Marketing automation software is the future of the marketing industry. This technology is very convenient thanks to its customizability – it can be adjusted to meet the needs and requirements of the specific business model. Here at MI DIGITAL, we are successfully using automation to help our clients boost their marketing efforts and deliver successful marketing strategies faster.
In this article, we are focusing on answering the top 15 marketing automation questions on Quora. These questions range from what marketing automation is to how it benefits businesses. We sincerely hope that these Q&As will provide you with valuable information.
Here are the top 15 marketing automation questions on quora and our answers to them:
When experts mention marketing automation, they usually refer to a software or tool with features that enable automation of marketing efforts and actions. Since much of the tasks related to marketing actions are repetitive, this type of solution is designed to automate repetitive tasks and make the life of marketers easier.
Let’s make one thing clear right at the start. Marketing automation software is not creative: automated systems aren’t like an intelligent system. Marketing automation software can’t learn from past mistakes or add any form of creative input to the marketing process as that requires human intelligence and insight. But, on the other hand, it will help you to streamline and automate your actions, thus saving you time and energy.
To help generate more revenue, your marketing efforts should increase leads and turn them into customers. Here at MI DIGITAL, we’re familiar with the process, benefits, and abilities of these systems. Based on our experience, here are the things you can expect:
Marketing automation tools are becoming incredibly popular in the business world. Surveys reveal that CMOs are likely to spend more on IT than CTOs in 2017 and the following years.
Furthermore, tailor-built marketing automation solutions are not just mere stand-alone software solutions. They can be integrated with various platforms, so that companies can reap even more benefits from analytical insights and fruitful marketing efforts made across desired marketing channels.
Since marketing automation software was developed to handle repetitive tasks that can be programmed into easy-to-use tools that follow a set pattern, it can be used across the entire spectrum of marketing activities. When it comes to the size of a business organization, both small and medium-sized business can refer to this solution, as they become more mature in their digital output.
Any company that has extensive marketing campaigns that include dozens of processes should look at the marketing automation tool as a critical component of their day-to-day marketing efforts. On the other hand, these companies should worry about the scalability of the solutions they intend to implement. Tailored-made marketing automation software is incredibly scalable and can increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and targating.
Marketing Automation solution can be considered a must-have tool for companies that want to grow, but at the same time don’t want to hire in-house marketing nor IT experts.
Since we live in the internet era, there is hardly a business out there that doesn’t rely on at least one form of digital marketing. Marketing automation can help companies aiming to leverage the benefits of inbound marketing to do this in a more effective and less time-consuming manner.
Simply put, any company that needs the following, needs marketing automation software as well:
In the end, let me try to sum up the answer to the question “Who needs marketing automation software?” the best I can. This software is needed by B2B, B2C companies, and ecommerce businesses that want to organize and run successful marketing campaigns on a large scale. Custom built software can automate the entire process, thus saving resources, assets and precious time for companies trying to position themselves in front of the competition.
As time passes, the role marketing departments play for companies is becoming increasingly important. Since Marketing Automation automates a lot of marketing actions while providing actionable insights and valuable data, there are no reasons to back up the statement that it is not beneficial for small businesses.
Up to this date, MI DIGITAL has worked on dozens of small business marketing campaigns while bulding tailor-made marketing automation software and tools. Here are just some of the benefits our partners have experienced.
Limited staff is not a factor
With marketing automation, small businesses can plan and execute very complex marketing campaigns without the need to hire an entire marketing department. Since manual and repetitive actions are automated, a small business can manage time efficiently. Simply put, marketing automation enables a small business to use tools that were only accessible by big corporations in the past.
Stronger positioning on the market
Despite the fact that they are small, businesses often have to put in extra effort when it comes to marketing. Especially at the start, when entering new markets. In order to become more competitive and to ensure market stability, small businesses can rely on tailor-made marketing automation software. These tools can optimize and speed-up their marketing efforts and also help them better position themselves on the market.
One of the best uses of marketing automation is measuring the success of marketing efforts. With this software, you will not only be able to see how specific marketing effort is performing, but also to understand how it performed at different points in time.
Complete automation of marketing processes is not the only thing that is important here. Beside automation, the emphasis is also on tailor-made solutions. To make the best use of marketing automation tools, the people in charge of marketing have to be familiar with the core business problems and market challenges. This knowledge is essential when it comes to building tailor-made software and digital marketing automation tools that can be used to solve specific business problems. For this reason, our experts at MI DIGITAL always work closely with our clients, to meet their business requirements, and work towards continuous improvement.
Some examples of marketing automation solutions we have provided here at midigital.eu:
AdWords’ IP exclusion feature allows you to block access to audiences who will not find your advertisement useful at all and may even deem your messaging as spam or offensive. For example, if you are partnering with a specific telecom providers and plan to offer services to its customers, you can configure IP restrictions to prevent your ads from appearing to users who are enrolled to a different telecoms provider. Most advertisers also exclude their own network’s IP addresses to prevent the accrual of expenses due to misplaced ad impressions and inadvertent clicks.
AdWords scripts for Google Shopping campaigns are a key to automating and optimizing your marketing efforts. They add to the functionality of the platform and can be scheduled to run automatically and keep you informed on underperforming areas. Scripts integrate with Gmail, Google spreadsheets and even Slack so you can receive timely alerts.
You can set up scripts to modify bids on an hourly basis for optimum conversions and improved ROI. Scripts can send you alerts on underperforming ads, they can pause or even delete ads that pass a certain CPC threshold or do not covert due to seasonal changes or new trends. You can perform bid testing and bid positioning to optimize your cost.
AdWords Scripts can send you reports on performance so you can address issues and make changes as needed. They help you define key metrics and models that serve you in your automation of Google Shopping campaigns. Your goal is to be able to modify shopping campaigns to get optimum results on an ongoing basis.
To engage your website visitors and prospects, you should deliver automated, more relevant custom-tailored experience. Not only marketing automation tool stores user’s behavior, it uses this information to send them custom offers in real time based on their behavior on website. For instance, you can have dynamically created website landing pages for first-time visitors and add-to-cart visitors.
Also, to increase revenue and boost sales, you need to tell apart the “true” leads from the “false” ones. The true leads, in this case, being the ones that are more likely to make the purchase. Marketing automation software will enable you to grade visitors by probability for purchase, so that you can easily pinpoint leads that your marketing could lead to the final stage of the purchase.
A marketing automation tool can turn your business into a successful one, that’s inevitable, but it is important to note that this doesn’t happen overnight.
It is not by chance that companies are outsourcing marketing automation to experienced partner companies. Here is what we, at MI DIGITAL do in order to make it succeed for our clients’ businesses.
For starters, I have to point out that any marketing automation tool is useless if it doesn’t help a business reach its goals. This is why, before we proceed with innovating, building, and implementing custom-tailored solutions, we have to learn as much as possible about our client’s business, so that we can identify its current market position and unique requirements.
Once we have the required information, the marketing automation tool can be built: from setting up to collect and analyze the valuable data, to utilizing the marketing automation tool to speed up repetitive and manual tasks and make them even easier.
Processing this big data without a custom-tailored automated marketing system isn’t feasible, simply because this tool is capable of assessing the information, identifying patterns, making notes on unusual data and providing valuable and insightful reports for the marketing team.
Marketing teams and the people in charge of marketing can then use the personalization and testing process to refine their approach and improve the strategy. This will result in an improved customer experience not only when it comes to services and products, but with the brand itself.
And, this is exactly what marketing automation is all about - efficiency, reliability, accelerated marketing activities, lower expenses, consistency, and flexibility.
If you want to reap all the benefits marketing automation software has to offer, it has to be carefully implemented and executed. Careful implementation enables businesses to integrate this system gradually and make it easy for their employees to get accustomed to it.
B2B marketers handle highly complicated tasks in their day-to-day operations. They should focus on industry needs and, at the same time, do dozens of tasks which are repetitive and time-consuming. This can easily cause B2B marketers to lose focus of the tasks with high priority. Marketing automation software is attractive for these marketers for the following reasons.
It’s easy to use
Marketing automation is a new and highly sophisticated technology, but at the same time, it is surprisingly easy to use. Since B2B marketers have incredibly little spare time on their hands, this powerful software became a very attractive option, due to its fast onboarding process and the features it offers. Even marketers with a not so extensive technical background can start using it in no time.
It creates dozens of possibilities for B2B marketers
Using marketing automation for quite some time now has allowed us at MI DIGITAL to see its full potential. It can be used to enable and support the following strategies:
It can be integrated with other platforms.
Marketing automation software can be integrated with other software platforms used by businesses. For instance, integration with a CRM platform can provide B2B marketers with valuable data that can be used for planning more effective marketing campaigns.
It provides a competitive advantage.
In the corporate world, it is important to stay productive and efficient. B2B marketers who use marketing automation software outperform their colleagues who rely on legacy methods.
Over time marketing automation software has become the favorite tool in every successful marketers’ toolbox. Since the features and capabilities of this software depend heavily on web technologies and advancements made in other technological fields, we can safely assume that there is a bright future for marketing automation software and their applicability. According to the current trends and the projects we have worked on in MI DIGITAL, here is what awaits us in the future.
Tailor-built marketing automation software and simple automation tools
Modern businesses need effective and technologically advanced marketing departments to survive in today’s highly competitive business world. Yet we don’t have a centralized technological solution that can run all aspects of marketing, especially knowing that companies are simply too different to make the vision of marketing departments a technical reality.
There is no one-size engineering solution for marketing, only marketing leaders will understand the core business problems and market challenges needed to hit a revenue goal. That is why in this article, we will be focusing on custom marketing automation tools, which our company is specialized in.
Marketing automation tools will become even more effective
Since every marketing automation software comes with a range of different features, it is not that easy for marketers to learn how to leverage all the benefits this software has to offer. Since every new technology has its own cycle and pace of adoption, the marketing automation technology still has a long way to go before it can be fully adopted.
The success rate of this adoption depends on the proficiency of marketers using it and the usability of the software. The analytic features of automation software will become easier to use for marketers who don’t have a background in statistics, marketing research, and analysis.
More personalized marketing campaigns
We can already see a lot of things being done to enable marketing automation software to become a tool to support the design and launch of highly personalized offers and campaigns. We live in a customer-centric era, and these tools are evolving in this direction.
In the future, any company with a strategy to personalize calls to action and boost engagement on a greater scale will have to rely on marketing automation to reduce costs and be as effective as possible.
Even more mobile-friendly
The developers of marketing automation software, as well as the companies using it, have become aware of the need to adapt to the mobile era. Therefore, we can see more and more marketing automation tools becoming mobile-friendly, thus enabling companies to use the tools despite their location and preferred mobile device.
It is not by chance that a lot of people think that marketing automation and CRM software are the same things, just labeled differently. It is possible that this misconception comes from the features of both types of software resembling one another. While this is true at some points, these two software solutions have been built for completely different purposes.
What is the purpose of marketing?
Marketing professionals, especially ones just starting their career in digital marketing, they still have challenges in understanding what is the core purpose of digital marketing and marketing departments. In short, the purpose is to convert user to a customer AND bring back customers again after the initial sales process finishes. There are numerous strategies to achieve that, but only a few successful. That is why exploring several Google AdWords accounts that have a long-term retargeting strategy done properly, you can often see that retargeting campaigns are usually ones brining biggest ROI to businesses.
So, what would be the differences between marketing automation and CRM software?
Let’s start with the most obvious difference. While CRM software was built with a focus on sales and support, the marketing automation one was built with a focus on all stages from awareness to loyalty of different target groups, and beyond. The line may seem thin at the start, but when we dive into the features and how they function, it becomes much clearer and thicker.
CRM software allows companies to also maintain lines of communications open, but only with current and prospective customers. The database used by this software contains valuable information on customers, such as previous interactions with the company, contact information (email, phone, address) and customer’s personal data. And this type of data is also found in the database of marketing automation software, but it is used for completely different purposes:
On the other hand, marketing automation software enables companies not only to automate and streamline marketing efforts, but also to measure their success. And this is exactly how tailored-made solutions are sometimes best options for companies: we don’t have a centralized technological solution that can run all aspects of marketing for everyone, only marketing leaders will understand the core business problems and market challenges needed to hit a revenue goal.
Besides, the data it shares with CRM software, the marketing automation tool also contains captures and records information about when the prospect visited your website, filled out a form, read the article on your blog or opened an email.
Both solutions are customer-centric, but it is important to note that CRM software is used to custom-tailor and personalize the sales process only after the marketing automation brings the lead from the bottom of the funnel to the very top of it, by making it a qualified lead.
Since both of these software solutions are incredibly valuable to companies, developers have made it possible for them to be integrated, so that the data can be synced between them.
The answer to this question is a simple “No”. Marketing automation has not replaced marketers yet and it won’t do so, at least not in the foreseeable future. Allow me to explain why not. While marketing automation is a software tool packing serious and helpful analytics and reporting features, as well as automating repetitive or complex tasks, it is not an intelligent system. Marketing automation is not an artificial intelligence and therefore cannot replace the human creativity nor has the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of complex marketing ecosystem.
What does this mean? Although there are some highly advanced features that can deliver this, still we don't have a centalized marketing automation solution that can cover all areas of marketing and fully learn from past experiences and events that took place during the past marketing campaigns with future in mind, especially not the microevents which are still an unknow area to most marketers. These systems also cannot create content nor write compelling and highly personalized messages to prospects.
The companies still need smart humans who can do all the things mentioned above. While marketing automation can help by streamlining and automating processes, marketers are the ones who have to focus on wider perspective and let the software do its thing.
Marketing automation can help companies reduce the human errors to a minimum, because it helps with the repetitive tasks which are very boring and time-consuming, and don’t require any creative thinking or strategy. On the other hand, the data and reports provided by this software is just information sitting on a piece of paper until some experienced and knowledgeable marketer takes a look at it.
If you are a marketer yourself, you shouldn’t worry too much. Marketing automation will not replace you in this industry. It will help you save time and provide you with opportunities to put your analytical mind to use. The only negative impact of marketing automation is that it will create the need for more marketers and marketing companies that are proficient in using it.
This is why you should give your best to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies implemented in the marketing industry.
Marketing automation software solutions and current best practices are not carved in stone. This is why it is important to stay tuned to the latest developments in the field.
MI DIGITAL’s blog is a perfect place to learn a lot about marketing automation and marketing in general. Besides the latest news and practices, you will also be able to learn about techical aspects of tailor-made software and automation tools. We highly recommend “6Reach the right customers by automating Google AdWords’ IP restrictions”. It is a very good read. On this blog, you will also be able to read topics on custom software developlment, profressive web apps, analytics and reporting, and so on.
MI DIGITAL's company’s focus is on supporting the needs of B2B organizations of every size, and our blog is filled with very valuable content. If you had problems convincing your superiors to try marketing automation you should read MI DIGITAL Marketing Automation Company And What We Can Do For You. You might get lucky the next time you try.
Up until now, MI DIGITAL has helped a lot of startups from numerous niches by utilizing the features of marketing automation software. From our experience, startups should implement a marketing automation platform in the following instances.
Getting lot of users fast
Starting with an aggressive marketing campaign right from start can be helpful for startups that are trying to get a lot of users or subscribers very fast. By using the marketing automation services, startups can reach a wide audience using targeted automated PPC advertising, while having the time to focus on the core processes of their business.
When a startup is aiming to penetrate different segments of the market
With marketing automation on their side, startups can learn how to engage different segments of their intended audience. Marketing companies utilizing marketing automation software already had access to big data and can easily help startups identify which tone works best with their audience.
When startups don’t have time, nor work-force to devote to lead nurturing
Learning valuable information about your prospects, and customizing and delivering the experience precisely when it needs to be delivered, is crucial for a startup’s success. Marketing automation can help startups with lead nurturing by timing and shaping marketing efforts for each customer during their buying journeys.
When a startup has a very limiting budget
Instead of hiring marketing experts and working on their marketing strategy in-house, startups can use marketing automation services of third-party agencies. This way, startups can save both time and money, while still reaping the benefits of marketing automation system.
Planning for the future
Since marketing automation is a scalable and affordable solution, startups can adopt it in the early stages to fully unlock its potential. By using it from the day one, startups will ensure that their customers completely understand the company’s vision, products, services, and brand.
Before any company starts using marketing automation, it is important that it understands how this process works, so that the company can discover if the system is able to meet its needs and support its goals. MI DIGITAL understands how important it is to introduce new marketing technologies. Let’s see if we can help you understand how marketing automation works.
Building actionable data
A marketing automation system draws data from other platforms used by the company. This information reflects the prospects’ behavior and interest. The team operating the marketing automation software then uses this data to personalize and refine their marketing strategy by improving customer experience with the brand, products, and service.
Processing the data
Once the information from the other campaigns, websites, numerous social channels and offline marketing is gathered, it gets compiled into a relevant and more useful form. Marketing automation software automates this process and makes it incredibly fast. This data is used to draw the main guidelines for future marketing efforts.
Narrowing campaign targeting on a large scale
Managing narrowly targeted marketing campaigns on different platforms is time-consuming and overwhelmingly difficult. Marketing automation helps marketing teams optimize actions according to the gathered and processed data. The entire process is streamlined and automated.
Marketing automation software uses data in real time to serve the personalized content to prospects. Lead generation is made possible through this system’s ability to identify good leads by looking into their historical activity, the number of website visits, originating platform, level of interest, and more. The system also makes sure that qualified leads stay engaged by sending them content, offers, deals, welcome emails, newsletters, free e-books, etc.
As you can see, all these processes have the purpose of increasing the effect of your marketing efforts, improve decision-making and increase ROI. Everything a business needs to thrive in a saturated and volatile market.
Every company has its own goals and needs. When it comes to products and services, they are designed to meet the requirements and solve specific problems for the exact audience. Marketing automation is just a tool and its success depends on several factors.
In MI DIGITAL, we always want to meet our clients to learn their needs and goals before we decide that marketing automation is the right tool for boosting their marketing efforts. Let’s make one thing clear. Marketing automation works for all products or services, but it doesn’t work for all audiences or all segments of one audience.
For instance, if your product or service is designed for people who are not that fond of using the internet or computers, marketing automation can't-do much for you. Of course, there are other marketing methods to use when trying to reach less tech-savvy individuals. This also applies to your business model if your products or services are intended for the elderly.
Although, these obstacles can be overcome by retargeting people who have parents who might need your product or services, the results won’t be as good as they would be if you could reach them directly through specific channels.
There is also one more instance when marketing automation won’t work for products and services, but this one is also not directly connected to services or products. Since marketing automation needs data to deliver results, you won’t be able to use it without research and information. The better the input is, the better the results of using marketing automation software get.
In the end, thanks to the analytic and reporting features of automation tools, you can identify marketing channels and methods that deliver the best results, so that you can focus more on these.
Since it offers powerful benefits for business organizations, marketing automation software has caught the attention of non-profit organizations too. These organizations also rely on marketing and can experience a great deal of benefits if the marketing efforts succeed (more donors, more devoted volunteers, better relations with volunteers, etc.).
Here are some questions that we like to ask non-profits at MI DIGITAL when they ask us if they should they use our marketing automation services.
Are there many volunteers who are asking to work with you?
If there are many people feeling out the forms on the non-profit's website, then there is some data to feed the marketing automation software. These are new and already qualified leads and marketing automation can help non-profits to turn them into donors or members.
Do you have enough manpower to answer the inquiries of interested volunteers?
It is of utmost importance to provide the information to qualified leads while your organization has their attention. Otherwise, they might end up in some other non-profit and you will lose a valuable member or a generous donor. Marketing automation will help you to engage with these leads in real time.
Do you use emails to reach your volunteers and leads?
If your non-profit utilizes email messaging in any form, marketing automation can gather valuable data that can be used to improve the performance of nurturing emails. Of course, this entire process is automated.
Do you communicate with volunteers and leads through multiple channels and platforms?
If the answer is yes, your non-profit organization could benefit a lot from using marketing automation. This is simply because of communication, spread across multiple channels, generates a lot of data that this software can store and analyze. Furthermore, marketing automation will help you learn how to personalize content and push it through preferred channels.
Marketing automation is considered an invaluable tool by many marketers. Everyone is talking about how much it saves. Since, we at MI DIGITAL have been building tailor-made marketing automation tools for quite some time now, here is how we have experienced its time-saving benefit.
Automatic behavior and interaction tracking
Imagine if you had to manually identify leads and track their behavior. This task not only looks impossible, but it is also quite overwhelming, and marketing automation does this for you. It will generate actionable marketing data that contains customers’ and prospects’ interactions and behavior.
Measure and optimize Marketing ROI and the effect it has on revenue
Every company wants to know exactly how much it prospered from a specific marketing effort. With marketing automation, you will be able not only to identify what works and what doesn’t, but also to what extent did something perform and what are the exact results.
More time for creative tasks
After automating the great majority of manual and repetitive tasks, you will be able to use the free time for more creative tasks. People in charge of content creation will be able to deliver highly customized and high-quality content to improve lead nurturing. Marketing automation also affects the entire marketing department by increasing productivity and job satisfaction.
Significantly reduced lead conversion time
Since marketing automation delivers personalized content in a timely manner your company will reduce the time it takes to turn a prospect into a qualified lead and a qualified lead into a customer.
Smart and better use of time
Instead of wasting time, resources and assets on marketing efforts with unpredictable results, companies can refer to marketing automation and start using time intelligently. This way, companies can get more out of the hours they are already committing to marketing.
In the digital age, businesses should go through the process of modernization. Their marketing departments must utilize effective solutions developed on the latest and most sophisticated technologies. Marketing automation enables companies to enhance their marketing teams and accelerate their digital marketing transformation.
This automated system successfully handles repetitive tasks and can also be programmed to follow a specific pattern. While the system handles these manual tasks, marketers can focus on creative thinking, strategy, and planning.
Marketing automation has already become an important aspect of any successful marketing strategy, and MI DIGITAL can help with the planning, strategizing and implementation of a marketing automation system. If you are considered implementing this solution in your organization, don’t hesitate to contact us.