Marketing Automation helps marketing departments to cut down the repetitive and time consuming task of email marketing. Specifying criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes using specific email software, which is then interpreted, stored and executed, increases efficiency and reduces human error.
There are three categories of software:
Marketing Intelligence uses tracking codes in social media, email and webpages to track the behavior of anyone interested in a product or service to gain a measure of intent. It can record which social media group or thread they followed, which link was clicked on in an email or which search term was used to access a website. Multiple link analysis can then track buyer behavior – following links and multiple threads related to product A but not B will show an interest only in A. This allows more accurately targeted response and the development of a nurturing program specifically targeted towards their interest and vertical market. Due to its interactive nature this has been described as Marketing Automation 2.0.
Marketing Automation has a focus on lead generation with targeted marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services and nurture leads from first interest through to sale. Commonly used in business-to-business(B2B), business-to-government(B2G), or longer sales cycle business-to-consumer(B2C) sales cycles, Marketing Automation involves multiple areas of marketing and is really the marriage of email marketing technology coupled with a structured sales process as delineated by a CRM program.
Advanced Workflow Automation encompasses automation of internal marketing processes. These includes budgeting and planning, workflow and approvals, the marketing calendar, internal collaboration, digital asset creation and management and essentially everything that supports the operational efficiency of the internal marketing function. Typically these systems require a CRM or COM administrator to set up a complex series of rules to trigger action items for internal sales and marketing professionals to manually process (designing files, sending letters, sending email campaigns). This type of system increases marketers ability to deliver relevant content to relevant individuals at relevant times.
Key Functions of Marketing Automation
In order to effectively aid marketers in fully understanding customers and subsequently developing a strategic marketing plan, marketing automation tools (MAT) are designed to perform three key tasks:
- Development and analysis of marketing campaigns and customers
- Management of marketing campaigns
- Appropriate customer data organization and storage
Fully developed marketing automation systems provide information across all phases of the marketing process, including:
- Demand Generation
- Lead Management
- Lead Scoring
- Lead Nurturing
- Lead Generation
- Campaign Analysis
- Lead Qualification
- Sales Effectiveness