Even if someone is just starting out in the world of marketing, they’ve probably heard the term “marketing automation” many times before. But what exactly does this oft-heralded strategy actually entail?

How can marketers go about choosing and implementing a marketing automation solution for their businesses? And what types of results should they expect to see?


We’re happy to present the Emarsys ‘Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Automation’, which will help to answer all these questions:

  • What is marketing automation?
  • What should an organization look for in a marketing automation solution?
  • What types of results should marketers expect to see from marketing automation?

So, What Exactly is Marketing Automation?

Let’s start at the beginning. Marketing automation, in simplest terms, enables marketers to do more with minimal manual effort. From email marketing, to social media, to complex multi-channel campaigns, automation solutions enable marketers to run all aspects of marketing strategy with ease, from a single holistic platform.

Automation solutions are triggered by a predetermined set of rules and then the solution fires off certain actions to specific audiences. This detailed segmentation means that the right message hits the right audience at the right time for maximum conversion.

Automating workflows and processes on the back end frees up more time for marketing professionals to focus their time and energy on creating high-impact content and formulating winning marketing strategies. Marketers can also use the immense amounts of data uncovered during marketing automation processes to test and refine marketing tactics, often referred to as ‘optimization’.

What Should an Organization Look for in a Marketing Automation Solution?

The key to ensuring a marketing automation campaign succeeds is to make sure the marketer has the appropriate set of tools at their disposal. It’s important to remember that all marketing automation solutions are not created equal.

Marketers must be able to track analytics, collect data, and then take internal action directly from their marketing automation solution. Other necessities include:

  • Automation Throughout the Entire Customer Journey:

    Create complex workflows and configure customer journeys to nurture and optimize engagement.

  • Continuous Testing & Optimization:

    Use continuous A/B testing and other refinement strategies to determine which programs are working, and which need attention.

  • Effortless Campaigns:

    Remember that automated campaigns can go out on any cadence preferred, and recurring campaigns should be automatically populated with fresh, new content.

  • Real-Time Messaging:

    Send messages in real-time, using triggers that immediately understand and respond to customer interactions, ensuring the right content every time.

Marketing automation beginners should look for tools and solutions that allow their organization to grow and scale with the platform. While it makes sense to start out small with marketing automation, it’s important for marketers to look for a platform with maximum potential for growth and change.

What Types of Results Should Marketers Expect to See?

As those reading this article may already have begun to notice, there are many, many different ways marketers can utilize and leverage marketing automation solutions. Welcome programs, social retargeting, and VIP programs are just a few of the ways marketing automation can make a tangible difference in the lives of busy marketers.

One of the biggest benefits of leveraging marketing automation solutions is increased team productivity. With tools working on the back end to run complex campaigns, marketers are now free to spend their time working through important strategy decisions.

Marketing automation also helps increase click-through rates and conversions. With more emails going out due to automated processes and workflows, there is a higher probability these messages will be opened and clicked. The higher the click-through rate, the higher the possibility these clicks will result in conversions. Marketing automation also ensures brand messages stay at the top of consumer’s minds, whether through increased email cadences, social ads, or 1:1 SMS messages.

Another result of marketing automation is increased customer engagement. Today’s consumers are discerning, and they are more in-tune than ever before with personalized messages and content. With the ability to segment large audiences and send targeted messages to specific groups, marketers can ensure they are sending the right message every time. Consumers will definitely take note of this increased dedication to personalization and continue to engage and respond to brand messaging.

Any Last Tips?

At the end of the day, any marketing campaign is only as good as the results it produces. Marketers must make sure they are continuously measuring success and refining workflows wherever possible. Marketing automation solutions make it easy to A/B test different content with different audiences to track what is working and what isn’t.

For more tips, be sure to check out our newest whitepaper, “Omnichannel Marketing Automation.”

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