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What is marketing automation? A comprehensive overview of the benefits, how to use it and how to get started

What is marketing automation? A comprehensive overview of the benefits, how to use it and how to get started

You are familiar with the concept of marketing automation and would like to learn more about it? Perhaps you are wondering how technology could help you in your own marketing efforts?

You've come to the right place because in this article we'll take a deep dive into the world of marketing automation with practical examples, inspiring articles, and how-to guides. After reading the article, you'll have a better understanding of marketing automation as a marketer's assistant and how it can make your job easier.

The article covers the following topics:

  1. What is marketing automation?
  2. The benefits of marketing automation
  3. How to get started with marketing automation?
  4. Marketing automation in practice
  5. Good to know

Let's get started!

1. What is marketing automation?

To start with, it is good to clarify what marketing automation is all about. In a nutshell, marketing automation is a technology that, as the name suggests, helps automate marketing activities and processes by leveraging data from various sources.

The goals of marketing automation include improving the efficiency of marketing activities, saving time and resources, and providing a better, personalized customer experience. Marketing automation enables companies to automate repetitive marketing activities and utilize use cases such as:

Marketing automation helps you deliver targeted, personalized, and timely customer communications. Technology can be used for many different purposes in many different organizations, and we will explore these ways later in this article.

Our research shows that marketers purchase marketing automation tools to increase marketing efficiency, increase sales and take better care of their customers.

2. The benefits of marketing automation

Let's continue by focusing on the benefits of marketing automation, which is of particular interest to us. Marketing automation can help companies engage customers and increase loyalty, boost sales, and deliver cost-effective marketing. 

It is particularly useful for managing large amounts of data: automation collects and leverages data from multiple sources to automate content and segment data across multiple channels.

In addition to the time savings and marketing efficiency already mentioned, automation can also help:

  • target messages to the right audiences at the right time based on the segments created
  • improve the quality of leads, in addition to their acquisition and nurturing 
  • save on marketing costs
  • combine information from different sources
  • improve collaboration between sales and marketing.
According to our research, the main benefits of marketing automation perceived by marketers who acquire marketers include improved marketing efficiency and ROI, better message targeting, improved customer experience, and cost-effectiveness.

Marketing automation uses data from a variety of sources, including websites, CRM, ERPs, and event management tools.

3. How to get started with marketing automation?

When considering implementing marketing automation, start with your organization's needs and desires: what results do you want to achieve with marketing automation, and what types of automation would best serve your goals?

It is worth noting that, despite its name, marketing automation is also perfectly suited to the needs of communications. Public organizations can communicate to their target audiences on time, reduce the manual work of content production, and better serve their members by automating repetitive communications.

It is important to identify your customers and get permission to market to them throughout the customer lifecycle. Marketing automation is a great way to collect data about the customer and at the same time build up your own 1st party data repository, which will only grow in importance in the future as data sustainability becomes a key part of more and more organisations' strategies.

Compare different providers to make an informed decision. By sourcing marketing automation technology from a professional service provider, you will receive a thorough orientation and a dedicated account manager to help you implement the tool and build your first campaigns.

It's easy for a beginner to start building simple but powerful automation chains.

The easiest way to build marketing automation campaigns is to start with simple automation chains: automate repetitive activities such as welcoming a new customer, offering more relevant content to a guide downloader, or segmenting customers based on their preferences.

4. Marketing automation in practice

So what can you automate in practice? Let's look at use cases through the following examples.

Automation of basic messages

Start by analyzing the customer journey and identifying the contact points where customers need the most support and communication. Try automating basic messages such as the following:

  • Welcome the newsletter subscriber
  • Activate a passive customer who hasn't made a purchase in a while
  • Take advantage of a shopping cart reminder
  • Send a confirmation after enrolment or purchase.

Identify visitors

We come to the critical part: identifying the customer. How do you get the customer to identify themselves? The best way to do this is to provide some content that interests them and ask for information in return, which you can use to communicate and segment your customers in the future. After that, the possibilities for marketing automation are endless.

For example, offer:

  • Newsletters
  • Attend an event or training
  • Participation in a competition
  • A quality guide
Read more about ways to identify your customer: Marketing Automation in Practice, part 2: How to identify a visitor.

Take advantage of drip campaigns

A drip campaign or automation chain is a series of messages triggered by, for example, a hotel booking, online shopping order, or other customer encounter, either immediately or after a desired period of time. All drip campaigns are united by precise targeting and the modeling and translation of customer behavior into messages.

Make use of existing customer data

Many organizations have room for improvement in their use of customer data: it is collected, but not used effectively. This is often because data is fragmented and lying around in different systems. Marketing automation helps marketing to make the best use of this data.

Learn how to harness data collected from CRM, e-commerce, booking systems, and more for marketing automation: Marketing Automation in Practice, Part 4: Leveraging Existing Customer Data. And what are the benefits of combining marketing automation with CRM? Read the article Marketing Automation & CRM – the Greatest Benefits and Best Practices.

Personalize the content on your WordPress site

Did you know that you can also harness the data collected by marketing automation and the segments you create on your WordPress site, directly in the publishing system? With LianaAutomation, you can target the website content you want to the right audiences instead of trying to offer everything to everyone. Deliver more relevant and engaging content and enjoy higher conversion and customer experience. Learn more about WordPress website personalization.

5. Good to know

The more and better quality customer data an organization has, the better marketing automation works. It is also good to be able to set aside time to develop and optimize automation chains. 

However, when some effort is put into automation, the benefits are many times greater than the investment: our research shows that one of the most important benefits of marketing automation is the ROI it delivers.

If you're considering whether marketing automation is right for your organization or industry, remember that automation is easy to tailor to your business needs - whether you're a commercial operator or not. Choosing an easy-to-use and intuitive tool will make it easier to build campaigns and analyze results.

Improved marketing efficiency and ROI are seen as the main benefits of marketing automation.

Interested in marketing automation?

With LianaAutomation, you can implement timely marketing activities based on the customer data you collect in a data-driven way. Stand out from the crowd by uniquely personalizing your WordPress website and better serving your target groups.

Discover LianaAutomation