Growth Hacking, Marketing Automation and Lead Scoring

[Marketing Automation] has been one of the buzz terms & topics in 2013. Without looking at real stats it might have been outranked by [Growth Hacking] recently. Here is the connection – you can’t be a growth hacker, even if self proclaimed, without knowing about marketing automation and why there has been so much talk about it recently. I am contacted by companies/headhunters looking for help with marketing automation on a weekly basis, which shows me that companies like Hubspot, Silverpop or Marketo have hit a goldmine by focusing their efforts on positioning themselves as the leaders in this area.

Growth Hacking, Marketing Automation and Lead Scoring

Growth Hacking & Marketing Automation
Growth Hacking & Marketing Automation

I have worked with both services and they are great. On top of that Hubspot’s marketing is amazing, proven by all of us using the term “inbound marketing” (a word creation by Hubspot). They are also doing a lot to incentivize their target group to make sure they spread the word. Or why is it that many of us now have an “inbound marketing certificate” issued by Hubspot  (including myself) and are suggesting Hubspot as the tool to use?  Here is the catch – working with these services can get quite expensive, especially if A) your database is big or B) growing fast.


There is no question that marketing automation is the way to go, but neither does it have to be expensive, nor via the use of leading platforms.

For all readers who are not sure why there is no question, please check out the many case studies on the subject including companies like Sony, Panasonic, Intel or Chrysler.

When using all-in-one marketing solutions you are clearly also paying for features such as social listening tools, blog/website builder and email marketing. One would argue that all these features are needed in order to monitor inbound marketing workflows or create effective lead scoring, but that is not the case and I will explain in the following.


Take these 3 simple steps to analyze if and what type of marketing automation you need:

1. Analyze your business size and existing workflows.

SMB’s might not always need a fancy lead scoring system or complicated, automated workflows including webhooks, social media or email. There are many, less-expensive alternatives (see below 2.) and aligning them with existing email solutions will do the job.

Larger companies often have internal tools and effective workflows in place, which brings us to the next step.


2. Look into existing tools first, before paying twice when signing up for all-in-one marketing solutions.

What are you already using and how is it working? Keep successful tools, especially the ones offering flexible options to sync with other platforms. If you have manually built internal solutions, make sure they are not outdated and compatible with other tools.

For startups I can recommend tools like Zapier to automate workflows around certain events. Zapier lets you create promotional workflows around events such as upload of a video on YouTube. I am choosing the YouTube example since getting eyes on videos within a short timeframe is crucial for SEO. Zapier helps you to automate all promotional activities around the upload such as posts on all social media channels (you can even trigger these promos by certain keywords in the video’s description) in order to boost engagement for your video, resulting in higher search rankings.

Automating trigger workflows on Zapier
Automating trigger workflows on Zapier

Interesting for startup founders with existing social media reach – you can use Zapier to sync all your databases and create workflows to get in touch with people you connect. (e.g. automated email after connecting via social media channel)

If you need more than workflows and would like to analyze click-paths, funnels and send notifications based on user behavior, I recommend looking into Mixpanel. Mixpanel covers many of the tools you would find in solutions like Hubspot, Marketo or Silverpop, however it does not offer landing page creation, smart lists and their lead scoring system works differently (scoring can be assigned to people properties) Its a great tool and allows to sync with CRM’s, Salesforce, etc.

Mixpanel - Event Analytics
Mixpanel – Event Analytics


3. Coordinate with your developers & sales team

Talk to your developers and find out where they stand on aligning internal tools with third party software. Check how much time they would need to invest to build additional solutions and whether it would be worth it. Finally make a decision on third party tools you could use in order to optimize workflows and automation.

Also talk to your sales team to find out how to synch internal CRM or other sales tools such as Salesforce with SMART lists, lead scoring or people properties for event tracking.

Follow these steps in order to build automation for less $, optimize workflows and increase conversions. Make sure to follow my blog [Tonic Marketing] for more on digital marketing and automation.

What are your experiences with marketing automation? Are there other tools you can recommend? If so, please leave a comment or tweet @global_trend


About the author:

Nicolas Ullah is a L.A. based, fash-tech marketing strategist and currently Director of Marketing U.S. at, a leading Trendforecasting Agency with offices in London, New York and Los Angeles. You can find more on his digital marketing approaches on his blog [Tonic Marketing]


Links: (the many case studies)




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