Marketing automation is definitely a tough concept to capture in just a few words and refers to the framework of tools, technology, practices and people that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. To be more precise, Marketing automation refers to software platforms, technologies and practices designed to more effectively market and plan sales strategies on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks. With the right technology and processes in place, you can shift your marketing efforts from one-on-one to one-to-many.
n reality, the automation concept is not new, for example, automated email sequences are a key feature of marketing automation that have been available for at least 10 years in many capable ESP platforms. An example of an automated email sequence is a welcome programme where a series of emails are sent to new subscriber such as a prospect or sequence. A more advanced welcome sequence will include dynamic content in panels with creative and relevant targeted for different segments.
Marketing automation platform providers no doubt see a big opportunity since research often shows surprisingly low levels of adoption of marketing adoption.
There are three primary functions of marketing automation:
- Lead Generation. Lead generation is the process of turning people who are strangers to your business into interested leads. This can be a time-consuming process for many business owners, but with automation, it’s like putting your lead generation on autopilot.
- Engagement. Automation facilitates engagement of your business leads with the goal of turning them into customers. It also facilitates engagement of your current customers to help customer retention and nudge current customers into upgraded services and products.
- Closing. The most important function of marketing automation is closing the deal. This happens when money is given in exchange for your product offering.
Benefits of marketing automation
These are some of the reasons why a company will adopt marketing automation:
- Save time – multiple campaigns can be scheduled way ahead of time and released as per your own settings, therefore working hours can be utilised for other activities.
- Efficiency – it provides a streamlined automatic alternative to traditionally manual processes. Time and labour can be reduced, therefore costs can be reduced too.
- CRM integration – it can help to make sure that leads don’t disappear off the radar after a couple of unsuccessful contacts.
- Data collection – automatic marketing offers a touch-point to clients or customers that isn’t necessarily sales-driven. It can help provide better insight and be used to collect specific data to improve future campaigns or communication.
- Multichannel management – whereas it was possibly easy enough to manage a single email channel, now thanks to the multiple channels that consumers can be found on, it’s getting harder and harder to keep track of them all. Marketing automation can help you keep tabs on any channel.
- Consistency – Incorporating all your marketing efforts in one process can help keep a unified brand tone-of-voice.
- Personalisation – automation helps tailor the experience to the user, creating a unique and more inviting experience that’s entirely relevant and will more likely lead to conversion.
If marketing is capturing hundreds of leads, but none of them are being nurtured to become ‘sales-qualified leads’, the marketing department will receive instant and impartial feedback that they need to improve their nurturing campaigns.
This feedback system not only reduces tough conversations and company politics, but also improves accountability of staff and departments to ensure that their part of the system is performing effectively.
Marketing automation drives marketing and customer engagement actions, but it doesn’t make campaigns succeed automatically, nor does it make content more interesting.
Similarly, marketing automation does not typically get conversions. Instead, it prepares a contact to get converted. A visitor may fill out a form for knowing more about a product and automatically get an email with more details about that product. Now, that excites him and he is more interested in purchasing because he received thorough details about the product. If the potential customer is well-informed and interested in the product, the salesperson’s job becomes easier- it helps better qualify leads and use their time more efficiently! But the misconception must be out of your head – clear and ideal!