What is Marketing Automation?


What is Marketing Automation by Marketos Diane Schmidt

Marketing automation is a technology that allows you to nurture leads through automated campaigns. Organizations use it to increase their operational efficiencies and to make informed decisions about where to invest their marketing efforts. Very often, marketing automation tools are based in the cloud, sold as a subscription service, and can be easily integrated with a CRM system such as Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics.

Not Just Email

Marketing automation typically encompasses a broader set of features than email marketing, and manages marketing campaigns across all channels—from direct mail and phone campaigns to online and social initiatives. Marketing automation can help you manage your overall marketing programs. Some other key features to look for are:

Campaign management – creating, executing and measuring marketing programs directed at specific audience segments

Email marketing – using email communication to increase awareness, generate leads, and build relationships with prospects and existing customers

Landing pages – web pages where your prospects can be directed to learn more about your product or service

Marketing analytics – measuring and interpreting marketing results

Website monitoring – monitor page visits, click-through rates, form submissions

Lead scoring – determine the sales readiness of leads by using a scoring methodology and ranking leads accordingly

Respond to Behaviors

Marketers today have a vast array of tools they can leverage to deliver messages to their prospects, from email, SMS, social campaigns, to in-person events and webinars.  As a marketer, it is not easy to determine the appropriate mix of messaging. Wouldn’t it be great to automate your marketing campaigns based on customer and prospect behavior? What emails did they open? Which pages on your website did they visit? What events did they attend? What message should your organization send next that to really hit home with a prospect? With a marketing automation tool, every step of the buyers journey can be tracked and help your sales team determine readiness to purchase.  Each prospect’s interactions can be stored in a master marketing database. Add lead scoring logic and that data also becomes actionable. Marketing automation helps companies determine the best next step for a prospect. For example, if a prospect downloaded 3 datasheets from your website, then hit your product pricing page, it could be the perfect time to send a special offer.

Tips for success

To be successful with Marketing automation you’re going to need a few things:

  1. Marketing strategy – Who are you marketing to and why? What are your goals? What marketing channels do you plan to use?
  2. Content development – What is the key content that you need to develop or evolve that will help drive people from one stage in the buying process to another? Email nurturing campaigns will need content development. Interested prospects will seek out more information, such as e-books, slide decks, webinars and videos.
  3. Data – What type of data is available? (Name, email, company name, industry, company size) What data can be appended to make your market segmentations even more effective?
  4. Campaign execution & marketing operations – someone will need to be responsible for running marketing campaigns, and maintaining the flow of content to keep prospects interested.

Do you need help getting your marketing automation initiative off of the ground? Consider outsourcing to an experienced agency partner that specializes in running marketing automation for clients. Through analytics and reporting you can then determine where to best spend your organization’s marketing dollars. Marketing automation can help you pinpoint which email campaigns, events or webinars are most successful.

About the Author

Diane Schmidt
Director of Channels

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