Marketing automation is a trendy phrase, but what does it really mean, and how can it can help your business?
Defining Marketing Automation
The term marketing automation has many definitions, but I like how Techopedia defines it:
“Marketing automation is the use of software and web-based services to execute, manage and automate marketing tasks and processes. It replaces manual and repetitive marketing processes with purpose-built software and applications geared toward performance.”
Replacing the “manual and repetitive” with “software and applications” that increase efficiencies is the bread and butter of marketing automation.
Applying Marketing Automation
Automating your marketing efforts can take many different forms across the sales funnel. The most obvious channel for automation is email marketing, which allows you to send automated emails, automatically triggered based on your customers’ website usage patterns or purchasing behaviors.
If you haven’t yet implemented an email marketing tool, there are a wide variety out there, depending on your budget and needs. Often, email marketing software comes as an extension of the CRM you’re using, so be sure to contact your CRM’s sales rep for information about marketing automation capabilities already available to you.
Simplifying Marketing Automation
Automating your marketing efforts doesn’t always have to involve customer emails. Look around your business. What are you doing manually that you could speed up with automation?
Here are a couple of non-email-related automation processes my Marketing Team has implemented and streamlined:
- Building marketing dashboards within our marketing analytics tool – and then setting up automatic, routine sends of those dashboards directly to their email inboxes. This saves time by not having to log into the analytics tool and then view page after page of analytics.
- Creating a “Sales Toolkit” for our Sales Team. Instead of being reactive about requests from the Sales Team, we now are proactive with a toolkit full of the latest case studies, company slide decks, sales guides and more! We put this toolkit on our shared server and add collateral to it regularly. The Sales Team can download this toolkit at any time. This has increased cross-departmental efficiencies and has strengthened Marketing’s relationship with Sales.
When you find yourself encumbered with tedious, monotonous and manual tasks, think outside the box and ask yourself, “How can I automate this process?”
You might be surprised to find that the simplest automations in marketing processes can lead to huge time savings down the road!