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The general idea behind marketing automation is quite straightforward. It’s a set of techniques and marketing tools that help your marketing team deal with a specific assignment without devoting too much time to it. Marketing automation is usually available in the form of software or SaaS application.
The whole idea is to fuel your marketing efforts with useful tools so that your marketing and sales teams can focus on more strategic parts of their job. Today, marketing automation is (or should be) a vital part of every marketing strategy. According to the latest data, on average, as much as 51% of companies already use marketing automation. And that's a good thing because the benefits of this strategy are apparent. As the same source indicates:
These results speak for themselves, don’t they?
The marketing automation landscape is growing constantly and rapidly. Today, you can easily automate:
And many more aspects of your sales and marketing strategy. However, when you take a look at the marketing automation software landscape, you can feel overwhelmed. And that’s hardly surprising, after all, there are thousands of these companies and applications:
Later on in this text, we are going to show you factors that you should pay attention to in order to find proper marketing automation software for your company. Before that, though, let’s talk a bit more about other forms of automation in modern online businesses.
When you take a look at data provided by McKinsey&Company, you will find out that over 30% of sales-related activities can be automated. This means that automation can literally help you sell more products and get more customers:
Today, marketing automation is not just a fancy term that justifies getting yet another tool in your company. It’s a significant shift in the way your company sells and communicates with the market.
80% of marketers saw an increase in the number of leads after using marketing automation software.
And what about customer engagement? Marketing automation can be used to build brand loyalty (lead nurturing) and provide users with personalised content. As a result, they will be more willing to stay with your brand.
All of that raises a valid question: How can you select adequate marketing automation software for your company? First off, you need to discover and understand all the features of useful marketing automation tools. If you’re after marketing software that will be a vital support in your company, you have to make sure it ticks all the right boxes. Let’s talk about that a bit more.
Granted, there are thousands of different tools and apps out there. Each one of them has a specific list of features and capabilities. However, when it comes to the general functionality of these programs, there are several (three, to be exact) aspects you ought to think about before making a decision.
These aspects are as follows:
Executing a task is one thing. Making sure it was correct and effective is a whole other story. Every proper marketing automation tool should come with an analytics feature that will help you assess the efficiency of your campaigns and online activities. This way, you can make sure your sales and marketing are going in the right direction.
Not every marketing automation user has to be tech-savvy, correct? If that’s the case in your situation, try to find software that comes with full tech support. If anything goes wrong, or you’ll need help with implementing something new, you won’t be on your own. Thankfully, today, the vast majority of marketing automation tools come with flexible tech support, so that shouldn’t be a big problem.
This element is of paramount importance, especially in the e-commerce sector. As your company grows, your sales and marketing needs will grow with it. Make sure your marketing automation software will be able to keep up with the pace in which your organisation grows. There is nothing more frustrating than a marketing automation platform that can't offer the feature or option you need. Moreover, make sure you're safe in terms of possible service limits. For instance, email marketing automation tools set limits to the number of addresses you can have in your database.
Automation software offers several vital benefits and advantages that enable your company to work more effectively. Let's take a look at some of the major benefits of marketing automation platforms:
Time savings: With marketing automation software, your marketing teams can save a lot of time. Automation means that they can focus strictly on the most important, strategic assignments. All the mundane, repetitive tasks are now done automatically. According to a previously cited source, automated social media posts and ads can save you more than 6 hours per week!
Well-spent money: Although some of the marketing automation software has free basic plans, you have to be prepared to pay for it. This doesn’t mean, though, that your company can’t save money on these tools. With marketing automation, you work in a much more effective manner, meaning you can achieve more in the same period of time. You can reach more prospects, send more emails, post more content, send more offers, etc. As a result, the money you pay to your marketing and sales teams are well spent!
Improved analytics: Still, many companies don’t pay a lot of attention when it comes to marketing analytics. With proper marketing automation platforms, you can get a thorough insight into your sales and marketing campaigns. As a result, you understand customers better and can offer them more tailored products and services. That’s especially important in B2B marketing, but B2C companies can also benefit from that.
Smarter business decisions: With improved analytics, your company can make more informed decisions that are based not just on the manager’s hunch but solid data. As a result, your company can grow faster and implement new marketing techniques to reach more and more customers.
We could shortly say that marketing automation software helps you:
That’s surely worth every effort, correct? At this point, we have to answer one more vital question. According to Findstack, over 60% of companies said that the implementation process of marketing automation was difficult. This means that, although this technology has been around for some time now, finding effective marketing automation platform can be tricky and time-consuming.
That's why we're going to help you facilitate this process. In a few moments, you will find out how to select the marketing automation platform that will suit your needs and expectations. Later on, we will show you some examples of battle-tested automation platforms.
There are a few elements that you should pay attention to. For starters, make sure you know what to automate. Many companies are thrilled by the idea of making work easier, but they don't know where to start. Well, you start with a thorough analysis. Analyse all of your marketing efforts and campaigns. Which of them take the most time? Which are mundane and repetitive? It's best to make a list of all marketing activities and highlight the repetitive and time-consuming ones.
Secondly, select the most pressing activity. You won't be able to automate everything at once. Start with the activity that will save you the most of the time. Suppose it's sending email campaigns. Granted, if you've never used email marketing automation, this part of your work can be very tiring. Discover what the tools for email marketing automation are. Use Google for that. You will find tools like MailChimp and MailJet. Read their descriptions and websites. Find out what they offer and for how much money. Repeat this simple process for all the marketing areas that you want to automate.
Let’s get back to our email marketing example. Suppose you’ve selected MailChimp. One of the best things about this email marketing platform is that they have a free basic plan. If your email base doesn’t exceed 2,000 contacts, you won’t have to pay for this tool for quite long! Open a free account and see how everything work. Get acquainted with the user guide/manual and take a dry run with your employees addresses to see how (and if) everything works.
And that’s pretty much it. If you go through this process every single time you need a marketing automation tool, you will limit the time necessary to select the right platform and start working with it almost instantly.
Now, earlier in this article, we promised to show you five of the most efficient marketing automation platforms for your company. Let’s get right to it!
In a broad sense, Microsoft Dynamics is a set of ERP and CRM software applications. With this CRM platform, you can:
And because it’s a part of the MS ecosystem, you can support Dynamics with other components such as Azure and Sharepoint.
Image source: https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/
Marketo is a perfect tool for all B2B marketers and sales teams. With this platform, you can manage your leads through all stages of the customer journey. Marketo works brilliantly with both demand and account-based marketing strategies. Core Marketo’s capabilities comprise:
With Adobe’s tool, you can easily attract and convert more prospects, grow customer engagement and scale up marketing campaigns.
Generally speaking, Optimizely is an advanced CMS platform that enables both B2B and B2C companies to manage and execute their content marketing strategy. Here, we have to mention two main clouds within Optimizely:
HubSpot is currently one of the most complete and comprehensive CRM platforms on the market. This marketing automation tool allows you to effectively manage all your sales and marketing activities and their profitability. Of course, each company is different and has different needs. Therefore, it is important that your CRM solution is flexible. This is where Hubspot thrives. You can customise it according to your needs, not the other way around. Thanks to this flexible approach, the platform will evolve along with the development of your company and its daily challenges.
Moreover, Hubspot is full of integrations and additional features that will facilitate your everyday work, e.g., email marketing templates that help you create and save ready-to-use email marketing templates with customisable sections. You can also add smart fields, such as the customer's name or the name of the company.
The last marketing automation tool on our list will surely be appreciated by B2B companies. Pardot facilitates the collection and development of leads. The basic functions of this tool focus on areas such as:
Pardot also allows you to track all interactions of potential customers on your website – from downloads of shared documents to views of specific sections and subpages. This allows you to understand your potential customers and their needs better. With this knowledge, you will be able to create more effective personalised marketing campaigns. What's also important, Pardot can be integrated with CRM software like Salesforce. As a result, you don't have to use tens of different tools.
Selecting the optimal marketing automation tool can be challenging, but it’s definitely worth every effort. Thanks to marketing automation, your company will achieve more and reach new customers effectively. And because modern marketing automation tools work in almost every area of sales and marketing, you can automate almost anything, from email marketing to social media management.
If you need help with integrating your marketing automation tools with a digital platform or a website, feel free to drop us a line! At NoA, we help our clients thrive online, i.a., through marketing and sales automation. Book a free consultation to find out more!
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