What is Marketing Automation?

chrislandman - Fri, May 30, 2014

Marketing automation is a collection of tools designed to automate a company’s marketing strategy. These tools not only benefit large businesses, but small businesses and marketing agencies as well.

Agencies and businesses that don’t have much experience with marketing automation often think it’s only a tool for automating repetitive marketing tasks. These companies only see the value of marketing automation as a time or cost saving solution.

While marketing automation does save time and money, the real value of marketing automation, in the broadest sense, is that the software allows businesses to:

  • Identify more qualified leads
  • Increase the conversion of those leads
  • Increase the resulting revenues

A comprehensive marketing automation service uses a multitude of features to complete those three objectives.

Anonymous web visitor identification, end-to-end analytics (not Google Analytics), dynamic lists, lead scoring, behavior tracking, email automation and dynamic forms are just some of the features that help agencies reach those objectives.

Here is a recent user survey conducted by Software Advice listing the marketing automation features that users want the most.

 

Marketing automation services are being adopted at an exponential pace—including smaller companies, as the price of marketing automation becomes significantly more affordable.

 

Marketing Automation vs. Traditional ‘Email Blasts’

Marketing automation is very distinct from the auto responder tools that many businesses and agencies have used in the past. If used properly, marketing automation can all but guarantee that leads receive narrowly targeted, highly relevant, marketing messages at exactly the right moment.

This targeted messaging is totally different from traditional and relatively basic email delivery services like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. These basic email delivery services are typically only able to send non-targeted email “blasts” to a large group of recipients in a linear fashion. Too often, this untargeted approach is viewed (correctly) as spam.

In contrast, marketing automation features behavioral-based targeting and communication. Using marketing automation, a B2B company can automatically send a fresh prospect (one that’s just starting their education process) very high-level information that is relevant to the lead’s interest. On the other hand, if a lead is ready to buy, the lead can be sent purchase-oriented materials. At the same time, the marketing automation service will send a notification to a salesperson, telling them to contact the lead. Leads looking at one product on the website can be sent information about that specific product, without a salesperson having to ask the lead anything.

This level of behavioral-based targeting will generate higher conversions and more revenue.

Next, please check out other posts in this series:

B2B Marketing Automation

B2C Marketing Automation

1-to-1 Communication – Not constant contact

Pick a Card: A Magic Trick Demonstrating Behavioral-based Marketing Automation

This post is adapted from an interview with Rick that originally appeared on the crazyegg blog.