What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation refers to technology that manages the marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across various channels, automatically. Through marketing automation, businesses can target customers with automated messages all through email, web, social media, and text. Messages are sent automatically, in accordance with sets of instructions called workflows. Workflows can 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 their online marketing campaigns and sales activities to both, increase revenue and maximize efficiency. When automation is used effectively to handle repetitive tasks, employees are free to tackle higher-order problems, and human error is reduced.

From optimising your staff’s time, to optimising which customers your sales team focuses their effort on, the scope of marketing automation goes way beyond simply automating your marketing department’s repetitive tasks.

Here are some of the benefits of marketing automation:

1) Lowers your staffing costs

Using a marketing automation software, a single employee can compete with a 50-person marketing and sales department. How? By setting up lead building and nurturing and marketing campaigns that are automatically triggered based on certain criteria. After a few months of building those automated campaigns, your business might be sending out thousands of personalized emails each day on autopilot.

2) Increases revenue and average deal size

By automating your cross-sells, up-sells, and customer follow-ups you’ll likely notice an increase in your customer lifetime value. When you combine this with better lead management and prioritization, it’s likely that your sales activity will produce a better ROI. Virtually all of the benefits outlined in this post contribute to increasing revenue and deal-size in some way or another.

3) Improve accountability of marketing & sales teams

Marketing automation makes it very evident where the bottlenecks in your company are, thanks to having clearly defined processes, and a birds-eye view reporting of the company’s pipeline. If marketing is capturing hundreds of leads, but none of them are being nurtured to become ‘sales-qualified leads’, the marketing department will receive instant and impartial feedback that they need to improve their nurturing campaigns. This feedback system not only reduces tough conversations and company politics, but also improves accountability of staff and departments to ensure that their part of the system is performing effectively.

4) Less repetition, more creativity

When you replace manual repetitive work with automated rules and campaigns, you naturally free up your staff’s time to focus on more creative tasks. While this has clear benefits of staff productivity and effectiveness, there’s a softer and less tangible benefit on creativity and overall happiness that comes from focusing your staff on varied creative work instead of mundane repetitive tasks.

5) Refine your marketing processes

One of the nice side effects of implementing marketing automation software is that, if you haven’t already, it requires you to visualise your customer journey and marketing strategy to create processes around them. While this might not sound riveting, creating processes around the customer journey enables you to gradually refine how you target and nurture your leads

6) Target potential customers across multiple channels

One of the powerful benefits that marketing automation offers marketers is the ability to reach customers in a personalised way across different online and offline channels. When you’re creating a marketing sequence, you can choose to send customers an email, postcard, text message, tweet, or phone call when they reach certain stages of the customer journey. Some marketing automation tools have more options around this than others with multi-channel targeting. While most will enable email, social, and phone calls, only a few tools (e.g. Ontraport) enable text message and postcard targeting.

7) Never stops A/B testing your campaigns

Unlike traditional landing page or email A/B testing, where you might split test a campaign once or twice before sending it out to your mailing list, marketing automation tools make it easy to run ongoing A/B tests. Imagine having an A/B test running on every campaign and at every stage of your marketing process all the time. Over time, the incremental improvements across your marketing activity will generate a significant improvement in your funnel’s efficiency.

8) Boost customer lifetime value through up-sells and cross-sells

How much revenue does your business leave on the table by not remembering or implementing a series of up-sells and cross-sells? With marketing automation, you take the human aspect out of up-selling and cross-selling by creating a series of automated rules. Let’s say you run an Ecommerce business that sells bicycle gear. On top of generic up-sells, like reminding customers to order new tires, or inspiring them with popular Christmas gift products, you can also set up highly personalised up-sells. For example, if a customer buys a bike model that has an optional gear upgrade, you might want to automate an email campaign or text message telling them about this upgrade 30 days before their birthday. Over time, the impact that this type of marketing can have on your customer lifetime value can be quite dramatic

9) Take your marketing activity to an ultra-targeted level

The ability to create targeted marketing campaigns at a huge scale is one of the biggest opportunities available to marketers today. Because, as taught in marketing 101, the more relevant an offer or product is to a potential customer, the more likely they are to hand over their money. Never before have we had the opportunity or privilege to reach 1,000 different leads with 1,000 different messages in a fully-automated way.

Conclusion:

The fact that marketing automation software is so comprehensive is a blessing and a curse. While it can cause quite a few headaches in researching whether or not it’s right for you, you’ll be glad of it if you do end up biting the bullet. Hopefully this post has given you a better understanding of how you might be able to use automation software.