The Importance of Marketing Automation
The purpose of a marketing automation platform is to streamline sales and marketing organizations by replacing time-wasting procedures with automated solutions. Put succinctly, this process allows marketers to measure, manage, coordinate and plan all of their marketing campaigns both online and offline and demonstrates the importance of marketing automation. Software platforms and technologies designed so that marketing departments and organizations can more effectively market on multiple online channels (i.e. websites, social media, email) and automate repetitive tasks. This is precisely what marketing automation refers to.
Still, as we move further into the year 2016, plenty of marketing departments, consultants and full-sized marketing agencies don’t realize the sheer number of benefits offered by marketing automation. These benefits range from specifying criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes to increasing efficiency and reducing human error. Though originally focused on email marketing, marketing automation now defines a broad range of automation and analytic tools for marketing – notably inbound marketing. What’s more, marketing automation platforms are used as a web-based or hosted solution, and no software installation is required by a customer.
In continuing to study why more marketing entities aren’t using marketing automation (even in the face of its obvious benefits), reports indicate a lack of understanding its importance as one of the primary factors. In order to effectively help marketers comprehend their clients’ customers and subsequently develop a strategic marketing plan, marketing automation tools (MAT) are designed to execute four primary tasks:
- Development and analysis of marketing campaigns and customers
- Development and execution of marketing campaigns – single channel campaigns or elaborate multi-channel campaigns
- Collection of appropriate customer data, organization, and storage
- Nurturing contacts from leads to customers (conversions)
Marketing Intelligence includes utilizing tracking codes in social media, webpages and email to track the behavior of individuals interested in a service or product to gain a measure of intent. For example, it can record link clicks from the source such as email or which search term was used to access a website.
Marketing Automation places a priority on pushing leads from the top of the marketing funnel to the bottom, where they become sales-ready. Prospects can be evaluated based on their activities, and then nurtured further down the funnel with drip campaigns moving them from contact to customer.
Advanced Workflow Automation works behind the scenes to make all the moving parts work together – put succinctly, this involves planning and budgeting, workflow and approvals, marketing calendars, internal collaboration, digital asset creation and management and basically anything that supports the external presentation of the internal marketing flow. This software category is less vital when talking about how marketing automation can benefit a marketing agency and its clients, who are usually more interested in how the agency is going to garner them more customers.
Marketing Automation also shows up in ad optimization and landing pages. For example, the use of dynamic web content helps marketers adapt landing pages to keyword searches and better target search ads.
It is agreed upon by many experts that marketing automation does indeed involve multiple areas of marketing, and is, in essence, the marriage of a structured sales process coupled with email marketing technology.