Anyone familiar with or familiarizing themselves with marketing has probably heard of marketing automation software. Marketing automation tools have emerged as the next big thing in marketing because the tools allow marketers to focus on creative and intellectual work rather than many of the tedious tasks that come with any marketing campaign. But what exactly do marketing automation tools do? Sure, they automate stuff, but what does that really mean?
Today, you’re going to find out, and you’re going to learn how marketing automation tools can empower your campaign and help you produce fantastic results. Many of the biggest and greatest companies today, such as Amazon, have achieved greatness, in part, because they leverage automation. To date, 55% of B2B companies are adopting some form of marketing automation. By using automation, marketers can hone in on high-converting prospects, customize messages and content, and improve customer satisfaction ratings.
So, what is marketing automation?
Marketing automation refers to using software, AI, and other features to automatically perform a range of marketing activities. This means that the activities will be completed without any need for human insight or intervention.
Once the marketing automation system is set up, tasks are accomplished once key triggers are alerted or other conditions are met. Ultimately, this results in streamlined marketing efforts that can produce measurable data and insights.
What areas of marketing does automation affect?
Essentially all of them. The impacts of automation, not surprisingly, are most directly felt in digital marketing. However, marketing automation is not limited to online efforts. As AI grows more intelligent, expect marketing automation tools to impact an ever-widening range of areas and operations.
Automation is especially useful for customer relationship management as it can be used to automatically build relationships with customers. Automation is a boon for:
- Data integration
Not to mention, marketing automation also improves the user experience.
Set proper expectations
Every few years, some technology comes along that promises to solve all of humanity’s problems. Just buy this tool and everyone can sit back, relax, and watch it print money. If only. Marketing automation systems are not a panacea even if they are immensely useful.
Setting proper expectations from the start will ensure better end results. At the end of the day, it’s not the tools that are what’s most important, but instead the people wielding those tools.
A great marketing team will be able to leverage automation to increase results. A subpar marketing team is still going to produce subpar results even if they have access to the latest and greatest marketing tools.
Marketing AI tools to empower not replace humans
Artificial intelligence is here, and it’s impacting a huge range of industries. Marketing is no exception and many marketing automation systems have artificial intelligence already built in. AI can be the ghost in the machine, automating tasks automatically, generating reports, tracking results, and otherwise keeping humans informed. The last bit here is key: humans are still needed.
Marketing automation tools do not eliminate the need for human input. Even tools with advanced AI features still need human overseers to guide the work and to optimize for results. In fact, rather than replacing people, automation systems empower them, allowing them to focus on areas where they add the most value.
Without automation tools, many marketers find themselves trudging through boring, tedious work, day in and day out. Generate this report, collect that data, put these email addresses here, those email addresses there. Boring. And with marketing automation tools, such tedious work is often unnecessary.
Do I need to use marketing automation?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is still yes, but let’s explain why. Markets are competitive. Where there is a chance to produce profit, there will be several companies competing to secure those profits. Those that excel will be rewarded while those that lag behind will be pushed out of the marketplace.
Now, perhaps you’re currently very successful with your non-automated marketing campaigns. Maybe you don’t want to implement a new system because let’s be honest, change is hard and time-consuming. Here’s the problem: most of your competitors are going to automate either way.
If you don’t use marketing automation tools, you run the risk of falling behind the competition. Over time, your competitors will build competitive advantages and could leverage those to potentially push you out of the market altogether.
Is marketing automation for everyone?
More, or less, yes. Marketing automation is useful for businesses big and small. Software developers, meanwhile, have developed tools for essentially every use case. Despite how intimidating the term might be, marketing automation can be very user-friendly even for non-techie people.
Yes, setting up automation tools can be stressful if you’re not familiar with them. Still, once set up, they can be a miracle worker for people who don’t like digging around in software as they’ll take care of much of the work. In fact, you can even configure email templates for advanced workflows.
Improve strategy and tactics
For those who do embrace automation, it will deliver strategic and tactical advantages.
Strategy refers to the big picture framework for your marketing efforts. Automation helps with strategy in numerous ways. First, marketing automation frees up more time for marketers to work on strategy. Second, automation tools can be integrated directly into your strategic efforts, collecting data and even making adjustments to that data.
Tactics refer to the implementation of specific marketing techniques. Running numerous marketing tactics can be time-consuming, but marketing automation can help. Marketing automation can take care of the tedious tasks, such as uploading email addresses and sending emails at just the right time. Marketing automation tools can even adjust the messages, say adding more action verbs, or removing some to create a more subtle message.
Conclusion: Marketing automation provides strategic and tactical advantages
Marketing automation tools are quickly evolving into “must haves.” With so many companies now using them, those who don’t integrate marketing automation into their processes will fall behind.
The benefits of marketing automation tools are hard to overestimate and quickly they are emerging as a must-have for marketers. If you haven’t automated, you need to start. If you’re using some tools, you should optimize those, and then find other tools you can use.