What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is the hot new digital marketing buzz word and you may have already experienced it with many businesses using techniques such as automated EDM journeys, whereby an email is triggered by certain actions, sending related content in order to connect with their target market in a more relevant and specific way.

But this is just the beginning, with software now able to effectively track potential customers across multiple channels online. By aggregating this data a clear picture appears of the customer’s journey along with a map of their online brand touchpoints. Armed with the knowledge of where and when their customers are marketers can now send out thoughtful, personalised content that can  help to build brand integrity and customer relationships.
Rather than blasting out the same information to everyone and hoping it sticks businesses now know what you (along with what they like and dislike and will send you content based on this.


What is marketing automation?

At its best, marketing automation is software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon – that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalised, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers.” – Hubspot.

Using this software opens up a new world of opportunities for marketers to connect with potential customers, right when they are most likely to be considering a purchase. By defining exactly who is being targeted, segmenting the target audiences, and then delivering personalised messages to those people, prospects are nurtured through the sales funnel without waiting for a salesperson (and at scale). Marketing automation allows for processes to become more efficient, and when done right offers excellent return on investment.

While this seems straightforward, in the background of this automation is a complex software platform that has been meticulously set up with custom triggers according to each business’s target audience and goals.


How is it used?

While there are many different examples, from client onboarding through to dynamic content delivery, an example that most of you have probably seen in action is the way in which ecommerce sites use automation to assist in addressing shopping cart abandonment. There are a whole range of reasons why someone may not complete a transaction, from not having their credit card handy to falling asleep. Emailing them a reminder of what they were thinking of buying soon after leaving the website creates an additional opportunity for them to complete their purchase. This is marketing automation in it’s most basic form and is usually used in conjunction with Display and Facebook remarketing ads by automatically pulling items from a customer’s wishlist or viewed products, directly into the ad creative.


What benefits are there?

  • Tailor content to customers based on their profiles and past purchases
  • Allows marketers to focus on the prospects most likely to convert
  • Saves time spent sorting through leads
  • Distributes content in a smarter way
  • Builds a detailed database of leads

A key partner to successful content marketing, automation frees up time spent manually completing tasks so that more focus can be on analysing results and optimising the campaign – which is where the true value lies.


Potential issues

While it’s easy to be swept up in the promise of a solution that will automate many of your online marketing processes and deliver red-hot leads, there are a few common pitfalls to be aware of. Because of the complexity of the software and difficulty to execute well, it’s not uncommon for businesses to be overwhelmed and not maximise its potential. Before jumping in ensure that you have a clear plan and goals, along with dedicated resources and expertise.

It’s also important to consider the number of leads that you are currently attracting. If you only have a very small trickle of prospects and website visitors, it may be worth spending time on your SEO and inbound marketing strategies before investing in automation in order to build a solid foundation to work with.

While marketing trends and buzzwords come and go, it’s clear that marketing automation is here to stay and is changing the marketing game in 2017. It saves time, enables businesses to send out highly relevant content, assigns leads with scores to assist in segmentation, and distributes your messages in a more organised way – all from a centralised location.

Marketing automation elevates how your business communicates, and if done well leads to engaged and loyal customers. Interested? Contact us for a chat on how marketing automation can be used to help grow your business.