Purple robot, signifying marketing automation, smiles.

You’ve likely heard the term “marketing automation” more times than you can count.

Still, if you’ve never used the technology within your own company, you’ve probably been asking yourself some questions:

What exactly is marketing automation? Why is everyone talking about it? Do we need to be using marketing automation systems? How will it benefit my company?

For the answers to these questions and more, read on.

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation (MA) is the use of technology to complete both simple and complex marketing tasks with minimal need for hands-on interaction.

Some of the more basic tasks that marketing automation can handle, include:

  • Collecting information from your customers as they provide it
  • Collecting behavioral data on your customers based on their on-site actions
  • Scheduling and delivering emails, social media posts and other content at the best possible moment

Other marketing automation tools can take care of more involved tasks, such as:

  • Scoring leads and segmentation
  • Creating and delivering personalized content, offers and product recommendations
  • Analyzing external and internal data and providing clear paths for moving forward

Marketing automation systems can be major assets for small and large companies alike. So it’s not surprising more businesses are hopping aboard the marketing automation bandwagon:

So, to be clear: Your competitors are probably using some kind of marketing automation to help supercharge their operations. If your team isn’t, you’re going to fall behind those who are.

But, that isn’t to say the only reason to adopt marketing automation tools is to “keep up with the Joneses.” Regardless of what your competitors are doing, there are several reasons to start using marketing automation systems within your organization.

Key Benefits of Marketing Automation

Organizations that have adopted marketing automation tools into their tech stack have seen a number of benefits, including:

Streamlined Marketing Workflows

As we said above, marketing automation is all about automating processes that your marketing team would otherwise have to complete manually.

The immediate benefit of marketing automation is that your team won’t have to spend countless hours on menial tasks that a computer can complete almost instantly. This, in itself, is reason enough to consider bringing MA technology into your organization.

The added benefit to this is that your marketing team will have more time and resources available to tackle tasks and processes that do require a hands-on approach. This will allow them to put the maximum effort needed into said tasks — all but ensuring a positive outcome for your business.

We’re not talking about a minor increase in productivity, either. As a study from Nucleus Research shows, MA technology has proven to increase overall team productivity by an astounding 20%.

Marketing automation improves overall team productivity by 20%.

Enhanced Customer Experiences

Your team’s use of marketing automation will benefit your customers, as well.

For one thing, it allows for near-instant delivery of laser-focused content, offers and other branded experiences. With MA tech in play, you’ll be able to provide just what your customers are looking to get from your brand at any given moment.

And, again, since your team won’t be bogged down with menial tasks, they’ll be able to improve marketing initiatives that can lead to better experiences for your customers.

Studies show 64% of teams using marketing automation report improved user experiences with more relevant communication between company and customer.

Overall, marketing automation allows your team to become more in-tune with and better-equipped to cater to your audience’s needs and expectations.

64% of marketers using automation report improved user experiences.

Accurate and Dependable Analytics

The use of data to improve your marketing team’s efforts is all but essential by today’s standards.

In a survey conducted by Forbes Insights:

  • 53% of marketers say data helps them become more customer-centric
  • 75% see increased customer engagement from data-driven initiatives
  • Data-driven marketers are 6 times more likely to achieve competitive advantage and profitability

The reason for all this is simple: The data you collect is hard evidence that a process or initiative is (or is not) effective.

By keeping this hard evidence in focus at all times, your team won’t need to “guess” as to the best course of action to take. Rather, the data will make crystal clear how they should proceed at any given time.

Data-driven marketers are 6x more likely to achieve an advantage over their competitors.

Improved Marketing Campaign Performance

With everything we’ve said so far, it’s obvious that the use of marketing automation technology will have a positive impact on the performance of your marketing campaigns as a whole.

In fact, 91% of teams that use MA technology believe it to be “very important” to their overall marketing performance.

It just makes sense. With more resources and better data on-hand, your team will be able to create campaigns that effectively attract and engage your target audience.

91% of teams that use marketing automation say it’s critical to their success.

Improved Customer Acquisition, Retention and Lifetime Value

Going along with the previous section, the ability to create more attractive and engaging marketing campaigns will inherently lead to improved business performance overall.

In fact:

  • 60% of teams that use MA see an increase in the quantity and quality of leads generated
  • 77% of MA-equipped teams experience an increase in conversions
  • MA can lead to 90% higher retention rates for marketing teams

Because marketing automation allows teams to convert and retain high-value customers at a higher rate, this inevitably will lead to an increase in the average lifetime value of every customer they engage with.

60% of marketers that use automation see an increase in leads generated.

5 Marketing Automation Examples at Work

Now that we know how marketing automation can help your team supercharge customer-facing efforts and initiatives, let’s look at types of marketing automation campaigns and ways MA can be used to drive conversions.

Customer-Facing Campaigns

1. Optimize Dynamic Content Creation and Delivery

Marketing teams are responsible for creating a ton of content to attract new customers and to keep your current audience engaged with your brand.

This is, of course, a pretty tall order — especially when aiming to tailor the content in question to your customers.
Luckily, there are marketing automation tools available to take the grunt work and the guesswork out of these processes.
Marketing automation allows you to add personal touches to every correspondence you send out — and to do so with minimal effort on the part of your team.

This may be as simple as injecting the customer’s name into your emails — but you’ll definitely want to go deeper than that.
For example, Northern Trail’s newsletter dynamically curates relevant articles and content for different customers based on their preferences and engagement history.

This dynamically curated newsletter is an example of marketing automation personalization.

Teams can also use marketing automation to deliver messages and content at just the right moment. MA tools analyze your audience’s activity patterns, then use this data to automatically send messages to your customers when they’re most likely to see them. If you’re always able to deliver relevant content and offers to your individual customers at the best possible moments, you’ll have little trouble keeping them engaged with your brand.

2. Create Trigger-Based Messaging

You can also use marketing automation to deliver content and offers based on your individual customer’s behaviors, actions and other engagements with your brand.

A few common marketing automation examples:

  • Sending a welcome email to new mailing list signups
  • Delivering order confirmation emails immediately after a customer makes a purchase
  • Sending text messages to customers who abandon their shopping cart
  • Soliciting reviews, referrals and other feedback from long-time customers

A marketing automation example of trigger-based messaging.

As we said in the previous section, timing is everything here. With marketing automation in place, your team can be confident that their messages and offers are being received at the exact moment the recipient is likely to engage with them.

And, because the message will be laser-focused on the individual customer’s experience with your brand, they’ll be much more likely to engage further than they would a generic, audience-wide offer.

3. Facilitate Omnichannel Engagement

As we’ve said, marketing automation can easily engage your customers on a number of platforms.

Besides using multiple channels, MA interconnects these channels to create an omnichannel experience for your customers.

For example, a prospect finds your site through a Google search and interacts with a specific product page. Later that day, they see a retargeting ad on Facebook for that product. They click on the ad and visit a landing page where they fill out a form to gain access to an eBook. This action enters them into an email sequence. Using the information obtained from that customer’s interaction on all channels, the prospect is sent dynamic content that’s relevant to their area of interest. The prospect clicks on a CTA in the fourth email of that series and converts, becoming a customer.

As this marketing automation example shows, omnichannel marketing is majorly beneficial to your customers. For one thing, it allows them to pick up where they last left off with your brand, regardless of the channels they’ve used throughout the experience. It also allows each touchpoint to build off the previous one — meaning your customers will continue to receive more value every time they engage with your company.

Also, your team will be able to pick up where they last left off with a customer, as every engagement is automatically logged within your CRM. This means fewer redundancies, less friction and overall more efficiency for your team — which will translate to a streamlined omnichannel experience for your customers.

Internal Uses for Marketing Automation Systems

Marketing automation tools can also help streamline internal processes for your marketing team. For example, you can:

4. Generate Leads, Score and Segment

With marketing automation technology on hand, your team will easily be able to identify high-value prospects to target, collect information on them and place them into the proper audience segment.

To start, MA can be used to collect data on your customers from their various online profiles (from Google to social media and otherwise). This can help you identify new potential customers, and also gather additional info on your current customer base.

What’s more, any additional information you gather on your audience members — whether they fill out a form, engage with a piece of content or reach out to your team with a question — will automatically be logged in their customer profile. This makes lead scoring (MA-assisted or manual) a much easier process for your team.

Once you’ve collected sufficient data on your customers, you can use MA to segment customers based on your personas automatically. In some cases, your MA tools may uncover new audience segments that you haven’t yet been targeting — allowing you to expand your customer base even further as time goes on.

5. Optimize the Sales Funnel and Customer Journey

Another key way that teams use marketing automation is in optimizing their sales funnels and their customer journey.

Here, it’s all about automatically analyzing performance data. With marketing automation in place, your team will be able to identify areas in which your customers flow through the sales funnel with ease — and areas where they may hesitate. And, of course, there will also be areas where your customers drop out of the funnel.

In using MA to identify these areas, your team can quickly start making laser-focused improvements to your sales funnel and customer experience. In turn, you’ll be better able to effectively engage with your customers at different points along their journey with your brand — and keep them satisfied and ready to dive deeper at all times.

Realizing the Potential of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a powerful technology that can benefit your business in many different ways.

In some cases, MA makes it much easier for your team to accomplish certain tasks. In others, MA technology simply takes care of the entire task or process for your team.

However you use it, marketing automation technology will lead your team to higher levels of productivity — and will allow you to generate more business than you’d ever dreamed possible without it.

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