Learn about marketing automation and how it works
In B2B marketing, businesses have long, complicated customer journeys that they need to keep track of in an organized, central place. And with upward of 7,000 marketing applications in the world, companies can be overwhelmed by all the options and it can be difficult to know what tools to use.
Marketing automation is the solution — a way to organize and unify campaigns and a central place that everything connects to and extends.
You’ve probably heard of marketing automation and understand the concept. But you might need more information on how it actually works and impacts your business. In this article, you’ll learn more about marketing automation, so you can decide whether or not to adopt marketing automation tools.
Specifically, we’ll cover:
- What marketing automation is
- How it works
- The benefits of marketing automation
- How it impacts customers
- Marketing automation best practices
- Best tools to automate your marketing campaigns
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is technology that allows companies to centrally orchestrate and manage their interactions with customers, handling marketing campaigns and processes across multiple platforms automatically. It uses software to schedule and complete routine marketing tasks.
Automation is efficient, saves time and money, and increases a brand’s ability to put the right content in front of customers at the right moments, all of which leads to greater marketing ROI.
Some of the tasks that can be automated include sending emails, posting to social media, A/B testing, lead scoring, and ad retargeting. Good marketing automation software integrates with your other platforms, such as a CRM, uniting marketing and sales.
What does marketing automation do for your business?
Marketing automation helps eliminate some of your more tedious tasks and gives your teams the opportunity to focus more on customer relationships. Marketing automation tools will help your team save time and work more efficiently.
This technology helps your teams to be better informed and make smarter decisions by extracting data using analytics tools. It helps you collect data and build customer profiles for audience segmentation. Marketing automation makes day-to-day tasks simpler and helps your teams spend more time providing customers with personalized experiences through multiple platforms.
How marketing automation works
Now that we’ve covered what marketing automation is, let’s explore how it works.
Marketing automation works by collecting information from potential and existing customers. This information could include which pages they visited on your website, which items they added to their cart or purchased, whether they opened an email, how they interacted with your social media profile, and more.
Using this data, marketing automation software builds customer profiles and segments your audience into groups. Your marketing team can then create personalized content and messaging for each user.
Marketing automation tools can also test how your target audience receives your messaging, and adjust accordingly, to make sure you’re always putting winning content forward. These tools will send triggered content to customers, meaning your marketing team will also be in close contact with customers and always top of mind. As priorities shift, you can schedule content for a future date if needed.
The benefits of marketing automation
Using marketing automation, your teams can provide exceptional, personalized service to your customers, and your company can stay ahead of the competition.
Here are some of the benefits of marketing automation:
- It saves time. Marketing automation handles tasks that otherwise would be done manually by your team, which frees time for them to do higher-level work. Your team can spend less time searching for leads and more time actually engaging with them.
- It saves money. Teams can accomplish the same work with fewer resources since automation handles some of the tedious tasks. Your company can also scale its marketing efforts without increasing the number of people or the time spent on work.
- It supports personalization. A/B testing, customer segmentation, and content retargeting allow personalized messaging on personalized timelines for a better customer experience. With this, your company can expect greater brand loyalty.
- It helps teams prioritize their best content. A/B testing allows teams to collect data on which content is working best and which should be adjusted. Marketing automation helps your team quickly shift content priorities to maintain a loyal customer base.
- It allows you to always be in the right place at the right time. Your teams can schedule and use triggered content to automatically engage with customers at any time. By having key insights into what customers’ top priorities are, you can create compelling content that will keep your customers engaging with your brand.
How it impacts customers
Overall, marketing automation helps companies provide an exceptional customer experience. Implementing marketing automation into your business can impact customers by:
- Providing a better omnichannel experience. Your company can track which messages a customer will see and provide different content on different channels. You can move the customer through their journey more smoothly by providing new and relevant material rather than duplicating content.
- Breaking down the silos between teams. The right marketing automation tools can pull in data from different sources and then share that information across teams. This provides a better view of the entire customer journey and supports consistent communication as customers transition from marketing to sales.
- Providing relevant, authentic experiences. Shoppers want personalized experiences and want to feel like a brand understands them. Research has shown that 71% of consumers expect personalized experiences from businesses. By using information gathered from shoppers’ interactions with your brand, you can anticipate what a customer wants and then provide content that aligns with that.
Marketing automation best practices
Individual business needs will vary, but there are some general approaches you can follow to make the most of marketing automation technology.
Here are some best practices you can keep in mind as you develop your automation strategy:
- Build a great customer journey. While there are many benefits of using marketing automation at your company, framing your goals as they relate to the customer journey will ensure that customer experience is at the forefront of your marketing efforts.
- Have a goal in mind. Goals will help point your marketing team in the right direction, influence which metrics you decide to measure, and ultimately help you demonstrate the ROI of your efforts. This information is insightful and can be used to help inform and create the budget for your next campaign.
- Collaborate across teams. Getting everyone on the same page and sold on your marketing automation software can increase the data you collect and allow your company to provide a better experience, no matter which team is interacting with the customer.
- Automate tasks that will produce the biggest benefit for your team. Consider which tasks take the most time and deliver the greatest value to the team. By prioritizing high-impact tasks, you’ll get results and be able to demonstrate the value of your marketing automation software sooner.
- Choose the right tool for your business. Using the goals you set for your team, choose software that will help you reach the number of customers you want to reach in the time frame you want to reach them. Choose the tools that need to be a part of your marketing automation software based on your goals — whether that be automated emails, social posts, lead management, or something else.
Best tools to automate your marketing campaigns
Marketing automation tools can handle many different parts of your marketing campaigns and simplify processes across teams. Here are some of the best tools to look for in a marketing automation solution:
- Scheduling tools. Whether for email, social media, or other mediums, marketing automation tools allow you to schedule content so that it reaches customers at just the right time.
- Retargeting and triggered content functionality. When a customer takes an action, you can follow up with them immediately to continue engagement and move customers through the pipeline.
- Customer personas and segmentation. Automation tools can automatically collect data about customers and present that information in ways that will allow your team to make data-driven decisions.
- Recommendation and optimization features. Each customer interaction can be a meaningful one with the right data to keep the conversation centered around the customer’s top priorities.
- Automated emails. There are some emails that have a similar look and feel, such as a welcome message or a notification that a customer has left items in their cart. Automation can handle these more repetitive and practical emails.
Get started with marketing automation
Marketing automation saves time and money and provides a better customer experience. If you think your team could benefit from it, share this article with key stakeholders.
To help them make a decision, assess what tools and technology your company needs by making a short list of actions you would automate first to deliver the most value. If you’re still undecided, check out the eBook 10 Reasons to Consider Marketing Automation to help you decide where marketing automation fits into your company’s strategy.
Adobe can help
Implementing marketing automation is a breeze with Adobe Marketo Engage. The platform specializes in customer engagement for complex B2B buying journeys. As a complete solution for lead management, it brings marketing and sales together to nurture leads, orchestrate personalized experiences, optimize content, and measure business impact across every channel.
Your team can create engaging, personalized experiences that build lasting customer loyalty with Marketo Engage.