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What is marketing automation?

Certain marketing tasks such as email marketing, posting to social media, and launching ad campaigns can be time-consuming to perform by hand. In addition to being inefficient, these tasks take an impersonal, one-size-fits-all approach to outreach. This limits the effectiveness of these efforts, resulting in lower marketing ROI and reduced customer engagement.

Marketing automation software is designed to resolve these challenges. Automating these tasks across channels and enabling a personalized approach to customers not only increases marketing effectiveness and ROI, it leads to happier, more satisfied customers as well.

The goal of marketing automation software

The principal goal of marketing automation solutions is to improve, streamline, and simplify time-consuming marketing tasks. Instead of dedicating organizational resources to sending emails, text messages, or social media posts, marketing automation software allows marketers to create sets of instructions, called workflows, to automate these processes.

Automating these repetitive tasks makes it faster and easier to nurture high-quality, sales-ready leads while also freeing up time to focus on strategic, high-value work.

How marketing automation works

Marketing automation makes it possible to implement a digital marketing strategy without having to manually execute each step. In addition to saving you time, it helps you extract value from your customer data by providing data-driven insights into what your customers want and need. With these insights, it’s easier to build and launch targeted, personalized campaigns.

Exact functionality varies from solution to solution, but marketing automation systems can help organizations with:

  • Lead generation and qualification. Personalize content that’s relevant to what customers are looking for to generate more leads. Real-time lead scoring helps determine which of these leads are most likely to buy so that sales teams can prioritize the most promising opportunities.
  • Audience identification. Help you find the right audience for each campaign to maximize each campaign’s effectiveness.
  • Content design. Keep branding consistent across multi-channel campaigns using generative AI or with prebuilt and customizable templates.
  • Demand generation. Help you create, nurture, and manage a prospect’s interest with lead and data management across multiple channels.
  • Campaign delivery. Launch, adjust, and manage campaigns automatically and get detailed metrics into what is and isn’t working for better performance.
  • Workflows based on schedules and customer behaviors. Set up automatic next steps—such as follow-up emails and text messages—triggered by customer actions.
  • Event management. Plan, manage, and coordinate online and in-person events to increase the reach and impact of your marketing.

What marketing automation looks like for the customer

One-size-fits-all marketing produces hit-or-miss results for customers. Either content is relevant to their needs or it isn’t, which means each campaign is a gamble.

Relevant, personalized content delivered where and when customers want it, however, ensures the best probability for success. Being able to interact with a brand across whichever channel is most convenient—whether that’s mobile, email, or web—reduces friction along the buying journey. It’s easier for customers to see the content they’re interested in, and easier for them to interact with your company.

Managing customer experiences improves engagement and outcomes from start to finish, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.

The benefits of marketing automation software

In addition to personalized marketing outreach and more time to focus on strategic contributions, marketing automation software brings many additional benefits, such as:

  • Increased productivity. Marketing teams can get more done in less time by automating time-consuming manual tasks.
  • Improved accuracy. Automating repetitive marketing tasks reduces the chances of human errors and ensures a consistent, high-quality experience across channels.
  • Greater ROI. Personalized campaigns are more effective and produce more sales-ready leads.
  • More engaged customers. With a seamless, personalized customer experience, customers are more satisfied and loyal to your products and company.
  • Relationship marketing. With a 360-degree view of customer, market, and trend information, it’s easier and more effective to turn prospects into business relationships.
  • Improved visibility into campaign performance. Detailed metrics into what is and isn’t working provide the insights you need to make improvements. Some marketing automation software even boasts AI capabilities that enhance the usefulness of these metrics and help you make changes and improvements more quickly.

Tips for designing a marketing automation strategy

Marketing automation software isn’t an instant fix. In order to be successful, it needs to be combined with a solid marketing automation strategy that takes the entire marketing and sales process into account.

If you’re planning to add marketing automation to your marketing strategy, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Plan out your lead stages. Mapping out the stages in lead and prospect nurturing makes it easier to determine which actions will be most effective at each stage.
  • Come up with a lead scoring process. This makes it easier to prioritize sales resources and focus effort on the most promising opportunities with the highest probability of success.
  • Set a lead qualification threshold. Together with a lead scoring process, setting a lead qualification threshold prevents you from wasting time and money on unpromising leads.
  • Map out the customer journey. See things from the customer’s perspective to identify areas where the customer experience can be improved.
  • Build a content library. Having multiple options for interesting, engaging, and relevant content increases your options and makes it easier to personalize content for your customers.
  • Take your time with rollout. Implement marketing automation in stages and test often so you can optimize as you go.
  • Make adjustments. Marketing is never set in stone. Refine your approach along the way and make improvements based on metrics to increase your chances of success.

Learn more about what marketing automation can do for your business

Find and nurture high-quality, sales-ready leads with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. Automate and personalize your marketing with AI tools and capabilities to help increase your organization’s impact and productivity.