What Is Marketing Automation & How Does It Work?

Jul 18, 2023 | Digital Marketing |

Automation can simplify various tasks, i.e. those that would otherwise take a lot of time and effort on a daily basis, including 

  • Sending emails (drip campaigns) and follow-up messages.
  • Adding sales calls to your calendar
  • Sending invoices 
  • Posting to social media 

And the more your business grows, the more complex and time-consuming these tasks become. Automated marketing can do everything you need to manage customer relationships with a clearly defined strategy. It can help your business get organised, increase sales, improve the customer experience, and save time. Even for small businesses, they’re a real asset.

Read on to learn exactly how this type of automation works.

Marketing Automation

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation, or automated marketing, manages marketing efforts and multifunctional campaigns across multiple channels automatically. It helps companies target customers with automated messages across websites, emails, and social media platforms. 

In particular, this process makes sending messages simple and effective, according to a set of predefined instructions called workflows. These can be defined by templates, created from scratch, or modified during a campaign to achieve better results.

Sales and marketing departments use this strategy to automate online campaigns and activities to maximise efficiency and increase sales. When automation is used efficiently to complete repetitive and tedious tasks, employees have more time to attend to more important matters and avoid human error.

Marketing Automation Stats

1) According to a 2022 survey, 43% of respondents said that improving the customer experience is the most important benefit of automated marketing. Thirty-eight percent cited the ability of employees to make better use of their time, and 35% said automation improves data and decision-making.

2) In another 2022 survey, 32% of respondents said they use artificial intelligence (AI) and automated marketing for paid advertising as well as personalised email messages and offers. In terms of product and content recommendations and email subject line personalisation, AI was combined with automation by 22% of respondents.

3) The automation software industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.67% by 2027. In 2020, this market was $3.6 billion and is expected to triple by the end of 2027.

Why Is Automated Marketing Important for Businesses?

Automation can help with lead generation, customer nurturing, and measuring the overall success of campaigns’ ROI. The cost- and time-saving impact of automation increases as a company grows in size and complexity. Good automation systems are designed to grow concomitantly with your business. 

Automated marketing allows you to implement an AI-powered strategy without manually sending every email or message. Good automation tools help businesses identify their target audience, design the right content, and trigger actions based on schedules and customer behaviour. Once the campaign is launched, they can focus on other tasks and then analyse and optimise the various marketing plans as results emerge.

Marketing Automation

How Does Marketing Automation Work?

You collect customer data through many interactions, such as emails, website visits, app usage, and social media. This gives you a 360-degree view of each customer. Then automation simplifies everything, including

  • Streamlining segmentation.
  • Targeting the right audiences by defining processes. 
  • Tailoring information to each customer based on their data
  • Creating relevant and personalised messages across multiple channels

With automation, you can effectively create personalised experiences for your customers, whether you have 100 or 100 million users.

What Does Marketing Automation mean for the Customer Journey?

Customer journeys or experiences include consumers’ cognitive, affective, sensory and behavioural responses; all stages of the consumption process, such as pre-, during, and post-purchase.

With automation, you can

  • Customise every interaction based on customer data to create ongoing, seamless experiences across every brand touchpoint.
  • Create relevant content and messaging at scale across many channels. 
  • Send email messages with a dynamic reach far beyond a customer’s first name in the subject line.
  • Generate ads that appear to the right person at the right time. 
  • Integrate mobile messaging into your social and email campaigns via SMS/MMS, push notifications, and group messaging.
  • Recommend the right products or services on your website for each user.

Plus, with automation, you can reach customers throughout their journey, no matter where they are in the customer lifecycle.

Marketing Automation Best Practices

Here are the best practices to remember when designing your automation strategy:

  • Define and set your goals using accurate statistics to validate the investment in an automation platform.
  • Collaborate with other teams. Your automation strategy will affect multiple groups in your organisation. Get their feedback and consult with other experts before you begin.
  • Create process visualisations with detailed diagrams of your automation workflow to communicate your overall goals to the entire organisation.
  • Prepare a database segmentation taking into account your customer data. Consider who you want to target and for what reason.
  • Prepare your content strategically. Building your content library in a practical way requires interesting, engaging, and relevant messages that reach all stages of the customer lifecycle.
  • Plan for a slow rollout. Test early and optimise your steps to ensure the best chance of success.

Analyse the process data. Determine what is working and what is not. Use the time you get back from automation to review the analyses and make changes to move your business forward.

Marketing Automation

What Can Marketing Automation Do for Your Company?

Generating leads and retaining customers throughout their journey are the most critical steps of companies’ common challenges. In addition to these goals, businesses face a flood of data to collect and analyse, making it difficult to use.

Automation software can help overcome these obstacles by putting data to work. Marketers consider this type of automation a middle-of-the-funnel tool ideal for nurturing leads via automated and simplified email sequences. While email marketing is an excellent tool for automation, this approach can lead to a confusing experience for prospects and customers, especially if the messages are not correctly tailored to them.

Companies force prospects through an imaginary sales funnel with arbitrary touchpoints and irrelevant content. Instead of catering to individual customer needs, they offer the same deals repeatedly.

However, they can use automated marketing strategies throughout the customer lifecycle. Integrating these strategies can create a productive foundation for healthy, long-term relationships with your customers. And when done well, it can bring three critical benefits to your business.

#1 Personalised Workflows

You need to incorporate your prospects’ action data into your marketing strategy, so you know immediately what your customers need. However, it’s nearly impossible to track these behaviours and actions manually. With the help of automation software, you can leverage this data at the right time across multiple channels to accurately understand customer needs and deliver the right content.

These workflows help direct prospects to helpful content, resulting in warm leads that can be converted into customers. Marketing automation doesn’t stop there. With the customer in hand, companies can continue to engage customers with personalised workflows that result in returning loyal customers who bring their friends and family into the fold.

#2 Streamlined Processes

Automation allows you to

  • Bring your business together with streamlined processes that put your customers at the centre. 
  • Develop methods for different functional teams to reduce customer effort at every journey stage. 
  • Eliminate the need for handoffs as everything is automatically saved in your central data storage, and internal workflows help you prioritise tasks as needed.

#3 Integrated Data & Analytics

Each action of your potential customers is a data entry in the database that tells you what they are looking for. And when the number of these actions exceeds a certain threshold, manual tracking becomes impossible.

But with marketing automation, you can leverage these inputs across multiple channels to understand your customers’ exact needs and deliver the right content at the right time.

How Does Marketing Automation Affect Your Customers?

Marketing automation is not just about what it can do for your business. It should also pay off for your customers by solving known pain points that any customer may experience in their journey.

In the age of digital-first and omnichannel, your customers are inundated with information that makes it difficult for them to find the answers they need. When they do manage to connect with your company, they typically have a disjointed experience as they search across multiple websites, channels, and platforms. Automation can significantly reduce this friction by connecting the various entities, prioritising behind-the-scenes tasks, and collecting data in a usable format.

Provide More Relevant Content

You can also define what each prospect or customer sees with automation. From advertising to email marketing, you can use personas and behavioural targeting to send only the information your prospects want. 

Provide Better Answers

Automation helps companies prioritise tasks, manage leads, and respond quickly to incoming questions. And with behavioural data stored in your CRM, your agents can provide more relevant help without searching for information first. Knowing your customers’ history can automate responses based on previous purchases or lifetime value.

Marketing Automation for Small Businesses

Marketing automation isn’t limited to companies with huge budgets or a seemingly endless list of customers. It can impact businesses of all sizes, including small businesses. With suitable approaches, small businesses can quickly learn how to best use this automation for their purposes.

So, what does this automation do for small businesses?

  • Build relationships: Prospects rarely buy from a company the first time they see it. Therefore, automation, such as personalised emails, is critical to building and maintaining that relationship.
  • Potential sales: Follow-up emails and messages to customers who browse your site or abandon their shopping cart can help close the possible transaction. 
  • Customer journey tracking: The more information you can get about your customer, the better. With ad automation, you can track the customer journey and have clues to help them make a purchase.
  • Automated social media posts: With tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, you can automate the publishing of all your posts once you’ve created the caption, image, text, links, and hashtags.
  • Automate reports: Automating your reports can save you countless hours spent creating data visualisations and elementary analytics. The tools you need to do this are easily accessible: Google Analytics, Tableau and Power BI.

Simplifying Communication with Chatbots

In layman’s terms, a chatbot is a programmed answerer with ready-made questions, answers and links. It’s an interactive tool that can automatically help your customers when they first visit your website or app. Chatbots can add remarkable value even in B2B by capturing customer data, reducing bounce rates, and freeing up resources.

Bottom Line

So we’ve learned that marketing automation is about ease of use and creating campaigns with a single click. Automation enables easier management of all marketing tasks, from introductory emailing to complex campaign management and data analysis. 

But is automation easily applicable to all businesses? What industry-specific factors can affect the details of such simplifications? And many other technical questions. At BroadWeb, we increase efficiency and reduce human error by connecting disparate business systems. Contact us today, and let’s automate all your manual processes.

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