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Marketing Automation: What It Is, How It Works, And How To Choose The Right Tools

Automation systems that make the operational activities of marketing teams more efficient, without neglecting the aspects of creativity and personalization, while providing useful data and metrics to make campaigns more effective. Here’s what Marketing Automation is and how it works and through which tools it is now possible to help companies reach the right people, with the most appropriate message, at the ideal time.

What Is Marketing Automation And Why Is It Useful For Digital Marketing

In the context of Digital Marketing, the term Marketing Automation refers to software platforms designed for marketing departments and organizations that need to automate repetitive tasks, develop and implement email marketing campaigns, track the activities of current and potential customers. It allows small and large organizations to obtain greater effectiveness, control, and measurement of digital marketing activities, for demand generation and customer engagement (to convert new contacts into real business customers, faster and with greater production efficiency). Regarding all Marketing Automation technologies, the term is also used MarTech (Marketing Technologies).

It is a discipline (managed through specialized technological solutions) that embraces different activities, too often managed in silos by different teams and with non-integrated applications, such as:

  • Email Marketing
  • Landing Pages
  • Campaign Management
  • Contact prediction / Scoring
  • Lead Management
  • CRM Integration
  • Social media Marketing
  • Marketing Analytics

The basic idea of ​​Marketing Automation is therefore to embrace all these components (technological and process) to allow marketers to have an overall view of all campaigns and activities but, above all, to maximize their effectiveness by simplifying – through automation – activities, and processes. All this from a global business perspective to attract more potential customers and “convert” them into satisfied and loyal customers through targeted and personalized actions.

In very simple words, Marketing Automation is the set of activities, technologies, and processes that help companies reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time. The software is widely adopted by companies across all industries, B2B and B2C.

The Marketing Automation Software market grew at a rate of 8.55% (CAGR) over the period 2014-2019, according to analyst firm Marketsandmarkets. A market value of $ 5.5 billion is expected for 2019.

How Marketing Automation works

Automation And Measurement are the two pillars of Marketing Automation which must therefore be reflected in the technical functionalities of the solution.

The Automation Component underlies the simplicity with which users who use Marketing Automation can create and manage multichannel communication campaigns (through different tools, from email to SMS, from the mobile application to the web page, from social channel to platform eCommerce …) with personalized content and 1: 1 action that can be managed automatically without the continuous intervention of marketing and communication operators.

The Measurement Component, on the other hand, concerns all those tools that allow those who manage marketing and communication, engagement, sales, promotion, etc. to check the entire progress of the campaign (in an end-to-end logic) by constantly measuring progress, performance, return, effectiveness, etc.

Read Also : Digital Marketing 2021: 9 Trends Of The New Normal, Between MarTech And The Human Dimension

What Are The Features And Tools Of Marketing Automation?

Marketing Automation software must, in principle, allow this type of activity:

  • follow the traces of those who visit the website, recording the pages visited and the dwell time;
  • create emails, landing pages, and registration forms;
  • record the answers contained in the forms (registration forms, subscription forms, etc.);
  • manage lead nurturing campaigns: automated campaign execution; sending a sequence of messages separately for different segments (instead of sending the same message to all segments with a bulk shipment); change the sequence of messages in response to the behavior of the contacts;
  • calculate a score for each person contained in the database, according to the activities performed and according to the rules established during the software set up phase (lead scoring);
  • carry out a complete reporting activity;
  • connect to the CRM.

From these initial considerations it is, therefore, possible to derive the list of its functions that characterize the Marketing Automation platforms available on the market today:

Lead Nurturing: automation of “drip marketing” activities through the automated sending of emails and messages according to the actions and behavior of users (customers, prospects, target users) and the predefined phases of a marketing campaign.

Lead Scoring And Grading: automatic assignment of lead scores according to various predetermined parameters (demographic data, online behavior, timing, and frequency of actions) and automatic classification of action priorities.

Segmentation: subdivision of the database, application of filters, and creation of groups of leads for the optimization of personalized campaigns.

Email Creation And Personalization: editor for creating and managing emails.

Automatic replies to Emails: setting up reply and assistance emails that can be sent automatically concerning events, actions, lead scoring.

Integration of Leads into CRM: synchronization of lead information within the corporate CRM.

Marketing lead database: a database that contains all the information relating to the actions/relationships between the company and the leads acquired or to be acquired.

Social Listening: monitoring and analysis of user conversations on social networks; a useful tool to collect information that is used to feed the lead database, lead scoring, target segmentation, and campaign customization.

Personalization: automation system for the personalization of campaigns and messages according to company requirements and objectives.

Online behavior tracking: tracking and analysis of user behavior (how many emails they open, how many clicks they make, which web pages they visit, how many forms or forms they fill in, which keywords they use).

Creation and management of landing pages and forms: tools to speed up the development of landing pages, forms, and data acquisition modules that help maximize conversion rates.

What You Need To Know Before Purchasing Marketing Automation Software

Before purchasing a Marketing Automation software solution, it is good to remember the ABCs:

A) Preliminary Actions: Establish A Presence, Generate Leads, Nurture Leads

A good first step in the marketing funnel is to make sure you can be found if someone is looking. This includes creating a search engine optimized website, providing content, creating and maintaining a social presence.

Once you’ve established a presence, you need to acquire a lead when a prospect views your company’s content or contacts you. Most marketing automation systems provide analytics to streamline the lead capture process.

Once you’ve established a presence and captured leads, they need to be nurtured and converted into a sale. In this case, the Marketing Automation tools are used to increase conversion rates.

B) Know Which Marketing Channels To Use

Most marketing automation suite tools focus on four channels:

– web: management and analysis of the content on your site or external sites and search optimization;

– email: sending emails to generate leads and feed existing leads;

– social: management of the presence of your brand on multiple social media channels, social analytics, monitoring of social activity (including competitors), and content management on all channels;

– mobile: messaging via mobile and marketing via SMS.

C) Pay Attention To Data Integration

Often the data that needs to be used to automate a marketing process is stored in another system (CRM, ERP, image files, etc.). The number of data points and systems required for integration can increase maintenance costs.

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