What Exactly is Marketing Automation?

What Exactly is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a technology platform that simplifies and automates digital marketing activities. When coupled with a structured marketing process, the software makes it easier to prioritize and execute marketing tasks, nurture worthwhile leads and evaluate the impact of inbound campaigns.

Although every marketing automation provider offers slight different capabilities, most include the following key features:

1. Lead Scoring & CRM Management

Marketing automation software usually includes a database that automatically scores all your contacts and leads according to their sales readiness. It surpasses the capabilities of a CRM system by offering a detailed view of all interactions between each prospect and your company. The system tracks a customer’s actions, including web browsing patterns, emails opened, documents downloaded and more.

Furthermore, the database can microsegment your contacts according to specific demographics, firmographics and behavioral filters—so you can easily target a narrow population, such as high-score leads who have visited your website in the past week and live within 10 miles of your business. This automated management system keeps leads organized and allows for the nurturing process to be more efficient and effective.

2. Data Analytics Tracking

An essential tool for marketers, data analytics track the click patterns of your site’s visitors to provide insight into why prospects visit your site. The ROI analysis feature is also vital to measure the performance of marketing programs so you can determine which marketing investments are generating the greatest ROI and how to allocate your marketing budget moving forward.

3. Dynamic Landing Pages

Landing pages that direct prospects to a clear, customized call-to-action, rather than a generic home page, significantly improve conversion rates. With marketing automation software, you can create dynamic landing pages that display different content according to a visitor’s location and other details about their sales-readiness stored in your CRM. Or, get to know your visitors better by directing them to forms that connect to your CRM so prospects will never have to provide their information again.

4. Social Media Marketing

This tool often goes beyond scheduling automated posts and measuring engagement across your social media accounts. It also incorporates your audience’s social profile data into your CRM to enhance segmentation and scoring, meaning that you can gain more insight about your customers and, therefore, target them more effectively.

5. Email Marketing

One of the most commonly used features of marketing automation software is the email function, which enables users to create emails and newsletters with easy-to-use design tools, track and manage email deliverability, and prompt messages to be sent based on real-time customer behavior.

With this tool, the need for a stand-alone email service provider is eliminated, and you are granted more control and oversight on campaigns—which ultimately translates into more revenue. Personalized emails based on behavioral data can increase open rates by 50% and conversion rates by 350%, according to a Jupiter Research study.

6. Resource Management

Some solutions include functionality to streamline the internal communication process needed to coordinate an effective marketing strategy. With this feature, teams can better coordinate workflow and permissions, ensure budget compliance and access a universal calendar. Opting to automate resource management makes up for the time it takes to implement a marketing automation system and educate your team on how to use it.

The above marketing automation features take customers on a relationship-building journey with a brand. The journey begins when someone first shows interest in your company, perhaps by asking a question, making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. From that point on, detailed profiles are automatically collected on each prospect.

This ensures that no other interaction asks for the same information again and makes it possible to target customers according to their individual desires. The sales process is, therefore, more genuine and the marketing department is more productive since it can better identify high-quality leads and doesn’t have to spend as much time directly nurturing them.

Download our FREE Marketing Automation Success Checklist to determine if your business is ready to benefit from marketing automation software.

Considering Marketing Automation for Your Organization?

About The Author

As a content marketer, copywriter and brand strategist who operates in both the clouds and the dirt, Katie Casciato leverages the art of storytelling to develop and execute strategic marketing campaigns that generate tangible results for our B2B, professional services, corporate and non-profit clients. Her background includes content creation, digital marketing, PR, content marketing and media relations.