You've been constantly hearing about it, your fellow marketers increasingly debating about it, but...

What is marketing automation?

Marketing Automation is a software, a marketing technology that lifts the burden off marketers’ shoulder by equipping organizations and marketing departments to effectively market on multiple channels like email, sms, website, social media and other, in real-time through a single platform. Marketing automation automates all the marketing actions and the repetitive tasks.

What Marketing Automation Does?

what marketing automation does

Marketing automation makes sure the right people get the right message in the right place at the right time. Marketing automation allows companies to nurture prospects with hyper-personalized, meaningful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted, loyal customers.

For instance, if Raj hasn't visited your website for more than a week, then send her an email saying "We Miss You". If Raj visits your website, then check if he looks at more than 5 pages. If he does, then email him contact information to a sales representative.

Marketing automation allows a business to set such action-based rules which could be specific to a single contact or broad enough to apply to all contacts with certain characteristics. For example, people who have visited your website in two days.

To perform all these actions manually would almost take ages. But marketing automation enables the if/then rules that drive the ongoing marketing actions of a business for every individual contact. Ideally, marketing automation equips marketers to talk to an individual instead of everyone, digitally. Different content can be created for different people to be consumed at different points in time on different channels. For example: Did someone just submit a form requesting your product demo? Send her a welcome email introducing your product.

This type of marketing automation generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment.

What Marketing Automation Doesn't Do?

what marketing automation doesn't do?

Marketing Automation has become more like a buzzword for most marketers. But one must understand that it isn’t a software that generates a customer’s initial interest or closes the final deal.

If your marketing assets - materials that you offer to your prospects and customers, are not useful or if your data was purchased and is filled with people who are nowhere like your rest of the target audience, then marketing automation won't work.

Marketing automation drives marketing and customer engagement actions, but it doesn't make campaigns succeed automatically, nor does it make content more interesting. Creative and compelling content plus a good, actionable data is essential for driving results out of your marketing automation campaigns.

Similarly, marketing automation does not typically get conversions. Instead, it prepares a contact to get converted. A visitor may fill out a form for knowing more about a product and automatically get an email with more details about that product. Now, that excites him and he is more interested in purchasing because he received thorough details about the product. If the potential customer is well-informed and interested in the product, the salesperson’s job becomes easier- it helps better qualify leads and use their time more efficiently! But the misconception must be out of your head - clear and ideal!

Many companies invest in marketing automation, but fail to churn the required results.

So how do you decode it all for yourself? Here's what you need – this page will explain what perfect marketing automation looks like, whether your business needs it, and how to implement it correctly.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does Marketing Automation Fail?

Several marketers invest in marketing automation before they have the right data or advanced lead nurturing campaigns to move forward. Marketing automation would fail if Marketers don’t have any steady flow of organic leads and also have all the existing leads required to hit the revenue goals from the existing database.

If the expectation is to see your business grow in multiples, realize the results in big numbers, then it's impossible. If done correctly, effective marketing automation takes time, effort, and resources to implement and maintain for revenue growth. Many marketers end up unhappy with the ROI of their marketing automation investment. And this happens mainly because of the following:

Wrong or inadequate database: Everything starts with data. So, a correct and actionable database is a must before implementing marketing automation.

Scattered Data: If the data of your customer is scattered across different departments in your organization, then marketing automation would certainly not work. Various data-points from across the channels a customer touches must be housed at a single, centralized platform. This helps in building a unified view of the customer.

Spammy, Irrelevant messaging: You have the right data of your customer, you have a marketing automation tool in place, but what if the message you send to your customers doesn't make any sense to them. Crafting action-based, interest level content plays the key. Analytics in marketing automation helps you understand preferences and behavior of your customer based on which you can further craft communications with meaningful, captivating content.

Single Channel Marketing: Long gone are the days of marketing through one channel. Cross-channel marketing is a must for today's always on, uber-digital customer that goes around multiple channels throughout the day.

 
What are some examples of Marketing Automation?

To give you an idea of what’s possible with marketing automation, here are a few sales and marketing tasks that can be automated:

  • Content distribution that matches your funnel level of engagement and interest.
  • Lead generation and nurturing through different engagement channels
  • Email and mobile marketing that is customized to specific demographics, interest level, and buying history
  • Campaign testing to identify the best time and best content that has worked most
  • Online marketing campaigns that deliver content based on visitor’s website activity, email activity and other online activities
  • Scoring customer leads based on buying history and then sending those offers accordingly.
  • Campaigns that enable cross-channel optimization (CRO)
  • Campaigns that track and show your ROI
 
When is the right time to invest in marketing automation?

If you're developing strategic inbound marketing content, you're generating a steady flow of fresh, organic leads, and you're ready to scale your effective efforts, it's about time to focus your efforts on a marketing automation strategy that will nurture those quality leads into paying customers. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when making decision about implementing marketing automation for your business.

  • Are you generating a steady flow of new and qualified leads?
  • Is your sales team flooded with the number of quality leads you’re passing on to them?
  • Is your marketing and sales team aligned when it comes to conversions?
  • Do you have an efficient content strategy mapped to your buyer's journey?
  • Are you tracking your leads' digital behaviour across every touch point and channel?

If your answer to the above questions is yes, then you can invest in marketing automation right away. The key here is understanding that marketing automation does not do marketing for you, but can help scale your successful efforts if done right.

 
What are marketing automation workflows?

Marketing Automation workflows are like a family tree. You start with a root (node) and multiple into branches by adding if/then conditions. These can be designed on the marketing automation tools and rules in it can be defined based on actions performed by the customers.

Here's an illustration of a typical workflow!

Automation Workflow

 
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