The very basic formula of any marketing is:
Defining Prospects + Contact Details + Campaign = Marketing
The act of automating these steps with the help of technology and software turns it into Marketing Automation.
Thus, when with the help of a business software some or many steps of marketing are handled automatically by a software or application, that’s called marketing automation.
Beginning of Marketing Automation
So, at the beginning, when computer and internet were new and weren’t matured as much as they are today, the marketing companies used to compile a long list of prospective clients and then send them the same mail one by one. Then someone invented a function by which people were able to enlist all email IDs in one email and send a bulk email.
We can call that the first Marketing Automation attempt as the system had automated one part of the marketing campaign. Now there was no need to send each individual one by one. It was now done with a single click. Though, you had to create a database of all the email IDs first, but the repetitive process of composing the same email for every individual was discarded.
From the that time on, people have just built upon the same idea, transformed more manual steps into the automatic ones and more and more repetitive efforts performed by executives has turned into automated ones.
Today, it is possible to send one mail to a thousand (or a million) people without writing a single word, without entering email IDs manually or hitting send at the moment you want send it.
How? A few types of mails have readymade formats available for free. You can take that format as the body of your mail. Then there are services which provide you list of email IDs in the domains you require. And then on an email client, you schedule your emails to automatically be sent without your presence. See? Nothing is written and yet you have sent thousands of emails with a few clicks.
Though, such email with readymade templates will have a very low conversion rate. Yet, it reflects the reach and advancements in the marketing automation segment. You are only required to tell the software what you want to do and then, everything is done automatically.
Marketing Automation: Intelligence Gathering
Marketing Automation software has gone advanced and thus they have also made the every steps of marketing advanced. The aforementioned simple formula of marketing has become complex, much more focused, centralized and aligned for the maximum ROI. Nowadays, only gathering lists of email IDs isn’t enough. For maximum efficiency you have more software and techniques to discard the people and steps which have less possibility to turn into conversion. You can target only those people who have higher likability of turning into a customer.
How you/software know that?
Today, in the times of matured internet with the social media sites, increased internet footprints, there is software available which follows and tracks a person’s internet footprint on social media, search engines, different websites and all the things they click and look out for on the internet. After that, the software segmentizes the data and turns it into actionable information. Basing on that information, the tool suggests you the people which are most likely to convert into customer as they are probably following the similar things which falls into the product category of your product or their interests and search results suggests that they are interested into the product you are selling i.e. a person running a big firm is more likely to buy your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system than a man who sells candies at a local shop. Thus, you can discard the people who aren’t going to buy your product and focus only on the people with higher likability. This way, your spending on mail clients shows higher ROI with maximum efficiency. The rate of replies, mail openings, leads and ultimately to the conversion also stays high.
Thus, the software and tools are helping to maximize your performance by intelligence gathering from online sites and people’s online footprints. Collected intelligence is helping you to do marketing efficiently, smartly and with higher return.
Marketing Automation: Workflow Automation inside the Company
There is this third part of the marketing automation which furthers the game to the next level which makes sure that you are always there to close the deal for any customer who is interested in your product. It’s called Workflow Automation.
Workflow Automation actually tracks the performance of the recent marketing campaign and sees if the prospect has reached to a level where he is considering buying your product. He is probably visiting your website regularly, spends longer time on it or is visiting the product pricing page. At that time, the marketing automation software understands the prospect’s higher possibility of turning into a conversion. At that critical time, the software sends to one of your marketing executive an alert for such a prospect who, from there on, can take predefined steps to ensure the prospect turns into a conversion. The Marketing Automation Software are looking at the people’s profiles, habits, nature and collective psychographic data to understand if he will be interested in your product or not.
That’s marketing automation at its maximum performance.
You can understand that all the marketing automation tricks, techniques and ways described here are just the extensions of the decades old basic marketing formula. Those three steps are now highly matured with their own sub-parts, polished to a level where the conversion ration stays high, with segmented information about the prospects to target only the best ones and achieve results with far higher leads and conversions than its basic counterpart.
Marketing Automation isn’t only for Email Marketing.
That’s true. Whenever a person thinks of online marketing, email marketing pops up the first. But, as its well-known, there are a lot of other ways to market your product online. Social media posts, online conferences/calls/webinars, website promotion, advertisements, etc. There are a lot of options and each one is a marketing effort.
Now, in each of these techniques, if there is a Marketing Automation Software available which is making a few steps automatic i.e. posting on multiple social media sites at once or posting articles/press releases automatically on multiple article directories or article/PR submission sites, then that software is helping in your marketing campaign and is making it automatic. That is also a marketing automation software.
Marketing Automation isn’t bound only to email marketing.
How to know if you require a marketing automation software?
The criteria is simple. If you rely on email marketing, social media marketing and other traceable online marketing techniques, then here are the situations to use a marketing automation software:
If you are repetitively sending thousands and thousands of emails to your prospect on daily/weekly/monthly basis
You require a detailed review of your marketing campaign
Using a software reduces cost/time/efforts spent on the task greatly