The Evolution of Marketing Automation: Old School vs. New School

As I was thinking about this topic, I started wondering about how Hip hop has changed through the years. Old school Hip hop is known for its more simplistic and straightforward musical production – think drum machine beats and minimalistic arrangements. Lyrics are focused on partying, social commentary, and storytelling with artists such as Run-D.M.C and LL Cool J. 

New school Hip hop has seen significant evolution in production techniques. It includes electronic music, trap, and pop. Beats are often more complex as well. Lyrics are focused on social issues, personal experiences, and introspections with artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Drake. Let’s pivot to another old vs. new concept – Old School Marketing Automation vs. New School Marketing Automation. 

Old school marketing automation represents the early stages of automated marketing efforts. It predominantly relies on direct marketing, email marketing, basic segmentation, and limited personalization. For example, the foundation of this approach is the one-size-fits-all email blast to a segmented list of subscribers.

Old School Marketing Automation has its limitations including:

  • Relevance: Content and messaging lack personalization, often leading to a disconnect with the audience.
  • Scalability: Managing large database audiences and workflows require significant manual effort.
  • Engagement: The engagement rates of email campaigns are gradually declining as inboxes become inundated with generic marketing messages.

On the flip side…

New school marketing automation is defined as representing the cutting-edge strategies and tools that are used today. It’s characterized by the integration of artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced analytics. This approach is all about omnichannel marketing, hyper-personalization and mapping the customer journey.

The Benefits of New School Marketing Automation

  • Targeted Precision: Utilizing data-driven insights, new school automation allows businesses to target their audience with better accuracy, ensuring the right message reaches the right person at the right time.
  • Customer Engagement: By personalizing interactions across various channels, brands can foster meaningful connections with their customers, increasing engagement and loyalty.
  • ROI Enhancement: Improved targeting and automation result in higher conversion rates and, consequently, a better return on investment.

Case Studies: Old vs. New School Success Stories

Old School: A classic example of old school marketing automation would be a retail store sending out a weekly email newsletter to a list of subscribers.  

New School: A new school approach would involve a retail store utilizing machine learning algorithms to analyze customer data and delivering personalized product recommendations through email, In-App, Push, SMS and social media channels. The key here is that the message was delivered through the customer’s channel of choice. 

The latter approach typically yields higher open rates, click-through rates, and conversions, ultimately driving more revenue and customer satisfaction.

Challenges and Considerations

Transitioning from old school to new school marketing automation isn’t without its challenges. Businesses need to:

  • Invest in Technology: New school automation often requires investments in sophisticated tools and platforms.
  • Data Privacy: Strict adherence to data privacy regulations is essential when dealing with customer data.
  • Team Training: Proper training is crucial for teams to maximize the potential and adoption of new school automation.


Tips for Transitioning

  • Audit Your Current Strategies: Assess your current marketing automation processes and identify areas that need improvement.
  • Invest Wisely: Choose automation tools that align with your business goals and budget.
  • Data-Driven Insights: Utilize data to inform your marketing decisions and strategies.
  • Stay Agile: Be ready to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape.


The era of old school marketing automation, with its one-size-fits-all approach, is slowly fading away to new school marketing automation, driven by data, personalization, and advanced technology, ushering in a new era of customer-first marketing. Embracing these changes is crucial for a business to survive as the end customer is expecting more in this digital-first age. 

So, which school of marketing automation are you in?

P.S. – I chose new school just like I opted to listen to Kendrick Lamar while writing this.

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