Years ago, in a conversation with a McKinsey CX researcher, I was told in no uncertain terms that the idea of customer relationship management systems (CRM) had failed. After chewing on this, I could see where she was coming from because the chances are your CRM consisted of a bunch of (probably) out of date marketing touchpoints on your prospects and clients.
For years, the CRM contained a bunch of old, cold data on your prospects, you know, name, address, etc, and the odd bit of unstructured notes garnered from events - hand-entered by sales, marketing, etc. This effort demanded a lot of manual data entry to come up with analysis and wisdom to uncover your own customer and prospect marketing big data. How would the average CRM then sift through unstructured free text comments, nightmare.
Enter marketing automation – attach it to your CRM and observe how it breathes life, activity and up to the minute buyer insights into your database, and for the first time, alongside your old, cold CRM data, you can see, on a minute by minute basis the digital body language your prospect is giving to you. If you ever need to sell your MA platform internally, especially to your product marketing team, then show them the activity record of a prospect in Pardot, I have witnessed some say "is this legal?" to which the response is, "yes, this is tracking data that your buyer opts into when they accept cookies".
HOWEVER, all this is great and amazing, but you need to have this tsunami of data structured in order for you to makes sense of it. This is a key fail point of most marketing automation implementations, if this is not a consideration, then all you are doing is setting yourself up for many many days of your head in excel to make some sense of the data haystack you just created.