Ask Olive: Why Marketing Automation?

Ask Olive is a place to get your most pressing modern marketing questions addressed by the experts.

Question

To hear fellow marketers talk you’d think marketing automation is the be all end all marketing tool. What’s all the fuss about?

Answer

 

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First, let’s define marketing automation, so everyone understands what we’re talking about. For this, we turn to Hubspot, the brand that defines all things inbound marketing.

Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier.

Now, that’s out of the way. Let’s talk about why everyone is talking about it. The ubiquity of marketing automation is no coincidence. There are currently nearly 2,000 companies providing products and services related to marketing technology and automation, and they aren’t just doing it for their health. There’s a demand for it. Between 2011 and 2014 the number of organizations using marketing automation increased 11 times over.

There are a myriad of factors contributing to the rapid adoption of marketing automation and it’s not just because it makes a marketer’s life easier, though it does that, too. It’s also kind of a no brainer from a ROI standpoint. Companies that employ marketing automation report increasing qualified leads by 451 percent. Let’s consider why this may be and what could be contributing to this increase.

First of all, there’s a demand for personalization and without marketing automation, there’s no human way to keep up with that demand. Sure, a startup with a handful of leads trickling in each day, would have no problem sending Charles from Widgets Inc. a weekly email with content tailored to his need for patent law services, widgetry news, and things that rhyme with orange. As soon as that startup gains a little traction, keeping up with leads while delivering meaningful content to each one is an outright impossibility.

Which leads to the next point for marketing automation, these tools make personalization possible thanks to the level of efficiency they bring to your operation. Through carefully tracked lead records tied to specific goals, tasks, and workflows, your brand can deliver an entirely personal experience designed to nurture each lead down the funnel, without lifting a finger. Okay, okay. You’ll have to lift a finger. It takes time and effort to set up and maintain these systems, but it is far more efficient and effective than a manual process.

Your marketing team can regain time outside of personalization. Scheduling general emails, social posts, etc. through your marketing automation tool, frees up time to focus on larger picture tasks and high-level strategy rather than getting lost in the weeds of menial tasks. Plus, scheduling tasks out ahead of time ensures consistency in your communications. That way when Silvio in accounting is bugging you to submit your expense report, you won’t forget your LinkedIn post for the day in the process.

Beyond efficiencies within your marketing organization, the lead scoring and detailed records associated with marketing automation allow your sales team to focus on the warmest of leads. This means your sales team can minimize the time they’re spending on dead-end leads and maximize conversions.

And, finally, REPORTS. Analytics are all the rage in marketing these days and marketing automation tools give you easy (seriously easy, even I can do it) access to the data you need to make informed decisions about your tactics to optimize your marketing. Optimization, that, coincidentally makes you more efficient and provides a greater ROI.

Phew. That’s a lot of why. I hope that helps, at the very least, explain why the world is abuzz with marketing automation. And, if I’ve really done my job, I just may have convinced you to bring a little marketing automation into your life.

Yours in Modern Marketing,

Olive