Marketing automation is transforming the way modern businesses reach, convert, and retain customers. For companies just getting started with automation, the setup process can seem daunting. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll walk through the basics of what automation is, why it’s valuable, and how to choose and implement the right marketing automation platforms and workflows for your business.
Understanding Marketing Automation
Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed to automate repetitive marketing tasks. This allows marketers to more efficiently nurture leads, convert sales, drive ROI and adapt campaigns without manual oversight of routine processes. automation helps businesses scale their marketing and standardize processes using digital data and tracking.
Platforms provide features like email templates, landing pages, lead scoring, campaign creation workflow builders and integration with sales and CRM systems. Leading automation providers include HubSpot, Marketo and Pardot. Tools provided by these b2b marketing consultants and digital data consultancies act as a marketing automation specialist to help streamline campaign management.
Demonstrating Marketing Automation Through Real-Life Examples
Here’s a common example of marketing automation:
A prospect fills out a form to download an e-book from your website. They provide their name, email and other information. Your automation platform automatically captures this lead information and initiates a pre-set workflow.
This could involve adding them to certain email lists and nurture tracks and excluding them from others. It may score their lead based on information provided. A digital data consultancy could help analyze the lead scoring methodology to determine the optimal thresholds for identifying marketing qualified leads. Over the next few weeks, a series of 5 carefully timed emails is automatically deployed to nurture that lead. The messages educate readers further and aim to convert them into marketing qualified leads by directing them to book sales appointments.
Automated lead scoring also helps determine if they become viable sales qualified leads to contact directly. If lead scores don’t rise sufficiently, the automated nurturing cycle repeats to continue engaging them. If lead scores hit thresholds, the contact is automatically handed off to sales reps as a highly qualified lead.
What Makes Marketing Automation Useful?
There are many powerful reasons brands make automation for marketing a centerpiece of customer engagement:
- Consolidates customer data from all channels and CRM in one place to enable smarter marketing and sales decisions and tracking. Provides a holistic view of the customer journey.
- Automatically nurtures leads over time to become sales qualified without direct manual oversight.
- Frees up significant time for marketers and sales teams to focus on more valuable priorities than basic lead follow-ups.
- Helps ensure standardized, respectable contact with every lead to represent brand effectively.
- Enables running and optimizing many outreach campaigns simultaneously.
Gives insights needed to determine the highest converting marketing assets and tactics.
Platforms and Tools
Many software options provide automation for marketing capabilities. When reviewing providers, it can be helpful to consult with a b2b marketing consultant to explore which platforms would best align to your budget, target customer profiles, in-house expertise and existing martech software stack. A marketing consultant that specializes in b2b can provide valuable outside guidance when it comes to selecting and implementing the right automation tools for your business needs and growth goals.
Here are some top marketing automation platforms to consider:
- HubSpot – Comprehensive inbound marketing and sales software with intuitive automation workflows. Strong mid-market presence.
- Marketo – Fully-featured marketing automation for enterprise brands. Complex but powerful. Adobe also offers Marketo Engage in its Experience Cloud.
- Pardot – Salesforce’s marketing automation offering tightly integrated with Salesforce CRM. An enterprise-ready solution.
- Ontraport – Affordable and intuitive solution well suited to small businesses’ needs.
- Zoho Campaigns – Capable marketing automation with approachable pricing for mid-market firms. Integrates with Zoho’s wider business app ecosystem.
The key is choosing a platform aligned to your resources and needs that can ultimately scale with business growth over time. Many platforms offer free trials to experience capabilities firsthand.
Next important steps involve mapping your ideal automated workflows, importing contacts, configuring lead scoring methodologies, establishing data tracking, designing campaign templates and assets to feed the system, integrating complementary technologies, and equipping marketers to run the software day-to-day.
While the setup process takes concerted planning, refined automation for marketing ultimately lets your business engage customers like never before possible at scale. Approach the beginnings thoughtfully, map it to long-term strategy, and marketing automation will produce game-changing results.