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It’s funny – there have been a number of big social media and marketing automation partnerships in 2012, but no one from any of the key vendors involved (Salesforce, Marketo, Hubspot) have really issued a statement as to why the gigantic moves into the social media lead generation space were made.

I got the chance to do a few emails last week with Marketo founder Jon Miller, while doing research for an upcoming book, and he gave me some real insight. You need to read between the lines a bit when you read the first two sentences of the quote below, because it calls to attention something that few marketing automation vendors have picked up on: it’s not 2007 anymore.

“Social Media is evolving. What began as listening (italics mine) quickly evolved into having a presence and publishing content. While this foundation is still vital for social marketing, the next phase is word of mouth,” said Marketo founder Jon Miller.

This means that if you ain’t proactive, you ain’t managing your revenue performance, period.

“Customers and prospects are relying more heavily on recommendations from peers within their networks and businesses need new tools to be part of these conversations,” Miller said.

This means that without social, you’re missing a huge piece of your top-of-funnel.

“With the acquisition of Crowd Factory by Marketo, businesses can now leverage a suite of applications to give a social boost to their marketing campaigns, and amplify each digital interaction,” Miller said.

Does that make it a little clearer? Without social at the top of the funnel, all day, every day, you’re losing money.