What on earth is Marketing Automation?

Amongst all the buzzwords in digital marketing, marketing automation is one of the least understood, yet most powerful concepts.

As technology revolutionises and disrupts every sector of the economy and how we live our lives, the way that marketing is done has evolved at lightning speed over the past decade.

The stitching together of technology with sales and marketing creates a whole new world where highly personalised, targeted processes and communications happen instantly without the need for constant human input.

But don’t be fooled into thinking marketing automation lacks the human touch!

At the heart of marketing automation lies creative marketing campaigns, well thought out workflows and highly personalised communications.


So what exactly is marketing automation?

World War II computer genius Alan Turing said:

“A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.”

This is known as the Turing Test. We are at the point now where smart marketing automation makes this a reality.

Here’s our definition of what marketing automation is:

Using technology to automate marketing processes that would traditionally have been done manually – or not at all.

It can be applied to customer relationship management, email marketing, social media marketing and more (note: it is way more than just email marketing).

The goal is to automate the task of nurturing prospects to the point where they are ready to buy or engage in a sales conversation in such a way that the whole process feels natural.

At no point should the prospect feel that they are part of an automated cycle of communications.


How marketing automation helps grow your business faster

The reason it works so well is down to the three T’s of marketing automation – Targeting, Timing and Tenacity.

Most sales are lost due to lack of persistent follow up or because a relationship has not been nurtured with the prospect.

Marketing automation allows you to target the right prospect at the right time with the most appropriate message – and follow up on any leads until such time as they are ready to buy.

The reason marketing automation is of interest to business owners is that it increases your efficiency and ability to grow fast. It allows you to create a highly personalised and timely series of communications, sent to one individual at a time.

This can all be happening with multiple prospects at any one time, something that would be impossible to manage manually at scale.

Marketing automation allows you to focus your time on crafting excellent content, rather than on managing the process. Your content and communications are customised for the prospect and delivered at the most appropriate time.

Marketing automation evolves constantly. The very early days of marketing automation included things like ‘mail merge’ to automate the process of sending one piece of communication to many recipients.

These days, marketing automation delivers a highly personalised experience to one person at a time – at the right time – based on their behaviour and interests.


Don’t be blinded by the science

There is no silver bullet that achieves the perfect marketing automation solution for everyone.

Marketing automation doesn’t require a massive investment in an all-singing all-dancing enterprise platform.

The key is to pick and choose technology that will help with whatever marketing task you need done – especially for repetitive tasks and standardised communications.

The starting point is typically to create a workflow based on the buying journey that your prospects take.

Marketing automation includes any use of technology that helps enhance, streamline or extend your marketing processes.

For example, an autoresponder email sequence triggered when someone completes a form or the ability to schedule social media posts. Or prioritising leads and creating customised emails based on segmented lists. Even exit intent popups or canned responses in Gmail count as marketing automation.

Yes there are enterprise level marketing automation platforms that bring together various aspects of marketing automation in one single system. But you don’t need to start at that level in order to experiment with marketing automation.

At its best, marketing automation creates, as Ryan Deiss calls it, an Invisible Selling Machine. It is invisible because it happens magically without your constant intervention – and the prospect is unaware of the technology behind the process.

In short, the best marketing automation passes the Turing Test.

To find out more check out our upcoming workshops.

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