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What is marketing automation and how does it work?
7 min read

What is marketing automation? Definition, Use Cases, and Benefits

According to recent studies, over 51% of companies currently use marketing automation. While half of the global businesses have already invested in marketing automation, the other half still contemplate its natural advantages. 

If you belong to the latter half, you might have questions such as what exactly is marketing automation? How does marketing automation work? Does it completely automate the marketing function? How does it help in scaling a business? Do we really need marketing automation?

This post tries to answer most of these questions to help you make a better decision with marketing automation. So let's begin!

  • What is the definition of Marketing Automation?

  • How does Marketing Automation work?

  • Applications and Examples of marketing automation workflows

  • How will Marketing Automation help in scaling your business?

  • Processes to establish for effective Marketing Automation

What is the definition of Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation leverages marketing software to automate marketing processes and increase the efficiency and productivity of the marketing team with the help of technology. It helps marketers integrate marketing activities and automate repetitive tasks to build advanced customer experience. 

Your marketing team carries out various campaigns through multiple channels such as email, website, social media, and advertising. Many of the activities performed in these campaigns are tedious and repetitive. 

Marketing automation helps your team automate repetitive tasks and processes intelligently with the help of automation rules, triggers, and workflows. It increases your team's productivity and improves the efficiency of your marketing function.

As a growing business, your team needs to focus on building creative campaigns to attract more customers. With marketing automation to take care of everyday processes and tasks, your team gets the bandwidth to build fun content and run creative campaigns. 

How does Marketing Automation work?

Marketing automation uses pre-built programs and algorithms to automate repetitive tasks and processes. On a very high level, it makes use of:

  • Pre-defined triggers to identify and understand your marketing data

  • Pre-defined automation rules and workflows to complete actions and execute campaigns

  • Analytics to measure the performance of your campaigns and marketing activities

Here's an example to help you understand this even better:

  • You want to segment people from your database that have attended your webinar, so you use an automation trigger to identify such people and add them to a list

  • You want to send these people a 'thank you for attending' note, so you set up an automation workflow and send them an email using a pre-existing awesome email template!

  • Your automation tool creates a report of your email campaign, where you can see who opened, read, and clicked on your email

  • You can now set up an automation to nurture these leads by sending relevant content such as case studies and ebook guides

I hope this gave you a decent idea of how marketing automation works. To understand it on a deeper level with all its possibilities, you have to try an automation tool yourself!


Applications and Examples of Marketing Automation Workflows

Marketing is a diverse function that includes various tools, campaigns, activities, channels, and processes. Every business uses a different combination of these elements to achieve its goals. 

Marketing automation can be applied to almost every element of marketing. To help you understand its scope, here are a few use cases that you can relate to:

Database management and segmentation - Your marketing database is an essential asset of your business and needs proper hygiene and maintenance. Marketing automation helps you manage your database efficiently for more clarity and data hygiene. It also enables you to segment your database in various ways so you can run personalized campaigns for your target audience and deliver a better customer experience.

Email marketing - Email marketing is one of the most important channels for you to connect with your customers and audience. Marketing automation helps you simplify email marketing activities with ready-to-use email templates, email scheduling, automated email reports, and analysis, integration of emails with other campaigns, landing pages, lists, forms, and so much more.

Social media posting - If your team keeps posting content on social media all day, every day, they will barely have time to do anything else. Marketing automation helps you pre-schedule your posts on various social media channels. It also allows you to analyze the performance of your social posts.

Lead generation, nurturing, and scoring - Leads and marketing go hand in hand. Generating and nurturing leads so one day they become customers is an important function of marketing teams. Marketing automation simplifies the processes of lead generation and nurturing with automated workflows that provide the right message and content to the right people at the right time. Lead scoring is another feature of marketing automation that helps your sales and marketing teams identify a prospect's stage in the customer journey.

Reports and analytics - A successful marketing strategy is driven by intelligent data. Marketing automation helps you automate the collection, processing, and analysis of your marketing data from various campaigns such as email, social, website, and SEO. All you have to do is run your campaigns. And Voila, All your reports and analytics are ready before you know it!

Integrated campaigns - Marketing automation enables your team to integrate multiple campaigns such as social, email, content, and SEO. These collective and integrated efforts help you align your messaging, offerings, and experience. 

I hope these use cases give you a basic understanding of how marketing automation can make your life easier. 

How will Marketing Automation help in scaling your business?

Marketing automation presents various advantages, but we will specifically talk about the ones that will help you grow your business.

More time for Creative Campaigns

When you implement marketing automation, you automate tedious tasks such as creating targeted lists, sending follow-up emails, creating detailed campaign reports, and posting daily on social media. 

This creates more bandwidth for your team to brainstorm on more creative and engaging campaign ideas. As you know, there is always room for more to do in marketing. Automation will help you do more and do it even better!

Data-driven campaigns for better performance

Marketing automation lets you collect every possible data around your campaigns, whether an email open, an email click, a website visit, form submission, social media engagement, or content consumption. 

Such data helps you understand your audience's interests, needs, and priorities. You can use this data to build content and campaigns that are more relevant and personalized to your target audience. 

Personalized and targeted messaging improves the performance of your marketing campaigns. Better campaigns move your prospects further down the marketing funnel and ahead in their customer journey. 

More leads, more sales

Marketing automation helps you improve your lead generation and nurturing strategy. With more organized and personalized communication, your prospects become more engaged than ever with your brand.

More engagement helps you generate more leads, and more leads mean more opportunities, and finally, more sales!

Processes to Establish for Effective Marketing Automation

The primary goal of marketing automation is to simplify the very complicated function of marketing. But if your automation tool is not maintained properly, you might compromise on its effectiveness and efficiency. 

To ensure your automation runs smoothly, you can implement certain processes within your team. Here are two examples of such processes to run effective marketing automation:

Audit your automation workflows every 3 - 6 months

Automation workflows can get confusing at times and may overlap with each other. This may cause errors such as multiple lists, unnecessary segments, email errors, and so on. To make sure this is kept under check, establish an audit review process every 3 - 6 months, where your team scans the existing workflows and removes outdated ones for more productivity.

Establish data hygiene standards in your marketing automation tool

Running personalized campaigns using automation is a great way to nurture and connect with your audience. However, if you do not ensure data hygiene, your personalization efforts may result in a bad customer experience. For example, you tag a prospect's last name in your email campaign, but the last name is misspelled in your database. 

It is important to establish data hygiene processes that ensure accuracy and clarity to avoid such issues.

Summing it up

There is no doubt that marketing automation will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing team. Leverage the power of automation to fuel your marketing and sales pipeline and create space for productivity and creativity in 2022.