What is Marketing Automation? Process and Benefits
Marketing automation: this article explains marketing automation in a practical way. It covers what marketing automation is, touches on email marketing, lead management and segmenting, and lists the benefits of marketing automation. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful marketing tool.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation refers to integrating software and other technologies into marketing activities. These integrations are designed for organizations to advertise more effectively across multiple online channels and to automate repetitive marketing tasks.
These solutions are able to perform tasks and processes that are then stored, interpreted, analyzed and improved. This increases the efficiency of the marketing efforts and reduces the possibility of human error.
The term marketing automation was initially aimed at automating email marketing, but today it refers to a wide variety of automation and analytics tools. The platforms that are often used within marketing automation are often web-based internet applications. The advantage of this is that no separate software needs to be installed.
Some examples of marketing automation are:
- Creating personalized and specific email marketing campaigns
- Identifying, managing, analyzing and tactically approaching leads / lead generation
- Managing relationships (CRM)
- Segmenting the customer base
- Account-based marketing
- Coordinating and managing other marketing campaigns
Marketing automation solutions can be placed in one of three categories.
- Marketing intelligence
- Marketing automation
- Advertising automation
Marketing intelligence includes the use of tracking codes in social media, email and web pages. These tracking codes expose the behavior of interested parties online. Analyses on these links and codes can reveal what a person’s next actions will be. This enables a targeted response to the lead.
Automating marketing processes involves moving leads from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom, where they arrive as high-quality leads.
Advertising automation and a marketing automation strategy focuses on automating the advertising process. Automating this involves integrating various activities and areas, including media planning, campaign development, advertising, lead scoring, and reporting.
Marketing automation software offers the user the possibility to work with a lot of detailed customer data. This makes it possible to personally approach customers with content, such as a personalized messaging including an offer, based on their own profile. This ensures that each lead sees exactly the content that can overcome their specific barriers.
Examples of marketing processes using automated email marketing software are described below.
- A prospect visits one of a company’s landing pages and fills out a form to receive a free eBook.
- This eBook will be emailed to the lead automatically.
- At the same time, the lead data is stored in automated lead management software solutions (CRM).
- In the eBook, the lead clicks on a link to a product page, but the lead takes no action yet.
- An automatic email is sent asking if the lead has any questions about the product or would like to speak to a representative for assistance.
- The lead fills out a form and indicates a time he / she would like to talk to someone.
- A representative of the company takes on this task in the automated marketing platform.
The example above shows how new leads are systematically treated and approached. With the right software, a score is assigned to each lead based on the likelihood that they will buy a product or service.
A score is assigned for every action a lead takes, for example a click in an email on a Call-To-Action button. When a predetermined point total is reached, this lead gets the status of a high quality lead. When a lead is little involved and never clicks through, it gets a lower status.
These are valuable pieces of information for sales teams, who then focus on guiding the potential customer through the purchase process.
Marketing automation platforms help organizations segment their customer base. This is crucial for determining the right personal marketing strategy.
Customers are segmented based on demographics, location, buying preferences or other matters. Effective segmentation, personalization and nurturing leads can build valuable and strong customer relationships.
Benefits of marketing automation
As mentioned, marketing automation takes over a series of manual and repetitive tasks from staff, freeing up time and resources. The information released with the marketing automation techniques allows the marketer to collect and analyze accurate information about the customer. This then allows for effective and personal campaigns to be set up.
The advantages of these valuable techniques are:
Saving time and resources
Marketers are often under pressure to quickly come up with new ideas and campaigns that are successful in reaching and attracting customers. Marketing automation helps them free up time for creative thinking, an indispensable element in devising marketing campaigns. This allows marketers to focus more on strategy and to pay less attention to day-to-day business. An example of this is giving statuses to leads. Automating this leaves more time to develop new leads with high potential.
Creating an accurate and detailed picture of consumer behavior
Automating marketing efforts provides a more complete and accurate picture of the customer and customer behavior than manual analysis methods. The software is able to assess the level of customer interactions with online content on the website, advertisements and emails. This gives marketers a very clear picture of which leads are likely to purchase.
Improving follow-up techniques
Follow-ups by marketers can be adjusted based on the latest behavior of the consumer. If a particular customer reads an informative piece online about a category of products, it may indicate that the consumer is about to begin the purchase process. With these insights, contact can be made in a more targeted way, both automatically online and by an employee via a personal conversation.
Extensive marketing campaigns
Combining information about website visits, social media activity, content interaction and direct marketing, automatically scoring and qualifying leads becomes a simple matter for software. The insights gained can be used to develop a broader marketing campaign.
In addition to automating follow-up processes and strategies aimed at customer retention, marketing automation tools also enables companies to clearly measure the progress of leads that are in the purchase process. Together with the other insights, it becomes easier to determine the sales readiness of a lead. This was previously left to the sales associate’s intuition.
Marketing automation in B2B
Marketing automation is also great for B2B marketing. The B2B market is characterized by longer sales cycles, complex decision-making dynamics, hierarchy and the coexistence of multiple purchasing processes.
Marketing automation offers the same benefits for B2B as marketing automation in the consumer market. It makes targeted campaigns easier, as well as monitoring campaigns, automating interactions, prioritizing leads, and personalizing the customer experience to increase the likelihood of repeat business.
In B2B, relationship management is very important. Knowledge about products and purchasing processes are also crucial. It is a market where purchases are largely rational, taking place over weeks, months or years. Often several decision-makers are involved in the procurement process.
Now it’s your turn
What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation about marketing automation? Which marketing solutions are used in your work environment? Do you think it is easier to reach a lot of people today than ten years ago? What role does new technology play in this?
Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.
- Bagshaw, A. (2015). What is marketing automation?. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 17(2), 84-85.
- Heimbach, I., Kostyra, D. S., & Hinz, O. (2015). Marketing automation. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 57(2), 129-133.
- Järvinen, J., & Taiminen, H. (2016). Harnessing marketing automation for B2B content marketing. Industrial marketing management, 54, 164-175.
- Sweezey, M. (2014). Marketing automation for dummies. John Wiley & Sons.
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Published on: 10/10/2022 | Last update: 11/30/2022
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