A subset of customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation allows our advertisers to cut some of the repetitive legwork out of multichannel marketing processes.

Marketers can use programmes from companies such as Pardot or GetResponse to schedule and track their campaigns across channels such as email and social media.

Marketing automation programs don’t require an install like most forms of software, tending to be hosted by the provider or available on the web, and have common application in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales cycles.

The process

Marketing automation allows for triggered messaging as a result of designated actions being taken by a user. This results in increased efficiency and minimal human error, with the key objective resting on moving leads to become ‘sales-ready’.

Along the way, some tools allow for prospects to be ‘scored’ with a points system, based on their activities. This profile of intent is then used as a basis for targeted messaging.

For an example of marketing automation in action, we can look to e-commerce, where a retailer can target a shopper with a personalised email offering a discount based on them abandoning their shopping cart.

Applications and possibilities go well beyond this, and (perhaps ironically) tend to be limited chiefly by the amount of human resource available to administer and manage them.

Who gets what?

By now you’ll realise that it’s the relationship between data and triggers that power automated campaigns. Where things tend to go wrong is in the campaign-building process, where the wrong messages get sent to the wrong people.

Multiple link analysis can help define someone’s interest in one product over another (if users have clicked one link a number of times while ignoring another, for example), allowing for a more accurate response and the development of a lead nurturing programme.

Combining that data can also reveal rich insights about which elements of your sales and marketing process are working effectively for your specific audience, and which aren’t.

Why use it?

Aside from ultimately pushing sales, the volumes of data gleaned from users on your site and interacting with your marketing allow for better budgeting, planning, workflow, and more – everything that supports and improves the operational efficiency of the internal marketing function.

While we’ve mentioned that setting up triggers and everything else takes time and resource, in the long run, it is clear that automation allows a business to stay in touch with its customers in a way they perhaps never thought possible.

Read more from our Basics series.