What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is technology that manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically.
With marketing automation, businesses can target customers with automated messages across email, web, social, and text. Messages are sent automatically, according to sets of instructions called workflows. Workflows may be defined by templates, custom-built from scratch, or modified mid-campaign to achieve better results.
Marketing and sales departments use marketing automation to automate online marketing campaigns and sales activities to both increase revenue and maximise efficiency. When automation is used effectively to handle repetitive tasks, employees are free to tackle higher-order problems, and human error is reduced.
Marketing automation helps with lead generation, nurturing, and scoring, as well as with measuring overall ROI on campaigns. The time- and cost-saving effects of automation increase as an organisation grows in size and complexity. Good marketing automation systems are designed to scale alongside your business.
What does marketing automation do?
In its most basic form, marketing automation is a set of tools designed to streamline and simplify some of the most time-consuming responsibilities of the modern marketing and sales roles. From automating the lead qualification process to creating a hub for digital campaign creation, automation is all about simplifying a business world that is growing far too complex, much too quickly.
Marketing automation lets you implement a digital marketing strategy without having to manually press “send” on each and every email, message, campaign, or post you create. Good automation tools help you identify your audience, design the right content, and automatically trigger actions based on schedules and customer behaviour. Once your campaign rolls out, you can focus on other tasks, then analyse and tweak your marketing plan as results start coming in. An automated marketing strategy can save time and resources, driving revenue and ROI while you focus on growing your business.
What are some marketing automation best practices?
Here are some best practices to keep in mind when designing your marketing automation strategy:
- Define and present your goals. Use real numbers to justify the investment in a marketing automation platform to your stakeholders.
- Collaborate with other teams. Your marketing automation strategy will touch several teams in your company. Get their input and buy-in before you begin.
- Create process visualisations. Use detailed diagrams of your marketing automation workflow to relay your big picture objectives to your entire organisation — efficiently and effectively.
- Prepare for database segmentation. Consider your customer data. Think about who you’d like to engage, and why.
- Prepare your content strategy. Build your content library. Create interesting, engaging, and relevant messaging designed to reach all stages of the customer lifecycle.
- Plan for a slow rollout. The world’s most successful marketing automation firms stagger their launches. Test early and optimise the next block of programs to give yourself the best chance of success.
- Analyse as you go. See what’s working and what’s not. Use some of the time you get back from automation to dig into the analytics and make the changes that will grow your business.
Objectives of Marketing Automation:
Here are the 5 key objectives and advantages of marketing automation for businesses today:
- Boosting marketing productivity
One of the most important objectives of implementing any automation is to minimize or eliminate human resource investment in manual and repetitive tasks, such that your human employees can instead focus on creative and imaginative jobs that cannot be automated and specifically requires human intervention.
The same applies to implementing marketing automation where the goal is to move repetitive marketing tasks and defined customer/ audience engagement workflows- from creative humans to efficient machines. This frees your thinking, breathing marketing human resources to focus on tasks where their attention is actually critical, such as, marketing strategy, calendar planning, digital customer experience mapping, campaign performance monitoring, and improvement and reporting etc.
- Improving marketing efficiency and ROI
As your organization grows, it is no longer efficient or cost-effective to have marketers and sales enablers manually keep track of individual prospects and customers and engage them. This can drop competitive edge, diminish your ROI balance sheets and can derail expansion as the company gets bogged down with bureaucracy needed to manage massive human resources who are largely doing meagre, repetitive and less motivating (and creative) tasks.
Marketing automation, when implemented even at a basic-to-intermediate stage, will enable your marketing team to schedule bulk emails, identity and segment prospects based on potential for conversion, nurture leads as per defined workflows, trigger engagements- such as sending customer feedback surveys after an interaction/ pre-defined time period and capture responses etc. Not only does this exponentially improve marketing efficiency in delivering outcomes with minimized manual work, your marketing team will now deliver real improvement in ROI as they engage in more strategic and creative tasks that are far more impactful. On a side bonus, it also improves marketing team’s employee satisfaction and reduces attrition rates, as these members now find more fulfilment through real creative tasks and learning opportunities in their day-to-day work profiles.
- Enabling and delivering campaign personalization
Personalization is critical to effective lead nurturing and with marketing automation you are better equipped to personalize how you connect with your audience. It’s because more data helps you understand your audience better. When integrated with your CRM, your MAP provides greater insights into your audience which can be used to define relevant segments and deliver content to the right prospect at the right time in their buyer’s journey.
- Providing real-time performance measurement
The 2017 Adestra study also revealed that 37% marketers see measuring performance as an important objective of marketing automation. Rightly so! With real-time campaign data through your MAP, you can analyse how well your campaign was received. Metrics such as open rate, click-through rate and so on, let you know what worked with your subscribers and what didn’t. This allows you to make tweaks and optimize your marketing campaigns along the way.
- Enhancing customer acquisition and retention
Prospects are attracted and customers stay when a brand offers well-managed personalized journeys that are relevant to their context and buying preferences. Additionally, with marketing automation marketers can focus more on strategizing customer acquisition and retention as the regular campaign management, follow-ups and customer interactions are taken care of. 39% marketers in the same Adestra study also agreed to acquire more customers as one of the objectives of marketing automation.
The evolution of marketing automation
The evolution of marketing automation has been rapid, to say the least. We know how rapidly marketing software is enhancing the customer experience, and how much chatter we hear in meetings about the “latest and greatest something or other” that will improve productivity and move us further along the sales cycle. In all of that, it’s really easy to forget how far we’ve come in the past two decades with almost every aspect of marketing.
It’s no longer 1999, and we’re not sitting across from a terrifying boss who fully expects we’ll go through our company’s primeval database of clients to start the day cold-calling. Nobody is going to ask for some tri-fold brochures to be folded while spending the day hoofing it through industrial parks to get face time with decision makers.
No denying it: Automation has become essential without a doubt, the automation of marketing processes has been a game changer. We talk all the time about the things marketing automation can do, and it’s all AWESOME. But one of the most exciting – and often overlooked – things is what these platforms can do to reduce the amount of oversight imposed on an employee, thereby empowering staff.
Think about it: with many essential functions being native to a program or platform, you’re being guided by options designed to help you engineer your workflow. At your say so, processes are executed at intervals that you choose to meet your clients and prospects.
The built in guardrails in these programs help you stay on track and on top of the number and kinds of interactions you have with your target market, thus virtually eliminating the need for micromanaging team members. Can management run reports and get up to date analytics? Absolutely – and faster than ever.
The modernization of marketing has something for everyone
There was a time when automated marketing functions were solidly the domain of large enterprises. In the beginning, you’d primarily see B2B industries – mostly manufacturing and tech companies – opting into platforms designed to streamline marketing functions. But now we see small and medium size operations, especially in B2C sectors, joining the party.
Why? It is clear that creating quality, customer centered experiences is what everyone wants whether they are B2B or B2C. From the first contact with a company to purchases to referrals, positive engagement-focused interaction is a must.
The beauty of marketing automation is that there’s a solution for a business of any size or budget. From free services to the most sophisticated platform, there’s absolutely no reason for an organization not to take advantage of cutting edge technology.
As far as we’ve come with marketing automation technology, it’s still not a Crock Pot. You can’t purchase a service or platform, set it, and forget it.
To really make it work, you must set a comprehensive strategy with the team in place to implement the process. With expert utilization, your lead management system, CRM, analytics, email marketing, and other systems actually enhance marketing and sales division alignment.
Make it work: Roll up your sleeves
You don’t have to put away your sticky notes and white boards. And, yes, there will still be meetings, because everyone knows there’s no great solution without putting forth great effort.
That said, marketing automation definitely brings incredible value to your various marketing efforts. One of the most meaningful by-products of adopting this kind of technology is the ability to visualize the connections between the email you send, the leads you qualify, the efficacy of your social media campaigns, and ultimately the revenue your enterprise can anticipate seeing next quarter.
The evolution of marketing automation gives us the ability to take what we’ve always had in intellect and work product, and elevates it to the next level in a way that drives sales and streamlines productivity.
This article was brought to by Adstuck which itself is a marketing service provider.
Adstuck: Adstuck is a digital marketing practice agency working from all over the world with four locations India, Singapore, Estonia and US. Its mission is to provide instant access to a talented workforce to enterprise. They have 491 clients and worked over 700 projects, with 30 fortunes 500 firms.
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