What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation optimizes the digital marketing process and helps nurture potential clients and existing customers, by personalized messages in various communication channels.

Marketing automation saves a lot of time and energy for marketers and allows us to communicate with the customer without limit, at any time and geographical location.

With marketing automation, it is possible to create diverse customer journeys and track them according to the actions and choices of the users – whether they open or click on an email sent to them, enter the website, fill in details, express interest, and more.

The better we map the customer journey, the more we can understand its needs and tailor it to more personal and accurate marketing messages.

In addition, it is important to give a score to each stage of the customer journey and thus know the degree of customer engagement and lead quality.

In B2B marketing, this data (Lead Scoring) is usually automatically fed into a CRM system and the qualified leads (SQLs) are passed on to sales.

Before You Start Planning Marketing Automation

First, marketing automation is not a stand-alone tool. There is no organization that automates all its marketing activities.

The idea in marketing automation is to optimize digital marketing but it cannot come in place but in addition to the ongoing activities.

It is recommended to specify where you are at and where you want to be in two areas:

Technology – What systems exist in the organization today and are required to interface with, how many sources of information are in the organization and what is the data availability and structure, what authorizations exist according to the types of roles in the organization, what are the existing digital assets and their maintenance level.

Marketing – How many products/services are there in the organization, in which markets are you going to operate, who are the customers, whether the customers have legally agreed to contact them directly, when do sales enter the picture and how, how long is the sales cycle, what are the current marketing activities and how it performs and more.

Bottom line, it is important to understand the needs of the organization to provide a holistic and realistic solution that combines the worlds of marketing, sales, and service to the existing capabilities.

What are the Components of Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation consistes of three main things:

Data – Customer engagement data such as site visits, openings of emails and more enables segmentation between customers and to communicate the right message to each account/client.

Processes and customer journeys – Marketing automation makes it possible to produce customer journeys, processes, and communications across different marketing channels.

Software – Marketing automation software that stores and manages the data and processes.

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    How to Choose Marketing Automation Software?

    The answer to this question very much depends on whether you are running B2B or B2C business.

    In B2B marketing, many companies market to an account that contains various contacts to foster relationships (lead nurturing), hence the name “Account-Based Marketing – ABM”, while smaller B2C businesses focus on the individual client and the promotion of products and services they provide.

    B2B companies often have a single marketing automation software that focuses on the entire customer life cycle, along with various tools for digital marketing, data collection, tracking capabilities, and a lot more.

    The great advantage of this type of software is that it enables the planning of relatively advanced processes and customer journeys.

    Mostly more expensive compared to the alternatives but the investment pays off in the long run.

    On the other hand, it is possible to manage marketing automation with different and varied software together.

    For example, one software for sending e-mails, one for sending SMS, another software for collecting and managing data, another software for managing campaigns, and so on.

    Both options are kosher and legitimate, there is no better way, the question is what suits your needs the best.

    How Do You Plan a Marketing Automation Campaign?

    A method to plan a marketing campaign from a marketing automation angle is as follows:

    1. Define your target audience – Who is your target audience you would like to contact and which product/service you would like to promote.

    2. Know your unique selling proposition (USP) and marketing messages – What is your offer? What would you like your customers to learn about your product/service?

    3. Marketing channels implementation – What marketing channels are you going to use (SMS, e-mail, social media marketing, remarketing campaigns, and more)? With what customer journeys? How will you measure the process and calculate the quality of the leads received? Customer value?

    4. Analytics and insights – what are your KPIs? Are there marketing channels that perform better than others?

    It is important to make A/B Tests on the go and analyze the data and performance to generate insights and recommendations for optimization.

    You should aim at expanding existing customer journeys and developing new ones.

    Examples of Marketing Automation

    A grocery list of examples and ideas around which marketing automation can be performed:

    • Remarketing campaigns following customer’s interest
    • New lead
    • Launch of a new product/service
    • Customer loyalty program
    • Contact customer service
    • New customer
    • Birthday or anniversary
    • Appointment reminders
    • Website visit
    • Approaching the end of the service period
    • Increase or decrease in demand as a result of seasonality

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