation technologies.

Episode and Guest Links

Eric Dickmann - Founder/CMO of the Five Echelon Group, can be found online on Twitter or his personal website.

Oren Greenberg Growth marketer, marketing mentor, and Founder of Kurve can be found online on LinkedIn and Twitter.

  • Execute on challenges and identify solutions to make your business achieve hyper-growth with the digital marketing experts at Kurve!
  • The Free MarTech Landscape Report
  • Read Oren's blog at Muck Rack to better understand marketing automation and learn other essential tips to scale your business.

It's time to grow your company!

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