Marketing automation is the process of automating (i.e. streamlining, digitizing) a set of marketing actions. In this day and age, it’s important.
Marketing automation moves your customers forward throughout every stage of the purchasing funnel. It improves your visibility, it deepens customer awareness, and it creates the kind of relationship between your brand and your customers that translates offline.
But how does marketing automation work?
It All Starts with a Platform
Marketing automation is enabled by technology. Specifically, through software platforms that make everyday marketing action-items easier to perform. There are hundreds if not thousands of viable “marketing automation platforms” out there to choose from; selecting the right software can mean the difference between successfully automating your marketing process and staying stuck in analog.
At Synchronicity, we love HubSpot’s marketing automation platform because it’s intuitive, easy-to-use, and robust in terms of optionality.
What Marketing Automation Platforms Actually Do
Every platform is built with different functionalities in mind, but they’re all backed by data. Automation software is gathering data all the time…data your efforts have created and are still creating, and also data that exists outside of your organization. This data helps your platform make informed decisions about where to focus your marketing efforts.
With that data as a backbone, you can use most automation interfaces to:
- Build segmented customer lists for targeting, typically populated by existing customer data, but sometimes built-out using purchased lists or publicly available data
- Plan, create, and execute highly-specific marketing campaigns, including formatting messages, choosing a medium, and actually pushing out the content
- Measure the results of your campaign using whatever parameters are important to you. This data is typically connected to your website, so you could look at how many new visits the campaign drove to your site, how long people engaged with your content, and ultimately, how many new customers converted
- Further segmentation of your audience based on how well they “score” as leads; the more a lead is interacting with your content, the more focus the software suggests you apply to them
- If your marketing automation software and your CRM are not one-and-the-same, the automation platform will route qualified leads to the CRM so your sales team can further nurture them
- Analyze results of all your marketing efforts both granularly and holistically to determine which actions are having the most desired effects on your audience and thus produce the best ROI
How Does Automation Software Do That?
What you’re really asking is, “What does all this look like to me?” The answer is that each software’s interface – the physical online space with which you interact – is different. They’re all designed with UX in mind. There will be buttons and tabs and folders. Good automation software organizes your data intuitively into charts, graphs, and reports so you can easily find what you need to know. The more comfortable you become with your software’s interface, the more useful you’ll probably find it to be.
Remember: Marketing automation isn’t a service, it’s a process.
If you’re not sure how automation could possibly improve your business, it’s time we talked. Is there a learning curve? Yes! Will your business’ transition to an automated marketing process create room for growth in other areas? You betcha.