What is Marketing Automation? Marketing Automation was once the preserve of only the most financially successful businesses. Technology needed to create the systems required heavy investment and was built ‘in-house’. Regularly the cost of building the software outweighed the cost-savings.

However, thanks to a proliferation of third-party suppliers, sophisticated automation software is now much more readily available to B2C and B2B companies both large and mid-size. Especially in 2017 Marketing Automation is set to proliferate within the small to medium size business sector.

Marketing Automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organisations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

Marketing departments, consultants and part-time marketing employees benefit by specifying criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes which are then interpreted, stored and executed by software. This increases efficiency and reduces human error. Originally focused on email marketing automation, marketing automation refers to a broad range of automation and analytic tools for marketing, especially inbound marketing. Marketing Automation platforms are used as a hosted or web-based solution, and no software installation is required by a customer.

The use of a marketing automation platform is to streamline sales and marketing organizations by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions.

Unlike automating manufacturing processes, implementing a marketing automation system will not make your job irrelevant, it will just make you more effective. It will free up some of your time, while not compromising the authenticity of the content you’re producing.

As an example, here is what a basic automated email workflow could look like:

Step 1: You send an email invitation to download your latest ebook to a targeted list of contacts

Step 2: You send a thank you note to all the people that downloaded the offer

Step 3: A few days later, you send a follow up email to the list of people who downloaded the ebook, offering them a case study relating to that topic

Step 4: Finally, when someone downloads that case study, your sales team will get a notification so they can follow up with them (this person is now much more qualified and is likely farther down the buying process)

In fact, marketing automation will empower your organisation to do the following:

  1. Add dynamic content based on an individual’s specific user profile. For instance, you can send targeted offers based on website patterns.
  2. Categorize customers and prospects by common behaviors, interests, and demographic details. These will be dimensions for segmenting your customers.
  3. Develop optimal marketing patterns. Marketing automation can help your company test different variables like email send times, subject headings, and ideas for personalization.
  4. Integrate marketing channels to deliver a more comprehensive and better cross-platform user experience. Make sure that every touch point is carefully planned for optimal conversion optimisation.

As it’s a two-way channel, and the most successful companies are the ones that engage directly in real-time with users, successful social media management requires a great deal of time, resources, energy and skills.

These are some of the reasons why a company will adopt marketing automation:

  • Save time – multiple campaigns can be scheduled way ahead of time and released as per your own settings, therefore working hours can be utilised for other activities.
  • Efficiency – it provides a streamlined automatic alternative to traditionally manual processes. Time and labour can be reduced, therefore costs can be reduced too.
  • CRM integration – it can help to make sure that leads don’t disappear off the radar after a couple of unsuccessful contacts.
  • Data collection – automatic marketing offers a touch-point to clients or customers that isn’t necessarily sales-driven. It can help provide better insight and be used to collect specific data to improve future campaigns or communication.
  • Multichannel management – whereas it was possibly easy enough to manage a single email channel, now thanks to the multiple channels that consumers can be found on, it’s getting harder and harder to keep track of them all. Marketing automation can help you keep tabs on any channel.
  • Consistency – Incorporating all your marketing efforts in one process can help keep a unified brand tone-of-voice.
  • Personalisation – automation helps tailor the experience to the user, creating a unique and more inviting experience that’s entirely relevant and will more likely lead to conversion.

If you would like to see how Marketing Automation can help your business grow in 2017, then why not give us a call and request a free trial at Munro Marketing.