What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation refers to the technology and methods used to facilitate analysis and marketing campaigns across different channels automatically.
The worldwide market for marketing automation solutions is anticipated to almost triple to $19.7 billion in 2026 from an estimated $6.9 billion in 2020.
To those who already use a form of marketing automation, this won’t come as much of a surprise. After all, many marketers often use MarTech in their tech stacks and understand that automation will only increase in the realm of digital marketing.
And yet, despite the varied and compelling use cases for it, a quarter of all businesses don’t use automation, and many more only use it for limited purposes.
For these SMBs, it’s important to recognize the uses and benefits that enterprise marketing automation can bring.
Today, we’re going to be asking what marketing automation is, the technology involved, the processes it helps with, and the benefits it provides.
What Does Marketing Automation Do?
Businesses use marketing automation for a variety of purposes. Let’s take a look at the main ones.
Segmentation and Analysis
At its core, automation is about telling a software bot what to do with the data it can access.
Companies have a lot of access to their customers’ data; most of which can be broken down and analyzed with automation tech and used for marketing purposes.
How many businesses do this is another matter, with big data analytics a sorely underutilized strategy by SMBs.
By using automation, marketers can use tech to analyze data and determine how to best segment their customers and prospects into buckets, which in turn inform their campaign approaches.
If you don’t have the data and an understanding of your customers, how are you going to effectively communicate with them?
Related Blog: What Is Behavioral Segmentation In Marketing?
Lead Nurturing and Campaign Delivery
When you’re nurturing your leads—perhaps the most important aspect of marketing—you want to make sure that your communications with them are timely, relevant, and of value.
This is why segmentation is such a crucial component of the process. Now, with an automated analysis platform that handles your data, you know the specific characteristics of different prospects so you can send content to them according to that data.
This also means you can avoid sending unnecessary content to those who don’t need it, like an informative but basic overview of a service to a prospect who’s already progressed further down the sales funnel.
Marketers with a lead nurturing strategy generate 50% more sales.
Automation of your content or campaign delivery also means being able to quickly identify what works and what doesn’t.
How many people opened that last email? How many followed the links? Who were they? Understanding simple key questions like these helps you shape and perfect your nurturing campaigns, all because of analytics automation.
Aside from lead nurturing, there’s lead generation, continuous engagement and re-engagement of cold leads, as well as customer retention, which tries to make customers repeat buyers of your products.
Much of this workflow automation is associated with creating lists as with segmentation. Automating your workflows in these areas means, for example, inserting people into email lists based on their interactions with your website.
If someone signs up to your blog, you can use automation to group that prospect into a “blog subscribers” list, which can then be targeted specifically with informational content.
Likewise, if someone signed up for a quote, you can target them for a campaign set up specifically for them. A prospect who downloaded an eBook for a particular product can be targeted with an offer or more information for exactly that.
Related Blog: 5 Advanced Technology Examples to Improve Your Business
Then we have social media. Every business has to do social media, though some are better than others at engaging their audiences.
Whether it’s sharing a company update, answering a customer’s question, or running a campaign for your services, the uses for automation when it comes to social media are many.
These automation tools are very common, and help marketers schedule their posts for the optimal times (as determined by automation), assess the performance of posts to inform future campaigns, and widen their reach and engagement with audiences as a result.
83% of marketers considered social media post scheduling to be suitable for automation.
If you want to learn more about different aspects of marketing, check out this video on Impact’s Marketing & Branding — formerly known as ES99 — solutions.
Once you execute a marketing campaign, another part of enterprise marketing automation is managing your response or adjusting the next steps based on the first reactions of your audience.
This response happens in real-time and can be used to maximize the results of a marketing campaign.
With an enterprise marketing automation platform that tracks responses, you have visibility over outcomes, the ability to customize sales funnels based on those outcomes, and metrics to understand what parts of a campaign performed better.
Having detailed insight optimizes the work your business put into its campaign, which is the goal of enterprise marketing automation.
Tools and Technology
Here are some of the solutions that businesses use to get their automation strategies in place.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRMs help businesses log data from interactions with current or prospective customers, storing and sorting this information in a centralized database.
This means companies can engage and sell effectively to prospects using the data they collect.
Examples of CRM products include Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce, and HubSpot.
Email marketing software allows marketers to automate the delivery of their campaigns, whether that’s based on very specific automated triggers for end-users or a wider email blast approach.
Examples of email marketing platforms include Mailchimp, Campaigner, and HubSpot.
Analytics software lets businesses get as granular as they desire with their data. Whether it’s visitors of a specific landing page from a certain region in the U.S. or your ranking ability for a keyword that’s important to your offerings, analytics platforms automatically aggregate information and provide you with actionable data.
Examples of analytics platforms include Google Analytics, SEMRush, and Ahrefs.
Social Media Tools
Social media technology comes with the automation capabilities we spoke about above.
These platforms help businesses stay on top of their engagement and outreach strategies through social media outlets.
Examples of social media marketing tools are Buffer, Sprout Social, and BuzzSumo.
That’s a Lot of Technology, Can Your Business Get All of It?
The short answer is yes, you can.
Several modern marketing platforms, including HubSpot’s Marketing Hub—which we offer to our clients—incorporate many different marketing automation solutions under one roof, including those listed above.
Platforms like these make marketing tech a lot easier to implement for SMBs who may understand the need for adoption but are cautious about investing in a raft of different platforms on their own.
Related Video: Personalized Marketing and Modern Customers
Marketing automation is here to stay.
Marketers have observed its benefit, but there are still a significant number of SMBs who are underutilizing (or not utilizing at all) the capabilities of automation in their marketing efforts.
For companies that are unsure of where they stand, it may be wise to invest in a marketing audit to get a better sense of how they should plan their strategy.
From there, they can invest either in a platform like HubSpot that offers a range of automation services for their marketing or start slowly by implementing one solution (email, for example) and build out their stack moving forward.
In any case, the advantages of enterprise marketing automation are clear, and businesses should seriously consider whether they’re taking full advantage of what it has to offer.
Head over to our free webinar, Creating a Paid Media Strategy That Works, to learn how to choose the best forms of media, your audience, and how to monitor campaign performance.