What is Marketing Automation and How Does it Work?

Marketing automation is a technology that manages cross-functional, multi-channel marketing processes and campaigns automatically. With marketing automation, businesses can target customers with automated messages through email, web, social media, and text messaging. It is software that handles routine marketing tasks without the need for human action. Common marketing automation workflows include email marketing, behavioral targeting, lead prioritization, and personalized advertising.

By automating these tasks, teams can work better together, providing more personalized and relevant content to customers prospects and customers, and save time. Marketing automation uses software to complete marketing tasks and run pre-determined campaigns on several different channels at scheduled intervals. When setting up a program, the software can perform many repetitive tasks for you, giving you time to focus on other efforts. It also provides marketers with the ability to deliver real-time, targeted, and data-driven campaigns, along with increased efficiency and productivity.

Eloqua will work with other CRM platforms that compete with those of Oracle, and Marketo, a separate marketing automation platform, will work with Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft and other CRM systems. Automation tools allow marketers to think and create workflows to execute more complex strategies. With automation software, marketing teams can save time, create a more detailed picture of their customer base, and deliver more personalized experiences. You'll be able to customize each individual buyer's journey, from first touch to sale and beyond, with marketing analytics and data, lead nurturing, and lead scoring capabilities.

Initially used for large companies, marketing automation tools have become more prevalent and scalable for small and medium-sized businesses. In fact, marketers report a 451% increase in qualified leads when using marketing automation software. It can use data and patterns to send emails and birthday reminders, trigger lead generation content, schedule emails and social media content, and more. In effect, they act as middleware that connects the thousands of niche marketing automation tools and large CRM systems, where a company's customer data resides.

By automating certain manual workflows, your staff is free to focus on strategic work that will help improve overall processes, innovate marketing campaigns, and drive bottom line results. Marketing automation platforms are used as a hosted or web-based solution, and no software installation is required by the customer. It may seem that CRM (customer relationship management) and automated marketing software have a lot of overlap. Both can use marketing automation platforms to keep their marketing materials up to date and deliver them to customers who are most likely to act on it, without over-communicating with customers who are least likely to act on information.

Automating communications such as email and mobile marketing makes sending targeted messages quick and easy. Marketing automation allows you to nurture leads with relevant and useful information across multiple channels until they're ready to buy.

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