Although the concept of so-called “marketing automation” first appeared in the 1980, the first beginning was in 1992. Because automated marketing was a new and expensive technology at the time, it was confined to huge corporations with vast consumer bases.
However, as technology has advanced and interest in e-marketing has grown, the dependence on marketing automation has grown as a consequence of the creation of various automated marketing platforms available to organizations to boost the growth of their projects. In 2018, over 49% of businesses used marketing automation regularly. But what exactly is marketing automation, and how can you use it to your advantage?
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation systems are software platforms that help to automate time-consuming marketing and sales operations. It allows you to automatically identify your target audience and personalize relevant content depending on audience behavior, such as doing repetitive duties related to marketing campaign follow-ups, such as automated email marketing messages to consumers, social media marketing campaigns, and more.
You will be able to create personal relationships with a big number of clients by simplifying this process; consequently, one of the key aims of marketing automation is to send the correct material, at the right time, to the right consumers, thereby increasing their brand confidence.
To simplify the concept of marketing automation, imagine a marketing campaign as the process of caring for plants, with the seed as the target customer, marketing automation as the process of watering the seed till it grows and bears fruit, and the harvest at the end being sales.
What advantages does marketing automation offer?
Marketing automation platforms provide more than 20 typical features and services. While these benefits are certainly useful, the main advantage of marketing automation is that they may be paired up to help you create a coherent strategy for targeting potential customers. Here are some of the most popular benefits of marketing automation platforms:
1. Automate emails
All automated marketing systems offer an email message automation option that allows you to send messages to your target audience with varied material relevant to them, whether it’s newsletters or a new ad.
It may personalize emails for a specific target group based on shared features and personal preferences, as well as track who reads your emails, the rate at which material is opened, and the rate at which people unsubscribe from email services, among other things.
CRM is a method of managing all of your company’s contacts and interactions with current and future customers, to improve business relationships and assist the organization in staying in touch with customers.
To make the most of marketing automation platforms, the CRM system is coupled with a variety of marketing automation tools to make tracking customer behavior and evaluating marketing campaign efforts as easy as feasible.
3. Create a customer profile
Most businesses and organizations place a high value on generating prospects for prospective consumers and absorbing the information gathered about them. As a result, all marketers progressively develop a profile, or so-called customer personality, for potential clients.
However, since the emergence of marketing automation technologies, this service has become one of the most significant benefits of marketing automation systems that do not need much labor. The visitor to the website performs all of the work by filling out and submitting the profile form, and your job as a marketer is to gather this information and try to use it to define the direction of your marketing campaign.
4. Lead Nurturing
It’s also known as drip marketing, and it’s an attempt to keep potential clients who are interested in the company’s services but aren’t ready to buy or profit from them right now. As a result, automated marketing platforms employ this concept and apply it throughout the customer’s life cycle to help maintain his loyalty to the company, as well as to assist and market to him for some time to prepare him for the purchase process and to benefit from the services provided.
5. Social media management
Marketing automation tools allow you to manage your social media accounts from one spot, with features such as post scheduling, tracking your company and marketing activities, reacting to messages and notifications across social media sites, and more.
What are the main benefits of marketing automation?
There are several advantages to marketing automation, whether you own a small or medium-sized firm or work on a marketing team for a vast fan base. The first of these advantages is personalization, as you can develop a customized marketing strategy for each type of consumer based on their personal qualities and shared interests, increasing their engagement with the company’s services and increasing sales.
When a consumer search on your site for a certain product, for example, he is automatically presented several items related to the product through adverts, whether on social networking sites or by e-mail, thanks to marketing automation.
Another significant advantage of marketing automation solutions is that they help you save time by automating the repetitive operations associated with marketing campaigns. It also allows you to plan marketing campaigns ahead of time so you can focus on other tasks and come up with fresh marketing ideas, boosting your company’s productivity.
In addition to increasing ROI by more precisely targeting consumers, it also helps to rationalize marketing expenditure in a better and more effective manner to serve the target client and no one else.
As a result, we can conclude that the benefits of marketing automation are not limited to easing the performance of repetitive tasks or assisting the marketing team; rather, their importance lies in the improvement, whether it is improving the customer experience or improving marketing efficiency, especially as the number of marketing channels and the complexity of marketing campaigns grow.
What are the downsides of marketing automation?
1. Messaging Too Much
Over-messaging is one of the most well-known drawbacks of marketing automation. It means sending too many messages, causing the marketing plan to fail, as well as the risk of the customer blocking your emails, resulting in the customer’s loss; thus, you must learn to determine the best time to send messages to customers based on their personality attributes and lifestyle.
2. The high cost of marketing automation tools
One of the primary reasons to avoid marketing automation is the high cost of money, as it might be tough for small businesses with limited resources to purchase marketing automation. As a result, if you own a small business, you must decide whether to employ marketing automation technologies or not, based on whether the benefits to the firm justify the high expenditures.
3. Depersonalizing your brand
Some businesses fail to take advantage of automated marketing’s personalization feature, sending the same message to all customers without distinguishing between their interests or personal preferences; this increases the randomness of the marketing plan and decreases the customer’s association with the brand.
Top Marketing Automation Tools You Can Use
Before you start listing marketing automation solutions, you need first to understand the nature of your organization and the type of business you have to determine which marketing automation tool is best for you. There are two types of businesses.
The first is business directed to other B2B businesses, in which the company’s services are directed to other businesses rather than the general public, such as medical device companies that sell to hospitals and companies that sell tools and software to other businesses.
The other type is business to consumer (B2C), in which the company’s services are directed at customers, and this is the most common type of commercial activity at the moment. For example, shopping center services, telephones and Internet services, and other essential daily services.
Different marketing automation technologies are designed to target either one type of organization or both, with other advantages already mentioned. The following are some of the most popular marketing automation tools:
Marketo, one of the most well-known marketing automation platforms, has been around for a long time before being acquired by Adobe and merged with its other services.
Marketo has several tools that aid in the management of email campaigns, as well as some benefits for sales. If you want to start with the basics of marketing automation and then go to more advanced capabilities in the future, this solution is for you.
In terms of pricing, the tool isn’t the most expensive, but it’s also not the cheapest, as it comes in four different price plans, each with its own set of benefits. The cost of the price plans varies depending on the size of the database you want, therefore you need to inquire with the sales department for details.
Oracle Eloqua is a tool owned by the corporation (Oracle), and it is utilized at the level of large enterprises with a budget that allows them to use it. It provides various benefits, including email services, customer relationship management, lead management, and other services.
The tool offers a high level of support as well as educational content to assist you in getting the most out of it. It offers three plans with monthly fees ranging from 2000 USD to 4000 USD, as well as the third plan with a price decided in consultation with the company’s sales department.
Aside from marketing automation, Hubspot provides a variety of other services like customer care, customer relationship management, and others. However, none of these services are as comprehensive as the two previously stated programs. They are an excellent tool for small business owners and those interested in content marketing, as they provide email marketing, customer relationship management, and other advantages.
Hubspot has a variety of pricing plans for the services it provides, with prices varying depending on the services supplied and the benefits desired. For example, marketing services range from 45 $ per month to 3200 $ per month.
ActiveCampaign is suggested for small businesses because it has numerous capabilities such as email marketing, CRM, and marketing automation. It is the most comprehensive tool, but learning it takes a significant amount of time and effort. As a result, it is not a good tool for novices. The tool has four pricing options, ranging from 9 $ to 229 $ each month.
Keap, or Infusionsoft as it was previously known, is an excellent tool for organizing and increasing sales, particularly for small businesses and bloggers. Many functions are available, including contact management, email marketing, payment follow-up, and more. Pricing plans for tools start at 79 $ per month and go up to 199 $ per month.
Finally, it may become clear that marketing automation solutions are unique in their ability to assist you in increasing your marketing efforts by acquiring a new audience through successful marketing methods. However, the tools will be ineffective unless they are used properly. To get the most out of the automated marketing tools, you can employ the e-marketing services offered by pros on the Fiverr site.