What is Marketing Automation – Guide

By TechFunnel Contributors - Published on September 15, 2020
Marketing automation allows businesses to focus on the creative aspect of making a marketing campaign.

Marketing is not just about crafting the message of a campaign; it is also about how the message will be distributed to as many people as possible. When a business is attempting to reach out to millions of people about the products and services that they offer, it can be overwhelming to think about how to find a way to effectively get that message out there on a massive scale. That is where marketing automation comes in.

What is Marketing Automation?

It would be time-consuming for a business to try to manually create, monitor, and examine marketing initiatives for every single potential customer. For a mechanized way to perform essential marketing duties, oversee engagement with content, and understand target demographics throughout various forms of media, look to marketing automation.

What does Marketing Automation do?

  • Produces Leads: The more people hear about a product or service, the more likely they will want to know more and interact with content associated with the business that offers said products/services.
  • Monitors Leads: As potential customers are interacting with content, marketers can keep track of which media platforms are attracting the most attention.
  • Create & Oversee Marketing Strategies for E-mail: Although an old-school tactic in digital media, using mass e-mail campaigns is still considered the most reliable way to let both potential and current customers know about sales, deals, & specials of products.
  • Marketing & Sales Department Collaborations: With marketing handling outreach and sales dealing with making a profit, these sectors can work together to turn leads into actual customers.
  • Take Notes on Return on Investment (ROI) Rate: To ensure that a campaign is successful taking notes on leads, engagement, and profits is an essential part of marketing

How does Marketing Automation work?

When leads or potential customers interact with content, they provide information like their email address, where they live, the number of times they visit a page or website and what they do when they are on there, etc. This helps businesses get to know their audience, what their needs are, and how to tailor their campaigns to help gain more customers.

Why use Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation allows businesses to focus on the creative aspect of making a marketing campaign. This technique already helps to get the main message out there on a mass scale, find out what demographic interacts with the content the most, and ROI rates. This leaves marketers with the time and ability to constantly tweak aspects of a campaign to attract more customers, explore new avenues for expansion, and put the needs of reliable leads first.

Benefits of Marketing Automation

  • Keeps marketing campaign tactics up to date.
  • Allows businesses to reach out to reliable leads that are more likely to use their products and services.
  • Helps to effectively catch the attention of a big block of a business’ target audience through tailor-made messages based around their specific needs.
  • Prevents the over-sending of irrelevant and monotonous emails.
  • Allows leads to stay in the know about promo deals based on location, holidays, etc.
  • Utilize artificial intelligence and monitoring tools to oversee lead behavior when interacting with content to learn what works and what does not.

(Also Read: 27 Powerful Benefits of Marketing Automation)

Marketing Automation Challenges to Solve

Like all things that are intended for good, there are setbacks. Although marketing automation can be the solution for businesses from having to create individual campaigns for every single potential customer, it does not guarantee that a business will acquire fresh leads. In order to build something, it needs to have a foundation.

That means that a 100-year-old legacy corporation that used to thrive in traditional media has a better chance of having a successful digital marketing campaign than an up-and-coming, small business because they already have an established base audience.

Another problem that could occur when using marketing automation is that while collecting lead information through their interactions with content is a good way to get to know them in an intimate way, it does not necessarily lead to lasting connections with customers.

Plus, since marketing automation is mechanized on a mass scale, it could lead to a one size fits all way of attempting to get in touch with potential customers.

4 Most Important Components of Marketing Automation

  1. Sort/Section: Organize customer information collected from content interaction into categories that show whether they are a lead, potential, or current customer. With that data, one could go further and create profiles for each person within those categories to give them a client identity. This allows businesses to gain intimate knowledge about their target audience.
  1. Lead Measuring: Measure the worth of potential leads according to the possibility of them becoming actual customers that purchase a product or service. This allows for the marketing sector to transfer this information about worthy leads to the sales sector so that they can put all of their energy into catering to their needs. When needs are met, a lead will convert into a buyer.
  1. Stimulate: Create a call to action incentive for potential leads that are interacting with the content to close a purchase or give more information about what the company has to offer. This is done through e-mail newsletter sign-ups, discount sales for those who have an item in the cart but have yet to click “confirm purchase”, and sending e-mails providing a free-trial run of the use of service.
  1. Make it Happen: After a lead purchase a product/service, signs-up for that newsletter, and accepts that offer for a free trial then send a follow-up email verifying that they have successfully followed through with the call-to-action and actually “made it happen.”

Marketing Automation Features

  • Sorting/Organizing tools that categorize gathered customer information in a way that assists businesses to reach out to them in a more personalized way
  • Lists, monitoring, and email tools allow businesses to oversee and examine the behaviors of leads/potential customers
  • Data gathering tools that help businesses to analyze whether or not their marketing techniques are successful
  • Streamlined tasks between marketing and sales sectors for better collaborations to help convert leads into buying customers
  • Social media posts, main pages for company websites, and fill-out pages
  • E-mail distribution functions and A/B examinations for website page designs
  • Mechanization for lead measuring
  • Process for developing leads
  • Tools to examine the efficiency of marketing campaign tactics based on income rates
  • Tools for monitoring visitors on the company website
  • Content monitoring through traceable website links
  • Live sales notifications
  • Lead measuring tools
  • Estimation tools that figure out the price of running a campaign and have the data streamlined into marketing automation software and CRM (customer relationship management)

The Difference between Marketing Automation vs. CRM

Marketing Automation CRM
Cannot work in the absence of CRM. Oversees customer information.
The demands of the marketing sector are its cornerstone. The demands of the sales sector are its are its cornerstone.
Communication hub. Database hub.

5 Steps to Implement Marketing Automation

  1. Flesh out your needs and objectives: Based on the size of your business and the market that you are competing under, owners should have an idea of what they want from utilizing mechanized marketing functions to reach out to and gain more customers.
  1. Find out the cost of marketing automation & have high positioned players on the same page: Shop around for marketing automation software services. Then, let the members of the company know about the benefits of the software and have the sales, marketing, and C-suite invest in a possible plan of action.
  1. Select the marketing automation software or platform (MAP) that is right for the company: Look for factors like functions, usability, streamlining capabilities, adjustability, costs, and customer service to determine which platform is right for your business.
  1. Decide a plan of action: Start having the marketing and sales sectors have onboarding sessions with the software to get familiar with the tools and functions of the marketing automation platform.
  1. Begin small, then go from there: When using the software, begin with the easy to use tools and the ones that are vital to completing important tasks. After a while, build upon your skill level and interact with more complex features to create more intricate marketing campaigns and techniques.

(Also Read: How to Implement Marketing Automation for Your Business)

Marketing Automation Best Practices

  1. Establish lead steps and indications: Write out the journey that it takes for a guest to convert into a buying customer. This helps sales and marketing sectors create better fostering tactics in order to have a successful lead conversion journey.
  1. Categorize and collect information from the conversion process: Gather personal information from various content interactions based on where they are within the conversion journey.
  1. Give out content based on context: If a lead interacts with a downloadable link on a page after a certain time send them a follow-up email since the visitor has shown that they are possibly interested in what your business has to offer.
  1. Create mechanized stimulations: Create a call to action incentives that you know that your leads will respond to based on their behavior when interacting with content.
  1. Make notifications for tracking and social media engagement: Emailing is not the only marketing tactic to reach out to potential customers. Interacting with those that like, share, and comment on posts on a business’ social media pages is seen as relatable and more intimate.MAPs can notify marketers when a business is tagged or named on social media and alert marketers about any events that they can take advantage of to showcase the brand.
  1. Establish mechanized audience categorization and sorting management: Keep your customers record neat and organized by having your marketing automation software gather potential customer information as they are interacting with content, get rid of data given to you by bots, and remove double or copies of profiles that you already have stored in the system

Final Thoughts

Marketing automation has revolutionized the way a brand is marketed to the masses. Now, a business can make its message more personal by tailoring it to the needs of potential consumers while simultaneously distributing it on a massive scale within a short period of time. Businesses know that their message will be received by the intended audience because of tools to monitor and examine interactions with their content.

In the past, businesses used traditional media platforms (like television, radio, and print) to reach out to potential customers. But they had no way of knowing about leads or potential customers because there was no way to tracking specific interactions with the specific content. All they had to lean on was ratings of the program that showed the ad during a time slot. It was like throwing a wide net into dark waters, not knowing if you would catch any fish.

With the technological tools that we have now, thanks to the rise of digital media, businesses can actually see who is interacting with their content, down to their name, email address, phone number, and even where they live. It is easier than ever before to not only reach out to your target audience, but for them to reach out to you through liking, sharing, and commenting posts on a business’ social media page. Getting your message out there is incredibly satisfying when you know that there is going to be someone to receive and interact with it on the other side.

But, marketing is not just about crafting the message of a campaign; it is also about how the message will be distributed on a mass scale to reach people that convert to visitors that convert to leads that convert to actual customers.

Other Useful Resources:

How Successful Startups Use Marketing Automation

30 Best Digital Marketing Automation Tools

13 AI-Powered Marketing Automation Tools

Marketing Automation: All-in-One vs. Best-of-Breed

Best Ways to Integrate Salesforce in Marketing Automation


Kierra Benson is an alumnus of the University of North Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Technology. She previously completed an internship at a local newspaper and worked as a content creator for a small online business. Her goal is to work in the media industry in writing/editing and advertising. She has always been fascinated by how messages are marketed in the media to influence the masses and sell products. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

TechFunnel Contributors | TechFunnel.com is an ambitious publication dedicated to the evolving landscape of marketing and technology in business and in life. We are dedicated to sharing unbiased information, research, and expert commentary that helps executives and professionals stay on top of the rapidly evolving marketplace, leverage technology for productivity, and add value to their knowledge base.

TechFunnel Contributors | TechFunnel.com is an ambitious publication dedicated to the evolving landscape of marketing and technology in business and in life. We are dedicate...

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