Automation is a buzzword that’s dominated the business world recently. Everywhere you look, from accounting to sales, there’s automation taking place. And while automation is important across the board, it could be argued that it’s most important when applied to marketing.
What is Marketing Automation?
According to Marketo, “Marketing automation is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.” With these automation tools, marketers can streamline lead generation, improve segmentation, and propel lead nurturing processes with incredible velocity.
Just as important as knowing what marketing automation is, though, is understanding what it’s not. The first thing to realize is that it isn’t just another name for email marketing. Marketing automation can touch every single marketing medium, including direct mail, content marketing, and social media. In fact, it functions at its best when it’s engaging multiple touch points.
It’s also pertinent to mention that marketing automation isn’t a method of sending spam to unsuspecting users. “Like anything else, the technology delivers results based upon how you use it,” Marketo explains.
“Yes, it can be used for bad marketing, like spam. But it can also be used for exceptional marketing that truly connects with customers based on their preferences.”
Five Enticing Benefits
There are many types of marketing automation technology and software – and more are being developed on a revolving basis – but you’ll generally find that they produce the following benefits.
1. Better Quality Lead Generation
Lead generation can be an expensive pursuit for marketers. It’s not uncommon for the majority of a company’s marketing budget to go towards procuring new leads. However, a lot of what’s spent on generating these leads is wasted on prospects who aren’t relevant and/or aren’t ready to be reached in a meaningful way.
If marketing automation has any benefit for your brand, it’s that it allows you to generate better quality leads. Instead of taking a shotgun approach where you send out messages and hope they resonate with a small percentage of the prospects, marketing automation gives you a more targeted list of customers and helps you engage them in meaningful ways based on their current stage in the sales funnel.
2. Streamlines Time-Consuming Tasks
Consider a vacation rental property management company. While the staff should be focused on outreach and lead generation to get properties booked, much of their time is spent handling time-consuming customer interactions. This greatly diminishes efficiency and prevents the company from maximizing resources.
Now consider what happens when email marketing automation is introduced. The staff is able to capture meaningful data and incorporate it into automated communication that eliminates the need for manually sending payment recipients, confirmations, reminders, etc.
See, marketing automation is most beneficial when it can streamline time-consuming tasks and give employees the ability to focus on high-returning, revenue-producing actions. Whether it’s email, social media, or anything in between, marketing automation does just that.
3. Aids in Lead Nurturing
Capturing a lead isn’t enough. That lead must be converted into a customer in order for there to be any valuable return. According to one study conducted by the Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make purchases that are 47 percent larger than leads that aren’t nurtured.
The great thing about marketing automation is that it allows you to nurture leads more easily, which obviously leads to better results in terms of engagement, sales, purchase size, and even repeat purchasing behavior.
4. Brings Sales and Marketing Into Alignment
As any experienced business leader knows, sales and marketing need to be aligned in order for there to be positive results. And the more that these two important aspects of business are aligned, the better the results will be.
Marketing automation allows businesses to easily and effortlessly align sales and marketing goals with things like website tracking and lead scoring. This saves time and coordinates efforts in a manner that’s conducive to high levels of responsiveness from the customer.
5. Ensures There’s Consistency
Customers crave consistency from brands. They want to know they’re dealing with a brand that doesn’t waver, regardless of circumstances. Marketing automation allows you to stay on track, no matter what else is going on.
For example, let’s say you have a goal of posting twice daily on Twitter and Facebook, sending out one email marketing newsletter each week, and posting an article to the company blog on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
If you’re doing all of this manually, it’s tough to stay on top of everything that needs to be done. As a result, you could end up missing an email, posting on the wrong days, or not posting at all.
With marketing automation, this is no longer a problem. You can schedule actions ahead of time to ensure consistency.
Automation is the Answer
It’s easy to get caught up in the way you’ve always done things, but you can’t take this approach with marketing. Modern marketing is all about automation and you need to develop a system that allows you to leverage new technologies and maximize your opportunities to have meaningful interactions with each and every potential customer your brand comes across.
As you can see, the potential benefits clearly warrant an investment in automation. How will you proceed?