What is Marketing Automation and Why is Marketing Automation Important? Podcast Episode #6
There's one piece of marketing technology that will make a huge difference for your company and that is called marketing automation. Marketing automation is something that's been around since the 90s which I didn't even realize. I looked that up when I was working on this podcast. It's become increasingly more common in the past ten years and that's because so much of the buying process for people and just communication between people and brands is now online.
So what is marketing automation? Marketing automation is essentially a tool that helps you communicate with customers in many ways. Some people think of it as just automating emails and that is true. That is one of the forms of marketing automation that a lot of tools, just about any tool has these days, but it's actually a lot more than that. Marketing automation can help you not only automate emails, but from the same platform, you could also send text messages to people, you could serve Facebook ads, you could launch a website chat. So it's basically one platform where you could communicate with customers in many different ways, which is really valuable because one, people like to be communicated with in different ways. People have different preferences. But two, you need to be getting in front of people in more than one way for them to take action. And it's nice to be able to have other ways of communicating with them besides just sending emails all the time because that might not be the most effective for that person.
Marketing automation helps with other things too, besides just communicating with your customers. It also helps you with some of your internal processes and internal workflows. So for example, within the same tool, you can automate some internal notifications. So if you have a B2B business where marketing is working with a sales team, you can set something in the marketing automation tool so that your sales team is notified when something happens. So if they're working on a deal with someone and they happen to open an email or click on some kind of high-value action on something that you're sending out through your marketing, then you can automate the system so that it sends them a notification through the CRM. There are a lot of ways that you can use that to automate things that are in the back end. You could even update fields within the CRM or add tags to people. It just helps you a lot with getting rid of all the manual, time-intensive tasks that are really important and automating them.
Marketing automation helps you in two big ways. One is it helps you scale your marketing efforts and be able to reach more people in more effective ways in larger quantities, but also in ways that are more personalized. By adding more information about people along the way through your marketing automation tool, you could send them messages that are more personalized to what they are looking for and what their interests are. So it helps you communicate at scale, but it also helps you be more efficient in your processes. Instead of needing to manually add items or to send some kind of other notification to other team members, that could all be done automatically through one tool.
What are some examples of marketing automation tools? For small businesses and startups, a lot of companies start out with MailChimp and their more expensive plans. They do you have some of the marketing automation features, but the platform could be a little bit clunky. I recommend ActiveCampaign, and this isn't an ad. I use it, and I actually really like it. Their lower price plans have more than Mailchimp's more expensive plan around automation. And just from me using it, it's really user-friendly and they have really accessible customer support. And there are a lot of different ways that you can use the marketing automation tool to personalize messages and reach people in different ways and then also automate all the internal workflows. The more expensive automation tools that larger companies have are Marketo or Eloqua. You might hear about some of those that are a little bit out of reach for small businesses, and those get even more complex. There are so many marketing automation tools out there, so it could get a little bit overwhelming. So I wanted to give you a couple to start with and look at.
I definitely recommend if you are at the stage where you're communicating with people regularly or you want to be communicating with your customers on an ongoing basis and you have a lot of different segments that you need to be reaching, I definitely recommend looking into marketing automation. It's actually a really awesome tool that could really make a difference for your company.