Buzzwords have always been a part of marketing. Viral content. Big Data. Gamification. They’re all around us. Heck, you can even make your own.

Before you know it, those buzzwords often become fads and quickly fade away (looking at you, QR codes). However, some of these buzzwords have staying power. Marketing automation is one buzzword that should stay on your radar – even though it comes with its own set of buzzwords.

Here to Stay

The marketing automation market is slated to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $4.8 billion in 2015. Adoption of the technology is expected to increase by 50 percent by 2015. But what does it all mean and why should you care?

Originally focused on email marketing automation, marketing automation has grown into a powerful marketing and sales tool that automates communication programs, lead generation campaigns and lead nurturing programs. The benefits of implementing a marketing automation tool are more than just buzzwords.

Optimization

The “automation” in marketing automation is about more than just automating tasks. Essentially marketing automation is about optimization—whether it’s optimizing the relationship between sales and marketing, elevating the level of efficiency of marketers or improving the customer’s experience along the buying cycle.

Marketing automation can dramatically improve a marketer’s efficiency and efficacy. Say goodbye to manually managing lists, scheduling calendar reminders to send emails and analyzing data. Need an email template or landing page for a drip campaign? No problem. Marketing automation can save time and money, but it can also make your company more agile.

Personalization

Personalization has grown from including a recipient’s name in an email to serving up the right content at the right time for the right audience. Marketing automation allows you to bring together your data and content to give you the ability to listen to and respond to your customers. Providing an experience for your customer with relevant information makes marketing more personal and leads to more and larger sales.

Deliver the right solution at the right time.

Deliver the right solution at the right time.

Lead Nurturing

Your customer’s buying cycle is just as important as your sales cycle. Most will want to do their own research, learning at their own pace without the fear of being bombarded with sales calls. Developing lead nurturing strategies with personalized experiences, guiding the buyer along the path builds relationships with prospects to ensure they return to you when they are ready to buy. Studies show that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales ready leads at 33 percent lower cost.

Sales/Marketing Alignment

Marketers often think sales people are lazy and want all their leads handed to them ready to sign the check. Sales people regularly complain about the lousy leads coming from marketing.

According to a report from the Aberdeen Group, 77 percent of Best-In-Class companies describe the relationship between marketing and sales as “good” or “strong” compared with 56 percent of Industry Average. Clearly sales/marketing alignment is key for success.

Which is the beautiful thing about marketing automation: it has amazing marketing potential, but it’s also a powerful sales tool. Lead scoring and lead nurturing helps identify hot leads while providing custom content, letting your sales team focus on qualified leads instead of those early in the buying cycle.

Plus, marketing automation tools easily integrate with CRM systems giving marketing the ability to monitor sales’ engagement with prospects to ensure marketing-generated leads aren’t being ignored. Alignment is important, but accountability helps you close sales.

ROI

Marketing automation software brings reporting and analytics to a whole new level. Marketers can see which channels and campaigns are driving the quality leads and which ones need some tweaking. By marrying user behavior across all mediums, marketers can make better decisions regarding time and resources. Armed with hard data, you can confidently justify marketing spend to the C-Suite.

Image credit: Seetech-Corp

Jill Jones

Jill Jones is a senior marketing strategist in 352’s Tampa office. She loves all things Florida – the beach, the sunshine and the Gators.

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  • Leadsius

    Great post! There are certainly things going to move Marketing Automation away from curiosity towards real business, that is great. We are aiming for taking away as much hurdles there is for a SMB company to get started. Marketing Automation is not only for the ones with the big bucks, not anymore.