What is Marketing Automation? Examples and Definition
Long gone are the days of manual data gathering and analysis. There are countless solutions for automating marketing tasks, and today we’ll look at the best examples. If you are here to learn what marketing automation is and how you can use it, you are in the right place!
Marketing automation has become an increasingly popular strategy for businesses looking to streamline their marketing processes and improve customer engagement.
By leveraging technology and software, companies can automate repetitive tasks, nurture leads, and provide personalized experiences to their customers.
In this blog article, I will explore the benefits and challenges of automating tasks, as well as provide tips and best practices for implementing a successful marketing automation strategy. Doesn’t matter if you are a one-man army or manage big marketing teams – you will find valuable insights for all organizations.
Table of contents:
- Marketing automation – definition
- Is marketing automation the same as CRM?
- What is the main task of marketing automation?
- Examples of marketing automation
- Best marketing automation tools
- 10 benefits of marketing automation
- How do I choose the right marketing automation solution for my business?
What is marketing automation – definition
Marketing automation refers to the use of software and technology to automate repetitive marketing tasks and processes, such as email campaigns, social media posts, and lead nurturing, with the goal of increasing efficiency and effectiveness in reaching and engaging with customers. It can also involve tracking and analyzing customer behavior and data to improve targeting and personalization of marketing efforts.
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Is marketing automation the same as CRM?
Although some people mix these concepts, marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) are not the same thing. However, they are related and often used in conjunction with each other.
Marketing automation primarily focuses on automating marketing processes and tasks, such as email campaigns, lead nurturing, and social media scheduling, with the goal of improving efficiency and effectiveness in reaching and engaging with customers. It also involves tracking and analyzing customer behavior and data to better target and personalize marketing efforts.
On the other hand, CRM is a strategy and set of practices for managing interactions and relationships with customers across multiple touchpoints, with the goal of building and maintaining strong, long-term relationships with customers. CRM typically involves storing and managing customer data, tracking interactions and touchpoints, and providing tools for customer service, sales, and marketing teams to better understand and engage with customers.
While there is an overlap between the two, marketing automation is more focused on automating specific marketing tasks, while CRM is a broader strategy for managing customer relationships. Many businesses use both marketing automation and CRM to improve their marketing and customer management efforts.
What is the main task of marketing automation?
The main task of marketing automation is to automate repetitive marketing tasks and processes, with the goal of improving efficiency and effectiveness in reaching and engaging with customers. By using technology and software, businesses can automate tasks such as email campaigns, social media posting, lead nurturing, and segmentation. Marketing automation also involves tracking and analyzing customer behavior and data to better target and personalize marketing efforts.
The overall objective of marketing automation is to streamline marketing processes and enable businesses to engage with customers more efficiently and effectively. This can result in increased productivity, higher conversion rates, and improved customer satisfaction. Ultimately, the main task of marketing automation is to help businesses generate more leads, nurture those leads, and convert them into loyal customers.
Examples of marketing automation
A lot of online operations can be automated. Especially mundane, repetitive tasks should be included in your marketing automation strategy.
Here are the best examples of how to automate marketing tasks:
You can use marketing automation software to set up and send automated email campaigns based on customer behavior, such as abandoned carts, sign-ups, and purchases.
Consider an online clothing store that uses automation to send an email to customers who have left items in their online shopping cart without completing a purchase. The email could include a reminder about the items, a special offer, or an invitation to complete the purchase.
Marketing automation can help businesses nurture leads by sending personalized and targeted content to prospects at different stages of the buying journey.
A B2B software company can automate a sequence of informative emails over several weeks for new leads who sign up for a trial of their software, including best practice guides, tutorial videos, and case studies to encourage a full purchase.
Marketing automation software can score leads based on their behavior and demographics, allowing your sales team to prioritize their follow-up efforts.
A financial services firm could use an automation tool to assign scores to leads based on factors such as their job title, company size, or interactions with the firm’s content. This helps the firm prioritize which leads the sales team should contact first.
Social media scheduling
Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer enable businesses to schedule and automate social media posts across multiple platforms. What’s more, you can connect your social media management tool with a chatbot or AI to additionally automate your responses and comments.
A restaurant might use a social media scheduling tool to schedule the release of daily menu specials on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at peak engagement times, ensuring the information reaches the largest possible audience.
Your brand can use marketing automation to personalize marketing efforts by using customer data to create tailored content, offers, and experiences.
An online bookshop might use marketing automation to personalize their email newsletters, sending recommendations based on customers’ past purchases and browsing history, which could include new releases, special offers, or author events.
Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot and Marketo offer tools to create and optimize landing pages for lead generation and conversion.
A digital marketing agency could use these tools to create and optimize a landing page for a new ebook release. The landing page could include a download form to capture lead information and an automated email sequence to nurture those leads.
Analytics and reporting
You can use tools like Brand24 to gather detailed analytics and report on customer behavior, engagement, and conversion rates, allowing your organization to continually optimize its marketing efforts.
An e-commerce company could use Brand24 to monitor mentions of their brand on social media and other online platforms. This could help them understand customer sentiment, identify influencers, and track the success of marketing campaigns.
Brand24 tracks online mentions of your brand and provides advanced analytics tools. Try the free trial.
These are just a few examples of how your business can use marketing automation tools to streamline your marketing processes and engage with customers more efficiently and effectively.
Best marketing automation tools
Are you on the lookout for the next best marketing automation software? Here are some tools that we like and use. Hopefully, you will find something for your company, too!
Brand24 is a media monitoring tool. After you start a project, it will automatically start gathering all publicly available online mentions of your brand (or selected keywords).
Apart from the benefit of being able to jump right into social media conversations and performing social selling, Brand24 will also perform sentiment analysis (better than the GPT3 algorithm – we tested it), show you the context of the discussion, and find the most influential social profiles. Finally, you can use our automated reporting features for analysis purposes.
Brand24 offers a free trial. Paid plans start at $49 per month.
14-day free trial and no card details required. Try media monitoring for free!
HubSpot offers a full suite of marketing, sales, and customer service tools, including marketing automation features such as email campaigns, lead nurturing, and social media scheduling.
HubSpot is an all-in-one platform that can do a lot but comes at a price. It’s especially recommended for enterprises and big organizations that want to automate their marketing and sales efforts.
Visit their website to find the solution that would benefit your organization the most.
MailChimp is a popular email marketing automation platform that also offers other features such as landing pages, customer journey planners, creative tools, and more.
If you want to scale your email marketing strategy, you will need, at some point, a platform where you can manage your communication. MailChimp is a great choice as it’s one of the most popular solutions to automate email campaigns.
The tool offers a free plan, perfect for new and emerging startups with a small customer database. Paid plans start at $13 a month.
Marketo is a marketing automation platform that offers features such as email campaigns, lead nurturing, landing pages, and lead scoring.
Marketo is known for its powerful automation capabilities, enabling businesses to automate complex workflows and processes to deliver highly personalized and targeted marketing campaigns. However, it is also known for its complexity and may require some technical expertise to use effectively. It is often used by larger businesses with more complex marketing needs.
Pricing is calculated individually according to your team’s needs.
Another email marketing automation software is Autopilot. But it doesn’t cover only email marketing. It’s a great tool for creating complex and automated customer journeys.
It is designed to help businesses automate and streamline their marketing efforts. It offers a range of features and capabilities, including email marketing, automation workflows, lead management, customer journey mapping, integrations with other tools, and more.
Autopilot offers a free trial. Paid plans start at $99 per month.
Pardot is a marketing automation platform from Salesforce that offers features such as email campaigns, lead scoring, and lead nurturing, as well as integration with Salesforce’s CRM system.
If your sales team uses Salesforce, there’s a good chance they will like the work with Pardot.
Pardot is known for its strong integration with Salesforce’s CRM system, providing a seamless experience for managing leads and opportunities across the entire customer journey. It also offers a range of advanced features, such as ABM and lead scoring, to help you deliver highly personalized and targeted marketing campaigns.
However, it is often considered a more complex and technical tool. Sales teams that would like to use this tool would probably benefit from an introductory Pardot course.
10 benefits of marketing automation
Automating repetitive tasks seems like a benefit of its own, but if you are still not convinced, here are some of the benefits of marketing automation.
- Increased efficiency. Marketing automation enables businesses to automate repetitive tasks and processes, freeing up time and resources to focus on higher-level tasks and strategic initiatives.
- Improved customer engagement. By using personalized and targeted content, marketing automation can help you engage with customers in a more relevant and meaningful way, leading to improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Better lead generation and nurturing. You can create and deliver targeted content to prospects at different stages of the buying journey while using marketing automation. The result is higher-quality leads and improved conversion rates.
- Enhanced targeting and segmentation. Tracking and analyzing customer behavior and data with marketing automation will allow you to segment and target customers more effectively. This way, you can improve the relevance and effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
- Increased revenue and ROI. Marketing automation can lead to increased revenue and ROI by improving lead quality, conversion rates, and customer retention.
- Better alignment between sales and marketing. By providing a shared understanding of customer behavior and preferences through marketing automation, you can align marketing and sales efforts better and encourage the teams to work together more effectively.
- Consistent and timely communication. You can automate communication with customers to make sure they receive consistent and timely messages from your company in multiple channels. With the right marketing automation solution, you can easily manage many customers, and they all will receive personalized attention.
- Improved customer retention. Marketing automation can help improve customer retention by enabling businesses to track and respond to customer behavior. For example, identifying customers who may be at risk of churn and offering them targeted incentives or support.
- Enhanced reporting and analytics. Marketing automation platforms offer detailed reporting and analytics and can give your business valuable insights into customer behavior, marketing performance, and ROI. This will allow you to continually optimize your marketing team efforts and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
- Improved scalability. You can scale your marketing strategies without adding additional resources just by using marketing automation. By automating processes, you can manage larger customer bases and more complex marketing campaigns with greater ease.
How do I choose the right marketing automation solution for my business?
It all boils down to what your organization needs. Here are some points to consider while choosing marketing automation software:
- Business goals. Consider your overall business goals and how marketing automation can help you achieve them. Identify the specific marketing tasks and processes that you want to automate, and make sure that the marketing automation solution you choose can support them.
- Budget. The costs of the marketing automation solutions you are considering matter. Be sure to factor in any additional costs, such as training or implementation fees that may be associated with the solution. Calculate the ROI to see if the implementation is cost-effective.
- Features and capabilities. Evaluate the features and capabilities of the marketing automation solutions you are considering, and make sure they align with your business goals and needs.
- Usability and ease of use. Look for solutions that offer a user-friendly interface and intuitive workflow and that require minimal technical expertise to use effectively. Some complex automation tools require special paid courses, which are not always the most-effective solution.
- Support and training. Consider the level of support and training that is offered by the marketing automation solution. Look for solutions that offer support, resources, and comprehensive training to help you get the most out of the tool.
- Integration with other tools. Compare the marketing automation software with your existing tool stack. You will get most of the solutions that can integrate with other tools that you use, such as your CRM, social media, and analytics tools.
- User reviews and ratings. Check out sites like Capterra or G2 to read reviews and opinions of real users about the tools you are about to purchase. Avoid low-rated products and brands.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how marketing automation works and discovered which workflows your company could need.
Will marketing jobs be automated?
While certain tasks within marketing jobs can be and have been automated with the help of a marketing automation tool, the entirety of marketing jobs won’t likely be automated. Automation is excellent at handling repetitive tasks, data analysis, and managing qualified leads, but it doesn’t replace the creativity, strategic thinking, and human touch that marketers bring to their roles. Automation tools are designed to assist marketers and make them more efficient, not to replace them.
Do I need marketing automation?
Marketing automation can be incredibly beneficial for businesses of all sizes. A robust marketing software can help streamline your marketing processes, enabling consistent messaging across every touchpoint and marketing channel. It can also help in nurturing leads, managing customer relationships, measuring the effectiveness of campaigns, and improving overall productivity. If your business has multiple marketing activities that require time and resources, marketing automation could be a valuable investment.
How has automation affected the job market?
Automation, including marketing automation, has had a significant impact on the job market. On one hand, it has led to the elimination of some roles, particularly those involving repetitive tasks. On the other hand, it has created new jobs that require understanding and managing automation tools, like CRM software. For marketing, automation helps in making processes more efficient and data-driven, allowing marketers to focus more on strategy and creativity. This shift has led to the creation of roles such as marketing technologists and customer experience managers.
How does marketing automation work?
Marketing automation works by using software to automate repetitive marketing tasks, making the overall process more efficient. It can be used across multiple marketing channels, including email, social media, and websites, to streamline operations and analyze campaign performance. The software tracks and analyzes user behavior and engagement throughout the customer lifecycle, enabling marketers to target customers with personalized messages at the right time. It’s a powerful tool that marketing departments can use to optimize their strategies and increase conversion rates.