Marketing automation: definition and operation

 Marketing automation has become more and more accessible in recent years.

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And for good reason, marketing automation quickly improves the user experience and the quality of the customer relationship of brands. For marketers, its success is mainly due to saving many hours usually spent on tedious and repetitive tasks.

You come across this trendy term everywhere, but you still don't know what it really is? We tell you everything.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation, or automation marketing or automated marketing in French, consists of automating complete tasks or complete processes of a marketing campaign.

This new digital marketing technique aims to automate all stages of a lead's journey, from the first contact to the sale.

We automate the entire user journey in order to qualify leads, transform them into prospects and then into customers. When it is well mastered, marketing automation relieves the marketing and sales teams of marketing actions such as:

  • lead scoring,
  • the segmentation,
  • lead nurturing,
  • or sending emails, etc.

These teams combine marketing automation software with a CRM to turn leads into customers, manage sales follow-up and customer relations.

How it works ?

Marketing automation works through a number of mechanisms based on a detailed understanding of user behavior.

For this strategy to be effective, it is necessary to draw up the most accurate and detailed profile possible of users, potential prospects and customers. All this will contribute to sending them an optimized message to interest them.

This type of marketing is therefore based on specific criteria to send personalized content to each user according to their interests (one-to-one).

It thus differs from simple emailing, which consists of sending the same message to your subscribers (one-to-many).

To send the right message to the right target, marketing automation analyzes criteria such as identity (sex, age, etc.) and behavior:

- The type of device used. Desktop, tablet, mobile, device system…

- Site traffic. How the Internet user arrived on the site, the number of visits, the pages visited, the duration of the session…

- Engagement on social networks. Likes, comments, shares...

- Interactions with emailing. Open rate, click rate...

- UTM parameters, etc.

This data is used to identify the areas of interest of each potential customer (leads) to qualify them. This same information is necessary to mature them before moving on to conversion.

The essentials of marketing automation

The implementation of a marketing automation strategy requires bringing together a certain number of key elements. You'll need :

A centralized database to identify your contacts and their information or data.

The marketing automation software uses the centralized database and fine segmentation in order to precisely target prospects according to their buying journey and their commitment.

The management of the database is therefore done within the software itself.

The advantage here is to use automation tools to keep an up-to-date database and to better organize yourself. These marketing tools also help you automatically create contact segments based on predefined criteria.

Automatic segmentation

Each time a contact meets the criteria for a segment, they are automatically included in that segment.

Conversely, it is removed from the segment when it no longer meets the inclusion criteria. Automatic segmentation is currently the best way to organize a database.

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring consists of assigning a score to your contacts each time they perform an action.

The score assigned depends on the importance of the action. You can thus qualify your leads and more easily monitor their engagement in a conversion funnel. It is a powerful tool to instantly have a view of the most engaged contacts.

For example, you can award 10 points to a user when they visit a sales page or a landing page. You can award them an additional 15 points if they download a white paper and 25 points if they book an appointment. And so on.

You can also deduct points from a visitor if, for example, he unsubscribes from the newsletter. You thus obtain a ranking of your potential customers depending on their level of commitment in the purchase journey. The more points a contact earns in a buying journey, the more engaged they are for that specific offer.

Communication channels

Communication channels include all the means and methods used to send your message to your contacts.

Among the most used channels we have: SMS, e-mail, social networks, webinars, etc.

The choice of the means of communication is made according to several criteria:

  1. the type of content to be transmitted,
  2. contact habits, etc.

For example, if the message must contain an image, an e-mail would be more suitable than an SMS.

A logic engine that will be used to set up operational flows (Workflow)

Marketing automation works thanks to predefined scenarios which determine the action to be taken according to certain criteria. When the conditions of a scenario are verified, this automatically triggers the execution of a predefined action.

For the condition: " the user downloads a guide on natural referencing ", the predefined action can be: " send an email with other content on SEO ". You can set up several actions that will be triggered as soon as the conditions are met:

  • add to a new newsletter,
  • send an email,
  • award points for lead scoring…

You can also add delays to have good timing.

For example, you can schedule, first, a welcome email and then another email that your contact will receive a week later, and so on. Here is another example scenario:

  1. the contact makes a purchase on the site (activation of the scenario),
  2. the software consults the history of this contact to see if it is a first purchase,
  3. if so, the software sends an email with a 25% reduction voucher to encourage him to make another purchase,
  4. if not, the software adds the contact to the "loyal customers" segment.

Who can use marketing automation?

Anyone can use marketing automation, whether it is an individual, a VSE, an SME or an organization. Any marketer can also use it to simplify their life and build customer loyalty.

The opportunity is even more favorable if you already have some experience in marketing and in the creation of conversion tunnels (or funnel).

In concrete terms, marketing automation is right for you if:

1 Your site generates a lot of leads. With lead scoring and lead nurturing, you can easily identify the most engaged prospects, turn them into customers, and then into ambassadors.

2 You want to improve your customer relationship. Thanks to automatic emails, automated marketing presents itself as a powerful and very practical tool to send personalized emails to each customer according to their needs and when they are most receptive.

3 You want to improve your email marketing. Thanks to the automatic updating of your contact lists and their segmentation, you can perform more precise targeting and significantly improve the results of your marketing campaigns.

To finish…

Marketing automation aims to increase business efficiency through automation.

But you still have to implement the right strategy, at the right time and with the right marketing automation tools. Of course, all this represents a significant investment.

Calling on an expert is therefore essential in order to minimize the risks and guarantee the achievement of the objectives set.

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