What Is Marketing Automation? What You Need to Know…

Marketing automation is a buzzword that seems to be applied to everything nowadays. If a software platform can trigger a message to a recipient via its API, it’s promoted as a marketing automation solution. In my opinion, this isn’t very ethical. While this may be an automated activity corresponding to their marketing strategy, it’s hardly a marketing automation solution. I believe the majority of marketing automation solutions available – even the largest – have severe limitations that limit the marketer’s ability to realize the full benefits of authentic marketing automation.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a strategy and technology that businesses use to streamline and automate their marketing efforts. It involves using software and tools to perform repetitive marketing tasks more efficiently. Here’s an overview of marketing automation:

It’s an essential tool in modern sales and marketing, helping businesses to be more effective and efficient in reaching their target audience.

I think it’s time that someone in the industry stood up and did a better job of defining the core features and flexibility necessary to identify your platform as a Marketing Automation platform. We’ve written a lot of content on Marketing Automation. Not just how to leverage marketing automation but changes in the industry. Unfortunately, companies investing in a marketing automation solution are still seeing challenges.

Boston Interactive developed this infographic to overview the key strategies leveraging marketing automation.

What are the Benefits of Marketing Automation?

According to the InTouch CRM:

Why Marketing Automation Implementations Fail

I’m often surprised to see companies that are struggling with the basics of an inbound strategy to suddenly jump on the marketing automation bandwagon. They may not have an email program up and running…or they don’t have a customer relationship management (CRM) integration, or a mobile optimized site, or a site that’s optimized for search, social, and conversions…but now they’re looking to implement a marketing automation solution. On what?!

What Makes a Marketing Automation Solution?

There are a number of features that a marketing automation platform should have be fully leveraged and expandable as you become more sophisticated and the demand grows. Let’s discuss them here:

There is some research out there on how marketers are selecting a marketing automation solution, but it would be great if one of the research giants like Forrester or Gartner spoke more to the churn, sophistication costs, implementation costs, and resources necessary to implement and produce the incredible savings marketing automation has to offer. I believe most companies are not only unprepared for the effort required, they also don’t realize they’re not sophisticated enough to get these programs off the ground. Aggressive sales strategies are driving marketing automation closes – but lack of resources and features are limiting their ability to be fully leveraged.

There’s no doubt that companies paying a lot for their email marketing service providers should look to marketing automation systems to increase their effectiveness. They may even save a little bit of money executing identical campaigns while gathering priceless data for future campaigns. But it’s absolutely essential that businesses recognize what a marketing automation platform should do for them as well as the resources necessary to fully leverage them to increase their marketing return on investment.

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