Marketing is transforming right before our eyes at a pace never before seen. Sales-ready leads, data management, lead scoring and nurturing, tracking, and measurement at the contact level are just a few of the focus areas for marketers in 2013.

The fact that studies report that marketers are going to spend more on IT staff in the coming five years than their IT Market_piccounterparts demonstrates the importance of more effective marketing methodologies driven by new technology solutions.

This fundamental transformation is creating unprecedented opportunities in the fastest growth area of our industry. This also requires a new kind of technology solution – one that helps marketers create relationships – building dialogs across fragmented channels, one that helps them address then marketing ecosystem in a more effective manner, and one that is powered by deep insight and analytics.

Wikipedia defines marketing automation as the use of a marketing automation platform to streamline sales and marketing organizations by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions. Essentially, it enables marketers to do more in less time and allows the marketer to focus on high gain activities while the technology delivers the marketing program methodologies.

Most of the marketing automation solutions today are cloud-based applications that enable print and marketing professionals to seamlessly integrate off and online media, such as direct mail, email, web, SMS (text messaging), social media and mobile to create a highly personalized and unified experience across multiple channels.

Since the No. 1 goal of most marketers today is to deliver sales-ready leads to their sales teams, a new and important marketing application within the marketing automation solution now takes on new significance for all marketers; the ability to create rule based, multi-touch drip marketing campaigns to generate, nurture and score leads – cost effectively.

What this does for the marketer is enable them to deliver sales-ready leads to sales for immediate follow-up, while the remaining prospects are lead nurtured until they move into the sales-ready category.

Joseph Manos is an Executive Vice President for Irvine, Calif. Based MindFireInc, which specializes in marketing intelligence software and services that enable the creation and deployment of targeted, trackable cross-media marketing campaigns. You may contact him at