Marketing automation – what’s in a name?
We all know that marketing today is the embodiment of multitasking. It is all about large amounts of data, and the tasks that marketers previously performed manually are now inevitably bound with automation.
Marketing automation is a technology that facilitates marketing activities by streamlining and automating marketing processes. Marketing automation is inextricably linked to specialized software that will be described below.
Marketing automation software allows businesses to automate repetitive manual tasks and improve marketing workflows, increase the efficiency of marketing efforts and the profits of marketing companies’ clients. Furthermore, marketing automation software allows to plan, implement, analyze marketing campaigns performance and at the same time provide target audience with engaging and unique, personalized journeys. This is essential for both marketing agencies with a great number of clients who have completely different business needs and companies with extensive marketing activities. The major advantage of marketing automation software solutions is an integrated approach: everything can be managed from one place.
There is a great variety of marketing automation systems: choose according to your business needs. You can either opt for a large-scale comprehensive solution, covering each and every aspect of your marketing activities or elect to a tool intended to automate one dimension of your marketing efforts (e.g. MailChimp for your email campaigns or Buffer for your SMM); or else you can pick out a custom solution tailored to specific needs of your business.
To keep you from getting lost in all variety, SumatoSoft Marketing Team have prepared a shortlist of the most common types of marketing automation software.
1. Email Marketing Solutions
Email marketing covers so many aspects of communication between brands and customers that it can rightly be called one of the most popular marketing channels. In addition, it is still one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience.
Email marketing solutions enable you to automate and, at the same time, personalize messages you send to your potential and existing clients. And, most importantly, such tools facilitate extensive email marketing campaigns with a large number of addressees. Dashboards of email marketing services usually contain detailed statistics for campaigns.
2. Social Media Marketing (SMM) Solutions
Social media is now widely utilized by companies to share their news with customers, get feedback from them and even generate leads. It is not surprising, as social networks hold great potential for promoting brands and managing business reputation.
Social media marketing solutions are perfect tools for scheduling posts, engaging new contacts and analyzing the performance of your SMM campaigns.
3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Solutions
Customer data management is an exceptionally important but at the same time routine task that takes much time and requires full concentration. There is another side as well: the way you collect and store customer data has a direct impact on customer experience your clients finally receive.
The accuracy of information, timely replies to clients, communication history and details about previous interactions – all these elements are important for your image, reputation, as well as for turning leads into prospects and prospects into clients. CRM solutions enable sales & marketing teams to automate these essential aspects and always show your company in the best possible light in the eyes of your customers.
4. Marketing Analytics & Reporting Solutions
Marketing automation tools are themselves a wealth of useful information. However, from this perspective, one type especially stands out.
There are marketing solutions that are designed to measure campaigns and provide in-depth analytics. User behavior tracking, dashboards with various kinds of indicators, illustrative graphs and reports – marketing analytics & reporting tools facilitate businesses to find out what strategies are working and which ones are not so good for a company.
Analytical marketing tools can be both specialized, like, for example, website traffic analytics solutions and those that allow marketers to get a full picture of all campaigns.
5. Comprehensive Marketing Automation Platforms
These solutions, essentially, comprise all listed above types of marketing automation software. Comprehensive marketing automation platforms are the best choice for companies that decide to automate all marketing & sales activities.
Being all-in-one tools, they assume countless activities: from creating email campaigns and scheduling social media posts to building landing pages and lead tracking. HubSpot is a good example of such platforms.
As you can see, marketing automation tools are akin to magic wands in the Harry Potter universe: a wizard (marketer) pronounces a spell (sets up a marketing campaign), and a wand (marketing automation software) does magic.
Why do I need marketing automation?
No matter what kind of business you run (or, if you represent a marketing agency, who your clients are), you need to provide a one-of-a-kind experience to your customers across various channels. Marketing automation enables you to always keep up without spending enormous resources on each campaign for each client.
Marketing automation software gives you much beyond just putting order in your multiple campaigns. For a marketing agency, it brings real benefits not only to you and your marketing efforts, but also to your clients.
Data also speaks for marketing automation software: according to Nucleus Research, marketing automation boosts sales productivity by 14.5% and leads to a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.
Growth of marketing technology solutions also says a lot about what the market is demanding. So, if you have not adopted a marketing automation solution yet, it is time you started thinking about it.
And that brings us to the point.
So, what benefits does marketing automation software bring?
Here are top 7 main advantages of marketing automation tools:
1. Saving Time and Raising Efficiency
The word ‘automation’ speaks for itself. Marketing automation software assumes tasks that previously took days and carries them out in a matter of hours or even minutes. For example, social media management platforms allow marketers to schedule and publish posts on any social networks simultaneously. Furthermore, such marketing automation tools enable you to monitor what people across social networks say about your company, products or services you provide. No need to mention how much time these activities take when carried out manually.
This provides more freedom for marketers in both marketing companies and departments, and enables them to elevate their creativity instead of wasting energy on routine tasks. Such an approach has a positive impact on productivity and efficiency.
2. Streamlining Workflows
Putting all shades of marketing activities together and automating them allows marketing professionals to achieve clarity and see the big picture.
Manual performance of routine tasks leaves an open door for errors or forgetting things. With marketing automation software, you can be assured that all processes and activities will be streamlined and no important detail will be missed. Thus, integrating your CRM with a marketing automation system will enable you to keep all personal data and communication with clients under control. You will avoid cases when two managers contact the same customer in parallel or when no one contacts a client at all.
All this puts workflows in your marketing agency or department on a sustainable track and consequently, enhances relationships with customers.
3. Less Routine, Happier Marketers
This point follows on from two previous ones. Marketing employees are able to delegate the most routine and tiresome tasks to smart software, ensure well-established processes and unleash their creativity.
The result is a happy team, satisfied customers and high profits.
4. Multiple Channels to Drive More Leads and Sales
We have already mentioned this benefit above: with marketing automation software, you can reach customers at different stages of customer journey across a wide range of channels.
Multi-channel targeting provides you with options: you can send an email or a message on social media, make a phone call or tweet in a personalized way. Like a true wizard, you can deftly handle a huge variety of tools.
5. Measure and Analyze
Shooting a cannon at sparrows is definitely not the way marketing professionals work. Each campaign should be measured backwards and forwards and put under the microscope. However, measuring ROI of marketing programs is not an easy thing to do.
As you may imagine, a marketing automation tool will not let you down in this case as well. It will track campaign results, analyze responses of users and measure campaign success. It will give you more data, accurate figures and better insight into what you should focus on. Supporters of data-driven marketing are much more likely to achieve competitive advantage in increasing profitability (45% vs. 7%) and in customer retention (74% vs. 13%) than those marketers that do not draw on data.
Marketing automation software is good at analyzing data and the probability of error is very low.
6. Feel Like a Magician
Or, at least, jack-of-all trades.
Marketing automation software gives you a chance to develop additional skills without any difficulty. Its interface allows you to make great things without participation of designers or technicians: create email (with colorful templates) and social media campaigns, landing pages, surveys – do whatever is needed with the help of simple and convenient tools.
7. Effective Outreach to Leads
Do not miss leads because of the time difference or due to a heavy workload. The faster you follow up, the more chance there is a company will gain a new customer.
Studies show that companies are 60 times more likely to qualify the lead if they contact them within an hour in comparison with follow-up within a day.
Marketing automation software ensures immediate follow-up for each lead even it is 1am in the morning. You are sleeping; marketing automation tool is doing important work. It is not a dream – it is a reality!
OK, convinced. How should I choose a marketing automation solution?
It depends on your business needs and objectives. What marketing activities you would like to automate: a number of aspects or one dimension, like, for example, email campaigns. Or you need a specific marketing automation platform specially designed for your company and tailored to your unique needs.
So, there are two main options: 1) ready-made solutions (in the first two cases these could be HubSpot and MailChimp accordingly) or 2) a custom marketing automation tool.
If you need an out-of-the-box solution, check out the three pillars:
- Easy Implementation and Integration
You do not want to spend much time on long and arduous deployment process, so make sure the platform introduction is quick and the vendor is ready to help. Furthermore, inquire in advance, whether the selected tool is compatible with other software solutions you utilize.
A soldier who does not want to be a general is a bad soldier, they say. Now your customer base is 1000 contacts and in a few years, it can grow by 1000 percent. So, there should be no problem for the automation software you choose to support an increase in the number of your clients.
- User-Friendly Interface
Your team will love it (see the benefits above). But how fast they will fall for it, depends on its usability and user interface. Ideally, it should be intuitive.
If there are no suitable software products on the market which are able to meet your specific business requirements, you’d best look towards outsourcing companies and delegate the authority to develop the required solution to them.
At the same time, you will get a number of benefits. In case of custom marketing software, there will be no issues with integration, scalability or usability, since it will be initially developed in accordance with your requirements.
Having worked with a few big marketing agencies and marketing startups on their products, SumatoSoft team has gained an extensive experience and a proven track record in planning, design and development of business-specific tools and products. We will be glad to share our expertise with you. Just get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out the online form.
<div class="smt-headline"><h4 class="smt-headline__title"><strong>Read previous articles from the series:</strong></h4><ul class="smt-headline__list"><li class="smt-headline__list-item"><a href="https://medium.com/@sumatosoft/choosing-your-lifes-business-how-to-find-an-idea-that-will-work-d7daf5bb47a8" target="_blank" class="smt-headline__link">How to choose an idea for your business</a></li><li class="smt-headline__list-item"><a href="/blog-post/lean-startup-as-a-core-strategy-short-review-and-tips/" target="_blank" class="smt-headline__link">Best strategy for startups: review and tips</a></li><li class="smt-headline__list-item"><a href="https://medium.com/swlh/why-bringing-your-mvp-to-perfection-is-a-lousy-way-to-release-a-product-40b82f1e6e96" target="_blank" class="smt-headline__link">Why you should make an MVP and launch it ASAP</a></li><li class="smt-headline__list-item"><a href="/blog-post/what-design-thinking-is-and-how-it-is-used-in-software-development/" target="_blank" class="smt-headline__link">What is design thinking?</a></li><li class="smt-headline__list-item"><a href="/blog-post/why-business-analysis-is-a-treasure-trove-in-software-development-projects/" target="_blank" class="smt-headline__link">Why business analysis is a treasure trove in software development projects</a></li></ul></div>