Marketing automation. marketing automation. Have you heard that recently?
Imagine, for a moment, that you’re the CMO of a major Fortune 500 company.
Every day, you’re running campaigns across a variety of channels. This includes both traditional and new media outlets. These campaigns straddle time zones, languages, and internal resources.
Managing all this activity and forming a coherent marketing funnel becomes a headache.
In the startup world, marketing and communications run through a hectic ‘one man show’. This makes the situation more pressing.
Marketing automation steps into the fray by providing insightful workflows and actions. It allows for marketing operations to scale and run according to a predefined logic.
Exact definitions for marketing automation vary among pundits and vendors. Simply put, marketing automation is software that helps a company personalize customer outreach.
Marketing automation begins on a website where companies receive email addresses. This happens as a result of a call-to-action. These landing pages adjust and allow marketers to deliver engaging content. This gives them the greatest chance to entice new signups. Once these addresses are in the prospect database, manual and automated marketing diverge.
At this stage of customer engagement, manual marketers sift through countless email addresses. This is all in the name of harvesting new prospects. This way, the marketing process seems both personalized and efficient.
Segmenting the list by IP address lets marketers deliver geographically-targeted content. But, the real success of the process relies on human effort. After initial contact, there must be reminders to send template-based communications. The reminders should disperse at designated times.
Marketing automation’s role
Marketing automation configures and runs through a Cloud-hosted software package. In doing this, admins can configure cues and workflows. This allows automation for customer touch-points under conditions defined by the system.
To push further into newsletter databases, you can automatically power double opt-in processes. This is best utilized for something like a seasonal deals list.
Besides allowing the marketing process to improve, human error and vulnerabilities become non-factors. Thus, customers have a consistent user experience. Since the contacts granted permission, the emails cannot filter into the spam folder. Because marketing content distributes automatically, reporting is more accurate. A/B and multivariate testing is also more accurate.
Since adjustable conditions are complex, marketing automation provides customers with segmented engagement. This leaves customers feeling the benefits of a more personalized contact process. Newsletters, for instance, can refer to a customer’s prior purchases. They could even spotlight a sales event in a customer’s local area. Also, the emails aren’t thrown into a glossy HTML template that can make the outreach even more personalized.
Customers can sense that marketing from major companies is not personalized. Regardless, targeted messages strengthen content engagement.
Marketing automation provides “hyper-customization” through its many powerful features. Many types of marketing software have a specific focus. For example, email marketing like MailChimp, lead capture like LeadSquared, B2B like Oracle Eloqua and customer retention and re-engagement like Optimove all fall under the umbrella of marketing automation.
Automating has many upsides
Marketing automation carries greater benefits than driving powerful workflows.
The systems provide a technological bridge between sales and marketing functions. A marketing automation platform knows when to pass qualified leads on to a CRM system. At this point, the sales team can assume responsibility for closing the deal.
The powerful reporting capabilities built into many of marketing automation platforms enables marketers to dive deep into system-generated reports. These provide valuable insights into the ROI that various channels are providing. These benefits allow small teams to achieve more than they ever could.
It may take time for marketing automation to show its ROI. Regardless, it is one of the most significant advances in martech.
Automation tools benefit customers and marketers by making content relevant and timely.
Although making a notable marketing operation accessible, they level the playing field between newcomers to a market and new entrants.
Currently, the demand for marketing automation continues to be high and will be for years to come.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.