You have heard it getting mentioned multiple times in conferences and seminars. It’s on the lips of every business expert. It’s advocated by every marketer.
But at the end of the day – you still do not know exactly what is marketing automation.
Do not worry! You are not the only one.
A recent survey has pointed out that 7 out of 10 businesses still do not have a clear idea of what marketing automation stands for. But how is that possible? Because if you look at the stats, a large percentage of businesses have implemented marketing automation. So does that mean – have they done it hastily?
The answer is Yes. And this is precisely where the problem has cropped up.
Most businesses have blindly followed what they have been told, rather than delving deeply into the actual meaning of, and truly understanding how marketing automation is used. That is the reason why these businesses’ marketing automation investments have failed. They have not been successful in generating optimum benefit out of marketing automation. Loose understanding of marketing automation have not given businesses true insight into what will really help. So they have got mislead and not improved.
To ensure that you do not get trapped in the misconceptions propagated about marketing automation – here is a detailed guide on what is marketing automation, what are its features and functionalities, which businesses use marketing automation, benefits of marketing automation and selecting the right marketing automation app.
Introduction to Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is a tool that automatizes a major chunk of marketing activities. It takes care of the entire marketing process that includes – lead generation, lead nurturing and lead scoring, cross-sell and up-sell, and marketing ROI measurement. It helps to prioritize the key marketing tasks and execute them in a more organized and efficient manner. It frees up your time by taking care of most of the behind-the-scenes work. It positively affects the closure stage of the sales process that helps you reach your goals faster and generate more revenue for your business.
Common features and functionalities
Before you get your feet wet with marketing automation, get a rundown on the list of features that any marketing automation tool ideally offers:
- Lead Management
- Lead Scoring
- Automated Lead Assignment
- Lead Nurturing
- Email Marketing
- Campaign Management
- Forms and landing Pages
- Real-time Alerts
- Social Marketing
- Closed-loop Reporting
- CRM Integration.
Both large and small businesses use Marketing Automation
Large enterprises have been old users of marketing automation technology. However, thinking that marketing automation is just for the enterprises is wrong! The present set of marketing automation solutions are designed and developed to fit the needs of both large enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses. Considering this, thousands of small businesses have invested in the new-age marketing automation technologies.
SMBs belonging to software, manufacturing, automobile and financial services were the first ones to invest in marketing automation. However, gradually, small businesses related to health care, travel and retail have adopted the software too. This has increased the marketing automation market from $3 billion in 2010 to $5 billion in 2015. And what’s more exciting to note is that small and medium businesses now make up the largest segment in the marketing automation user base.
Benefits of Marketing Automation is high
Marketing automation increases the value and ROI of all your marketing efforts. However, to experience this, you need to put effort. You cannot buy marketing automation technology, then sit back and watch the magic happen. It is essential to plan out smart marketing strategies.
Also, do not misuse marketing automation tool as a spam machine. It is often seen that businesses misconstrue marketing automation as a selling tool and end up sending general, broad messages to the entire contact list. Obviously, these mails either get deleted or marked as spam and all the marketing efforts go down the drain.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you – remember marketing automation is all about nurturing. Avoid the hard-sell approach and base your marketing strategy on personalized and relevant contents that fall in the line of what your customers/prospects expect. Once you have these contents ready, use the marketing automation tool to handle the whole campaign process.
The stellar combination of marketing automation tool, smart marketing strategies and highly-targeted content is bound to give you an increase in marketing productivity by 7% and sales productivity by at least 5-10%.
Selecting Marketing Automation App
Now that you have got the basics of marketing automation nailed down, let’s take you to the Top 25 Marketing Automation apps. GetApp, the largest cloud-based business apps marketplace, has released its updated Q3 GetRank of the top 25 marketing automation solutions. Take a look at these best available options for marketing automation:
Note: The ranking of these marketing automation apps are based on five parameters – user reviews, integrations, mobile availability, media presence, and security.
Hi Manash, thank you for this article and your discssion of Marketing Automation as a spam. It is so easy to misuse this tool and I think it is crucial to understand its functionalities. I was thinking how to avoid spamming with emails and of course it is through personalization but also timing. If you receive annoying emails at a wrong time you are more likely to classify it as a spam. Perhaps an answer to it would be trying to put through real time marketing, I read some ideas for possible campaigns here: http://bit.ly/1PnhJgH . What do you think?
Hi Bart, Thanks for reading the article. Appreciate your comment and agree to what you have said. I believe when, where and how the message is send plays a crucial role. We have historically seen that email marketing campaigns executed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday generate better result than the ones executed on Saturday and Sunday. So you are absolutely right that along with personalized content, timing is equally important.