There are more definitions of marketing automation depending on the specific context, but for this post we'll focus on one: marketing automation is a technology used by some software platforms to help you automate marketing tasks, make them more streamlined, measure and optimize them. This will reduce the time you spend on repetitive tasks which can be automated, so you can spend more time on planning your marketing strategy.
There are many different tools for implementing marketing automation. Here at Coria, we use the Sitecore Xperience Platform. With Sitecore’s Marketing Automation app (link) you can easily create automation campaigns; you can specify when your contacts should automatically be enrolled in the campaign, the rules they should be evaluated against, and the marketing actions that must happen to the contacts depending on their individual actions. Regardless of the platform you choose, the concept is very similar.
The first goal of marketing automation is to move potential leads or customers through the sales funnel using automated tasks, which in the end reduces costs and increases the company's profit. In large companies that deal with a huge number of leads it would be practically impossible to follow and nurture all leads manually.
How does it work in practice? From the first entry point (your website) the visitor's actions are tracked and their historical, demographic and interactional data is collected. The more you know about your visitors, the more likely you are to show them relevant content. By using personalization, we are leading a visitor through the funnel while he triggers specific touch points on the way. By collecting data based on his interactions with the site, certain automated actions are triggered at those points:
- The visitor is being shown a specific page/content
- Automated emails can be sent
- On-page notifications are shown, providing additional info or calls to action
If you're using the right tools and your marketing automation is set up right, there's a better chance a visitor will go through the next phase down the funnel, leading to a conversion in the end. You could sum up the whole process as, "turning a website visitor into a customer."
The final step in marketing automation is to monitor and analyze data that the platform has collected through the visitor’s journey, which leads to optimization of your procedures in place.
As you can see, marketing automation is not just a buzzword. Not only is it a big step forward compared to the old marketing methods for targeting your site's visitors, it's also very likely to become a necessary requirement for staying competitive.