How marketing automation can transform your business

A woman uses her laptop to learn how marketing automation can transform businesses.

In today’s environment more purchase decisions than ever are being driven — or influenced — by digitally native business leaders. That leaves modern B2B marketers wondering how to meet the increased expectation for fully personalized buying cycles, even as resources become scarce.

While automating some processes, many marketers still rely on manual workflows, which slow down pipeline creation, weaken customer relationships, and ultimately hurt the return on investment (ROI). The solution is automating your marketing activities. Marketing automation provides countless benefits, including a higher quality lead pipeline, optimized customer experiences, and better spend efficiency.

With marketing and measurement automation, your team can effectively engage audiences, drive high-quality leads, and improve customer relationships for greater marketing ROI. In fact, according to The state of marketing automation, an Adobe research report, 98% of marketers say that marketing automation is very important or extremely important to success.

That sounds promising, but maybe you’re looking for a deeper understanding of what marketing automation actually means. This article will help you learn a bit more about marketing automation and its positive business impacts. Specifically, it will cover:

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation involves using intelligent software to help manage aspects of the marketing process automatically and at scale. This software streamlines, automates, and measures the results of marketing tasks and workflows. It powers many modern marketing practices, such as:

Marketing automation gives your company the power to operate with greater efficiency and increase revenue more quickly. If your business has a small number of prospects and customers, you can do some of these things without marketing automation. But to scale up, technology is essential.

While large companies have long found value in marketing automation, small and medium businesses (SMBs) can reap the benefits of it as well. In fact, SMBs are the fastest growing segment in the marketing automation space right now, and thousands of even smaller organizations are taking advantage of it now too.

Lots of industries use marketing automation. B2B companies in manufacturing, business services, and high tech and software were among some of the first to adopt it. But increasingly, all kinds of businesses — including those in B2C industries like healthcare, retail, and media and entertainment — are using marketing automation because of its customer-centric approach to maintaining and extending audience relationships in real time.

Marketing automation saves time, supports personalization, and increases ROI.

Benefits of marketing automation

Simply put, marketing automation allows your team to do more with less. Let’s take a look at a few of the specific benefits of automating your marketing activities.

1. Get a holistic view of the customer to improve pipeline creation

According to market research firm Ascend2, 45% of marketers say personalizing content is the most effective way to improve customer experiences. Marketing automation can help you identify, engage with, and gain insight into your best customers’ behavior to deliver personalized content when and where they need it most. It builds a partnership with your sales team to quickly connect with the right leads at the right time in a meaningful way.

That’s important because, on average, only 20% of leads are sales-ready when they first come in. Ensuring that leads are being nurtured throughout the sales process helps develop qualified leads until they are sales-ready. Marketing automation also helps maintain and extend customer relationships. These relationships can be supported by upselling (selling more of the same product to the buyer), cross-selling (selling additional products to the buyer), and driving customer retention and loyalty as a part of your strategy.

Marketing automation platforms integrate rich behavioral data, built-in intelligence, and sophisticated journey flows to nurture high-quality leads across channels and buying journeys, helping you to meet individual customers’ needs easily.

2. Speed up revenue growth

When your company delivers the right experience to the right customer at the right time, they’re more likely to choose your products and services.

According to a report from Nucleus Research, first-time marketing automation users benefit from more than 20% higher productivity. Automating manual sales activities provides more time to focus on high-performing programs and leads.

3. Measure and fine-tune marketing investments

Marketing automation helps you create and keep a system of record, run cross-channel tests to optimize programs, and prove ROI and funnel impact. You are able to see what’s driving ROI and what needs work.

For every dollar invested in marketing automation, a report from Nucleus Research found that companies can receive an ROI of $6.66. The right marketing automation platform also uses machine learning and predictive analytics to further optimize your programs.

The NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks are a great example of how dramatically a marketing automation platform can improve ROI. After just two years of using Adobe Marketo Engage, the Bucks increased digital leads by 80% and grew revenue by 315%.

Using Adobe Marketo Engage, the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks increased digital leads by 80% and grew revenue by 315%.

Marketing automation best practices

There are many tools and tactics out there to help you with marketing automation, but you still may not be sure where to start. In The state of marketing automation report, top-performing leaders shared a few best practices that maximize ROI and provide great customer experiences.

1. Align your marketing and sales teams.

Leaders are investing more time than ever in alignment between marketing and sales, nurturing the overall relationship and taking control of the future of operations. And with changing consumer expectations, companies must adapt their business models to achieve higher customer lifetime value. Since the pandemic, disjointed customer experiences are no longer tolerated –personalized digital experiences are now the norm. This, along with shifting business models toward recurring-revenue and greater self-service powered by ecommerce, companies are placing increased importance on marketing operations to drive growth.

As such, many B2B businesses are increasingly relying on marketing automation to more seamlessly connect teams.

2. Consider your customers’ entire journey.

Personalized content is core to today’s B2B marketing. Successful leaders are addressing all the aspects of great personalization, including centralized customer data, stage-specific content creation, omnichannel customer journeys, and measurement — and doing all of this as efficiently as possible at scale.

3. Collect and organize customer data to optimize your marketing initiatives.

Leaders use multitouch attribution to prove and improve marketing impact. Now, they’re upgrading to capture all channels to get deals done.

A​ttribution done right provides visibility into the revenue impact of every trackable touchpoint — and every campaign, channel, and content asset. Evaluated alongside cost data, this information reveals ROI — the insight of every marketer’s dreams.

Learn more about marketing automation

Marketing automation is no longer just an option — it’s essential to business success. A good marketing automation platform can help you accelerate conversion, shorten sales cycles, and increase revenue.

The right marketing automation platform can help you make personal connections with customers at scale. Whether you’re a full-scale enterprise or a growing business, Marketo Engage helps develop better buyer journeys, deliver unique digital experiences at scale, engage customers across every channel, and prove — and increase — the impact you’re making with your marketing efforts.

Learn more in The State of Marketing Automation report.