Let’s start with the key notion that marketing automation is part of the wider discipline of data-driven marketing, and that you can’t implement the former without having a strategy for the latter.
A word of warning: here at automatico we tend to overuse words such as discipline, framework and systematic because they are important and recurring themes. If you are considering marketing automation you need to be aware that a) it’s complex and b) there are risks involved too.
But enough of the scaremongering. Let’s start with a definition and then look at what you can achieve with a well executed plan.
Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:
Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.
Or, in fewer words… it’s a platform, it helps automate processes and it does so across multiple channels.
But it’s just as important to understand what it’s not; some kind of magic box you can turn on and suddenly you’re generating 10x leads and converting at twice the rate. No matter what the vendor whitepaper says.
A good analogy is the car manufacturing process with those big robotic arms churning out Toyota after Toyota. A great deal of effort has gone into building that system and the end product is not successful because of it, but because Toyota make great cars (and market them well too).
Another point to consider. Marketing automation often isn’t fully automated. There are many things that you can set and forget but you’ll be tweaking and updating more often than you think.
Indeed, it does allow you automate tasks and scale some of your business driving activities.
Here are some typical use cases: