Marketing automation is an important tool in digital advertising, allowing for the marketer to automate certain time-consuming and repetitive tasks and concentrate on other parts of their marketing strategy, which results in big improvements.
In this article, we are going to discuss exactly what marketing automation is, and how professional marketers and business owners can use it to improve their marketing strategy and grow their business.
What is Marketing Automation?
The definition of marketing automation is any tool or technique that allows for tasks that would normally have to be completed by the marketer to be done by computer software – or in some cases the actual customer – instead. The term has become somewhat muddied as software developers use it to market their own products which may or may not automate marketing tasks.
There are a lot of tools out there that are intended to make the job of the marketer easier. Some of these may be marketing automation tools and others may not. However, one of the best examples of marketing automation has come in the form of demand-side platforms and supply-side platforms that each part of the advertiser-publisher equation can use to make it easier for them to buy ad space or sell it, and perform many of the repetitive tasks that are required for bidding, buying and selling digital advertising.
Elements of a Marketing Automation Strategy
Understanding the elements that make up a good marketing automation strategy is important. The buying cycle can have a lot of moving parts depending upon the type of product or service being sold. For example, marketers must worry about the very beginning of the cycle where leads must be generated, they must then nurture those leads, perform segmentation, do lead scoring, set up cross-selling and up selling options and then worry about customer retention and the return on investment for the effort that they are putting forth.
This can obviously be a lot for any Internet marketer to deal with, even if they had an entire team working with them. When marketing at small volumes, this can be easily managed, but as your business grows, and you have additional channels that you have to manage, it becomes a lot harder. Some of the elements that might be required include a central database that contains all of your marketing data, including customer information, demographics and interactions. You also need a solid base platform in which to rest your operation on, to allow for the creation and management of marketing campaigns with automation whenever possible. Finally, you need a solid analytics system in place so that you can find out exactly where you need to improve.
Marketing Automation Software
The lion’s share of the marketing automation solutions out there can be found with computer software and mobile applications. There are a lot of different categories of software, but there are three main categories that most of the marketing software out there can be put into.
The first category is called marketing intelligence. Marketing intelligence is sort of like the CIA of any good Internet marketers organization. Marketing intelligence software gathers information about potential customers using tracking codes that are embedded in emails, social media posts, webpages and more, in order to find out what sort of marketing efforts would be most effective with a particular audience. Marketing intelligence software can track customer behavior before they are ever pitched.
The second category is marketing automation. The job of marketing automation software is to provide easy and automated solutions to the problem of moving leads through the sales funnel to become conversions at the end of the process. With the right automation strategy, potential customers can get customized marketing messages to entice them to buy.
The final category is advanced workflow automation software. This software supports the marketing process by assisting with the creation of digital assets, time management, financial considerations and much more.
Marketing automation is a terrific way to improve your marketing strategy and grow your business. If you plan to expand to multiple channels, you are going to have to automate to a certain extent because there just aren’t enough hours in the day for you to complete all of the tasks manually.