Marketing Tech Friday: What is Marketing Automation?

Here we are again. We’ve come to another Friday, and that means this is your third installment of Marketing Tech Friday. Again, you asked, and we’ve done the research.

You responded with marketing automation; so you’ve got it.

What is Marketing Automation?

Obviously this is not something brand new, and we’re not the first blog to give coverage to marketing automation. But that doesn’t mean you understand exactly what marketing automation is. So, at the end of the day, what is it?

Marketing automation is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and effectively measure marketing tasks. This allows marketers to increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.

At its best, marketing automation is software that allows marketers to nurture prospects with valuable content that converts prospects into customers.

For the modern marketer, marketing automation software has become extremely useful and intrinsically necessary. It’s used by many to support the most necessary modern marketing processes, including . . .

  • lead generation
  • segmentation
  • lead nurturing
  • lead scoring
  • analytics
  • campaign ROI measurement
  • A/B testing

Considering most organizations don’t have marketing automation platform, it’s obviously not necessary for these functions.

However, it does become absolutely essential with scale.

Is Marketing Automation Magic?

No, actually. Far from it.

Purchasing the software program doesn’t automatically mean your marketing will be amazing. The reality is you have to make it be effective. Marketing automation is just a tool, like the perfect marketing utility tool, but it’s only as effective as the person using it.

Before you invest in this technology, you need to have a firm sales funnel foundation in place.

You need to already have the foundation laid before you are ready to implement a marketing automation system. The reality is you need a steady flow of leads coming through your sales funnel. With a well balanced inbound and outbound marketing approach, marketing automation will help you scale your lead generation efforts.

What are the Common Features and Functions?

There are a lot of features for marketing automation programs, but different platforms have different features and functionality. The most common features are email marketing, landing pages, forms, calls-to-action, workflows, campaign management, relationship marketing, prediction and scoring, lead lifecycle management, CRM integration, social marketing, and marketing analytics.

What It’s Not

Marketing automation is not . . .

  • Email marketing –

    Not even close. Like the term suggests, marketing automation supports and encompasses marketing campaigns that use multiple channels, from direct mail to online and social initiatives.

  • A solution only for marketing –

    Obviously, the marketing department benefits a lot from marketing automation. But that isn’t its only use. High quality usage is about increasing revenue. It can be used to leverage upsell and cross-sell opportunities and improve customer retention and service.

  • Effortless –

    Marketing automation isn’t effortless. To deliver, it requires a comprehensive strategy, the right processes, the right people, and valuable content and data, and so much more.

Do I Need It?

Like I’ve said throughout this article, it all depends on your marketing. If you’re producing valuable content that generates a steady flow of leads and you’re ready to scale your efforts, it may be time to invest in this technology.

Here are some good questions to ask yourself before you make the move.

  • Are you generating a steady flow of new and qualified leads?
  • Is your sales team overwhelmed with the number of quality leads you’re passing along?
  • Has marketing and sales agree on what conversations should happen with marketing and which with sales?
  • Do you have an efficient content strategy mapped to your Sales Lifecycle?
  • Are you tracking leads across every touch point and marketing channel?
  • Do you have a lead nurturing strategy?

These are all good signs that a correctly used marketing automation program could work for your business.

If you’re interested in marketing automation, we know of a few good platforms. Here at Randall-Reilly, we are extremely satisfied with our HubSpot program. Their program has easy integration, great customer service, and top-notch training and support. You can also find other platforms from companies like Marketo, Silverpop, and Eloqua.

Don’t forget that we need you to tell us what to write about for our next Marketing Tech Friday. Just tweet at us or comment on LinkedIn or Facebook. You never know, your suggestion could be our topic.

New Call-to-action