What is Marketing Automation and How Does it Help?
By Varun Bodhi
Digital marketing automation has become commonplace across many large scale businesses as they begin to realise and harness its efficiency. As consumers become more aware of marketing strategies and are exposed to marketing material on a daily basis, greater technology is necessary to create and measure improved marketing campaigns. This is where marketing automation changes everything.
What is Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is the process of using technology to automate marketing tasks. This can include things like email marketing, social media campaigns and targeted ads. Marketing automation can save you time and money while still achieving desired results.
There are a number of different software packages that you can use for marketing automation. Some of the more popular ones include Hubspot, Marketo and Pardot. Each of these packages has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you will need to decide which one is best for your business.
After you've selected a marketing automation package, it's time to set it up. While this might seem daunting at first, there are many online tutorials that can help get you started. The most important thing is to create a process that works for you and your team.
Once the marketing automation software is up and running, you can start using it to streamline your marketing tasks. This can include things like creating email campaigns, managing social media accounts or targeting ads. The entire purpose of streamlining these tasks is to accomplish maximum efficiency, reduce costs, improve future performance and to keep up with the evolving consumer.
The Benefits of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is a powerful tool that can help businesses of all sizes achieve their marketing goals. It allows you to reach more people in less time while also providing valuable data that can be used to improve future campaigns.
But that’s not all. Marketing automation has a number of other benefits that can help your business succeed. Here are some of the key benefits:
1. Increased Efficiency - Marketing automation allows you to target a wider audience with less effort. By automating your marketing tasks, you can reach more people in less time. This can be especially useful for small businesses which don’t have the resources to run traditional marketing campaigns.
2. Cost Savings - Marketing automation software is often cheaper than traditional marketing methods and will save money. Not only is the software cheaper than traditional marketing methods, but it can also help you save time and resources. For example, by automating email campaigns, you can reduce the amount of time spent on creating and sending emails. This can free up your time to focus on other tasks, such as creating new content or improving your website.
3. Reduced Human Error - Although the initial process requires a person to setup the campaign details and curate the content, once that has all been created, the automation software can replicate it without any difficulty. For example, when developing an email campaign your automation software can send out emails to everyone on a list at whatever time desired.
4. Constantly Evolving - Marketing automation software is always evolving. This means that there are always new features and updates that can help you improve your marketing campaigns. The evolving software will help your business keep up with the competition while better understanding your consumers.
5. Greater Insight into Marketing Activities - Marketing automation provides valuable data that can be used to improve future marketing campaigns. The data collected can be used to track the performance of your marketing activities and identify areas that need improvement. Find out what campaigns were successful, what worked and what failed.
Types of Marketing Automation
There are a number of different types of marketing automation. Here are some of the most common ones:
1. Email Marketing Automation -
Email marketing automation is a powerful tool that can help businesses of all sizes achieve their marketing goals. It allows you to reach more people in less time while also providing valuable data that can be used to improve future campaigns. This is often cheaper than traditional email marketing methods, therefore increasing ROI and improving measured results which will assist in improving future campaigns.
2. Social Media Marketing Automation -
Social media marketing automation software allows you to schedule and draft posts across all of your social platforms. This saves the manual process of creating a post on every platform and streamlines the upload time of every post. Social media automation software also comes with comprehensive analytics, which informs the users of impressions, unique impressions, clicks, interactions and shares per post.
3. Advertising Automation -
Advertising automation is perfect for greater target accuracy. This ensures through an algorithmic process that the correct audience is receiving your ad. As a result your business saves time, effort and money.
4. Marketing Analytics Automation -
Regardless of the scale of your business, every marketing team needs to understand what is leading to more leads and conversions. Whether its email, social media, advertisements, content or other forms of marketing automation, all come with the analytics functionality. Other than simple demographic statistics, these also provide customers needs, behaviours and buying patterns which will enhance your business strategic decision making.
Example of an Email Marketing Automation Strategy
Email marketing automation was one of the first types of marketing automation to be developed. It allows businesses to create and send email campaigns more efficiently.
There are a number of different email marketing platforms that offer varying features and functionality. However, all email marketing platforms allow you to automate your email campaigns to some degree.
The most basic form of email marketing automation is autoresponders. Autoresponders are email messages that are automatically sent to subscribers after they take a certain action, such as signing up for your email list or making a purchase.
A typical autoresponder strategy is when a brand incorporates a pop-up on their website, which provides discounts, promotions and new product notifications upon entering your email. After entering your details, an automatic email will be sent to your account which provides a small discount count.
The software will then collate email open-rate, click-through rate, code-usage and use that data to analyse customer behaviour along with purchase habits. All software has the goal of enhancing the consumer's journey from start to finish, and even after the purchase.
The Future of Marketing Automation
The future of marketing automation is interesting. As more and more businesses adopt marketing automation tools, the potential for growth is limitless, although there are some areas of concern.
1. Marketing Automation will become mainstream - Marketing automation is quickly becoming mainstream, and in the near future, it will be used by businesses of all sizes. Examples of some businesses which use marketing automation are Coca Cola, Nike, and Amazon.
However for marketing automation to become mainstream it first needs to become easier to use and more affordable. Some of the challenges that need to be addressed are training users, integration with other software, and pricing. Furthermore, consumers may become overly saturated with marketing content if businesses start using marketing automation too frequently.
Automation also faces the ethical challenge of data privacy. As businesses increasingly collect and store data on consumers, there is a greater risk of data breaches. These are some of the challenges which will need to be addressed before marketing automation becomes mainstream.
2. Marketing Automation will become more affordable - Marketing automation will be within the reach of businesses of all sizes in the future as it becomes more affordable.
This is due to the increase in competition among marketing automation providers, which has resulted in lower prices and more features being included in their products. In addition, marketing automation providers are offering more flexible pricing plans, which makes it easier for businesses to find a plan that fits their needs. As marketing automation becomes more popular, the cost will continue to drop.
3. Marketing Automation will become more efficient - Marketing automation is becoming more efficient, and in the future, it will help businesses to achieve better results in less time.
This is due to the increase in automation tools which are able to handle more tasks, such as email marketing, social media campaigns and targeted ads.
In addition, marketing automation tools are becoming more sophisticated, and are able to track the performance of your website and measure the results of your campaigns. As a result, businesses will be able to make better decisions about how to allocate their resources and improve their marketing efforts.
Does my Business Need Marketing Automation?
Since marketing automation saves costs compared to traditional marketing in the long run, provides greater tracking capabilities and data retention, it may feel like your business is missing out by not utilising it.
However, not all businesses need marketing automation. Before investing in marketing automation tools, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
1. What are my business goals? - Marketing automation can be used to achieve a variety of business goals, such as increasing website traffic, generating leads, or increasing sales. It is important to have a clear goal and strategy in place - don't join something without having a comprehensive blueprint.
2. What software do I already use? - Marketing automation tools are most effective when they are integrated with other business software. Make sure that the marketing automation tools you choose are compatible with the programs you are already using.
3. What type of business am I? - Not all marketing automation tools are created equal. It is important to find the tools that fit your specific needs. If you are not sure which tools to choose, experiment until you find the ones that work best for you.
4. Do I have the resources to manage a marketing campaign? - Marketing automation can be time-consuming and requires ongoing maintenance. Before investing in marketing automation tools, make sure that you have the resources to manage a campaign. The initial phase of setting up these tools
If the answer to any of these questions is no or you are unsure, then your business may not need marketing automation at this time. However, this may change in the future as marketing automation becomes more affordable and accessible.