March 12, 2020

A survey undertaken in 2019 found that marketing automation increased productivity by 14.5% and reduced overheads by 12.5%. This highlights the power of marketing automation.

Another study found that 51% of businesses in the United States are now using some form of marketing automation, while 58% are looking at additional automation in 2020. This highlights the popularity of marketing automation.

The most recent estimates suggest that expenditure on marketing automation will grow by 62% in 2020 and that already there are more than 100 marketing automation software products on the market. This highlights the growing investment in marketing automation.

But what is marketing automation? defines marketing automation as – a type of software that allows companies to effectively target customers with automated marketing messages across channels including email, websites, social media and text messages to generate sales-leads’. defines marketing automation as – ‘all about using software to automate marketing activities. Many marketing departments automate repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and even ad campaigns — not just for the sake of efficiency, but so they can provide a more personalized experience for their customers’

I define marketing automation as involving software that:

  • Streamlines repetitive marketing processes
  • Facilitates the analysis of light and dark data

Streamlining repetitive processes saves time and money – reducing overheads and increasing productivity. The analysis of light (easily accessible) and dark (mostly hidden) data enables superior decision making by converting data into information that can be used in decision making.

Marketing processes can be streamlined using software for:

  • Email marketing – right people with the right message at the right time and frequency
  • Lead nurturing – engaging prospects to develop relationships that drive sales
  • Social media management – targeting, scheduling, posting, monitoring and sharing
  • SEO and digital advertising – identifying keywords, tailoring content, website tracking  

Marketing analytics can be facilitated with software designed to enhance:

  • Understanding – identifying and understanding of target audiences and their behaviour
  • Tracking – understanding the actions of users within a website, app, platform or process
  • A/B testing – testing multiple variants of a tool or campaign to determine the best option
  • Digital marketing – SEO tools, Social media tools, SEM tools, display advertising tools and predictive scoring platforms

As noted, in 2020, there are more than 100 marketing automation software packages, and there are, no doubt more on the way. There are almost certainly packages that will help streamline your marketing and increase your return on investment in marketing. The blogs that follow in this series of four on digital automation in marketing will address:

  • Marketing process automation
  • Marketing analytics automation
  • Getting started with marketing automation

Other issues addressed as part of this discussion will be machine learning and artificial intelligence and their application in improving the customer experience, new product development, reducing customer churn, accurate forecasting and driving repeat and referral business.

Marketing automation is not only the way of the future for cost-effective marketing. It is also the way of the present. Fortunately, the software required is often not expensive, and sometimes you can even start free. Like all aspects of marketing, beginning with a strategy is highly desirable.

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