What is Marketing Automation and How is AI Transforming it?

avcontentteam 14 Sep, 2023 • 11 min read

80% of the top-performing businesses worldwide have witnessed a significant increase in earnings and customer engagement through marketing automation technologies. Eliminating redundancy, accelerating tasks, and promising optimal accuracy– marketing automation is a reliable tactic to thrive in today’s competitive world. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of marketing automation, its benefits, and how AI is transforming it to help businesses create more effective marketing campaigns and drive growth. We’ll also discuss some practical examples of AI-powered marketing automation tools and strategies. Get ready to discover the future of marketing automation!

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a program that allows businesses to efficiently target consumers with automated marketing communications using mediums such as emails, websites, social networking sites, and messaging to obtain prospective customers.

Marketing automation solutions allow you to cut down on time, and you get improved outcomes and less human error when repeated activities are automated. You can concentrate on more fundamental duties, such as marketing plan and layout, target building, analysis, branding uniformity, KPI monitoring, and more, rather than doing tedious stuff.

Impact of AI in Marketing Automation

With the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), marketing automation is undergoing another transformation, enabling marketers to leverage the power of AI to gain deeper insights into their customers and deliver even more targeted and personalized content. Here are a few ways in which AI is impacting Marketing Automation:

  1. Personalization: AI-powered marketing automation can enable businesses to deliver highly personalized content to their customers, based on their preferences, behavior, and demographics.
  2. Predictive analytics: AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of customer data to identify patterns and predict future behaviors, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions and optimize their marketing campaigns.
  3. Chatbots: AI-powered chatbots can handle customer queries and interactions, providing 24/7 customer service and freeing up human agents to focus on more complex tasks.
  4. Image and Video Analysis: AI-powered image and video analysis can help businesses understand how their customers are interacting with their content, and optimize it for maximum impact.
  5. Generative AI: The invention of generative AI has opened up new possibilities for marketing automation. It can create unique content, such as product descriptions, headlines, and even entire articles, without human intervention.
  6. Voice Assistants: AI-powered voice assistants can help businesses engage with their customers in new ways, providing personalized recommendations and offers, and creating a seamless customer experience.
  7. Customer Segmentation: AI algorithms can segment customers based on their behavior, preferences, and demographics, enabling businesses to target them with more relevant and personalized content.
AI and Marketing Automation
Source: Forbes

Why is Marketing Automation Important?

Some of the reasons for marketing automation implementation are as follows:

  • Both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies can utilize marketing automation tools to maintain their marketing communications up to date and reach prospective consumers.
  • By automating certain tedious, repetitive processes, marketing automation services are assisting businesses in being more productive. By doing so, companies can increasingly focus on the more exciting elements of their profession and the analytical part of generating leads and customer loyalty.
  • Everything is automatically preserved in your centralized cloud services when you use marketing automation effectively, and organizational procedures can enable you to set task priorities as needed.

How Does Marketing Automation Work?

Marketing automation software works on its prime goal- replacing manual and redundant tasks to save time and effort. It allows marketers to allocate their energy and resources to curating strategies, content, and well-thought problem-solving solutions.

The key steps involved in working marketing automation are:

  • The software collects data about potential customers via digital interactions such as website visits, email clicks, and app usage.
  • It then creates a useful database, identifying and segmenting potential customers from its collected data.
  • Next, it designs campaigns for different segments and incorporates personalized attributes that would hit the target audience right.
  • It makes campaigns more effective by delivering personalized content on the right channel at the right time, which is otherwise too cumbersome, given the vast range of digital marketing platforms.
  • Predetermined schedules and customer actions prompt the software to lead customers down the sales funnel and turn them into qualified leads.
  • Lastly, it analyzes the performance to figure out what’s working and what’s not. It adjusts as needed and sets out to drive greater marketing ROI.

Key Features of Marketing Automation Software

  • Eliminates every task that feels like chores
  • Helps plan campaigns from a single spot
  • Provides detailed customer histories
  • Allows quick access to locating and managing leads
  • Automatically cleans up duplicate records
  • End-to-end email campaign functionality
  • Social media integration to track and analyze customers’ social presence
  • Real-time automatic alerts for internal team members or to other teams
  • Easy workflow creation and management
  • Real-time responses for customers
  • Customizable email and newsletter templates

Examples of Marketing Automation Software 

  • HubSpot Marketing Automation
  • ManyChat
  • Moosend
  • Snov.io
  • Omnisend
  • EngageBay
  • Ontraport
  • SendinBlue
  • ActiveCampaign

Benefits of Marketing Automation

  1. Improved lead generation and lead nurturing

    The development of any company begins with the generating of leads. By automating the lengthy marketing and sales process, your team will have additional time to concentrate on the overall approach and nurturing leads with true potential. The entire lead nurturing cycle is streamlined and automated using lead nurturing automation. Data on customers and leads may be simply extracted from different social networking sources and easily added. Lead scoring and email marketing automation allow you to deliver personalized emails while automating lead classifications. Via auto-responders, you could also make the follow-ups better.

  2. Increased efficiency and productivity

    Your team can complete more tasks at a faster pace with marketing automation.
    Marketing automation software relieves marketing people to focus on more important duties and provides greater outcomes by automating the tiresome activities that they would otherwise have to complete.Your marketing staff may concentrate on creating more interesting content and developing fresh marketing initiatives while automation software takes care of repetitive work. It serves as your marketing team’s virtual workstation, making it simple to assign projects and track the job performed.

  3. Enhanced customer experience and loyalty

    With the help of marketing automation, businesses can lead their customers along with a customized customer experience. A user enters the sales funnel and progresses through it automatically in an automation configuration with no assistance from the marketing team.
    Delivering the appropriate content to the appropriate consumer at the appropriate time is made simpler by automated marketing campaigns.

  4. Better data tracking and analysis

    Marketing automation tools represent the most effective way to measure campaigns and estimate customer behavior on a budget since they provide an all-in-one interface for dashboarding and analysis, closed-loop reports, data collection, and storage. Furthermore, you may obtain a high-level perspective of the implementation procedure via marketing automation platforms. You’ll be able to identify challenges and stumbling areas.

5 Marketing Automation Tips

Best Practices for Successful Marketing Automation

With access to a range of options for marketing automation, it is crucial to understand the best practices to explore the potential of the technology to its fullest.

1. Building a solid foundation with a CRM system

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system brings many benefits, including the ability to precisely segment customers, strategically plan sales activities, monitor sales, boost customer service, and streamline processes. With all customer data centralized within the CRM, you can utilize the best benefits when integrating it with marketing automation.

2. Defining buyer personas and customer journeys

Buyer personas or imaginary profiles of your typical customer base help ensure that you reach your target audience. Buyer personas assist in analyzing customers’ demographics, requirements, challenges, and interests. You must know your target audience’s customer journeys. What questions are they putting up, the avenues they use for information, and what decision stages do they lie in? With answers to these, you can map out a workflow that offers value to the right audience at the right time.

3. Creating targeted and personalized content

With so much information readily available and flooding inboxes with sales content, creating engaging content that strikes the cords right is necessary. Cut through the heaps with targeted content. It could be blogs, videos, polls, webinars, quizzes, live streams, social media posts, etc.

4. Continuously testing and optimizing campaigns

All marketing efforts go in vain when not monitored precisely. With automated analysis, seek the slightest opportunity to optimize your campaigns and include points that add user value. Do not shy from testing innovative ideas. However, ensure that you keenly analyze its impact and make amends as and when required.

5. Aligning sales and marketing teams

Marketing automation helps you improve sales and marketing alignment. The efficient marketing automation tools provide a common platform where both departments have insight into customers, prospects, and leads, thus, enabling improved communication. They can also collaborate on content creation, take combined training, and tidy up data.

Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Software

With a range of platforms offering competitive features, picking the most suitable is often confusing. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting a marketing automation platform:

1. User interface

The look of the platform impacts how you use it. A user-friendly interface makes it easy for your team to understand and use the software. You must look for a clear interface with no steep learning curve. Consider taking a demo or a free trial to explore features/ functions.

2. Features and integrations

Every business has its unique requirements. Therefore, you must consider the features and integrations of the platform. Test the offerings, even the ones you would not require. This additional step often opens doors to new ideas and helps businesses flourish.

3. Customer support

Dedicated customer support will make your journey easier. When learning how to use a marketing automation tool or introducing it to your team, having technical support is of great help. So, consider tools that offer the type of support you want— phone, email, and live chat. Also, ask the software provider about their response times and other resources they provide for issue resolution.

4. Pricing

Consider the features you require and how they associate with the pricing. Pricing should be an important factor but not the ultimate deciding factor. Ask the software provider about the platform’s scalability if your business witnesses a change in size. It is best to choose tools that come with transparency about their pricing.

5. Setup and onboarding

Setting up new software can be challenging. Look out for the level of assistance from the provider. Feel free to ask about the kind of setup and onboarding support and the charges (if any). You must also consider enquiring if they offer assistance remotely or in person.

Pros and Cons Marketing Automation Tools

Weigh the pros and cons of each tool before making a choice. Some common pros and cons that you must look for are covered below:

Pros and Cons of Marketing Automation

How to Implement Marketing Automation?

  • Pick a simple tool: Begin with an easy-to-use tool with an intuitive interface, chatbots, and quick issue-resolution support.
  • Combine it with your website: The first step after choosing a tool is to install a bit of code on your website header.
  • Import your data:You can use the tool as your CRM System if (it offers the facility) or use it alongside another CRM tool like Salesforce. Import your data to the CRM system for easier access, quicker segmentation, and efficient management of leads, along with marketing automation.
  • Start with basics: You can begin marketing automation by sending thank you emails to anyone filling out a form on your website.
  • Automate data segmentation: When collecting data from your website, set prerequisites to segment it. For instance, a person filling out a form can be marked as a potential or qualified lead. You can also mark out which pages they are interested in by keeping tabs on the specific page they visit. 
  • Personalize automation: Based on lead activity, you can set up automated messages to reach the audience at the right time.
  • Improve conversions with landing pages:You must ensure that your messages to customers contain direct links to your landing pages. So, whenever a recipient clicks on a CTA, they must be directed to the page where they can complete a desired action.

Strategies for Overcoming Resistance to Change

Your employees might need to demonstrate an willingness to switch the technologically advanced marketing automation. Here are some strategies to overcome such situations:

  • Listen to their concern with an approach to understanding, not contradicting. Your employee’s thoughts and suggestions will prove valuable in steering your change project.
  • Communicate the reason for change while highlighting the ease of work via automation.
  • Make it about employees rather than talking about how it would benefit the company.
  • Opt for the ripple effect. You can begin by training team members who are natural leaders so that they act as role models for the rest of your employees.
  • Give demos and show them the data. Let your employees see for themselves and acknowledge the need for the switch.

Tips for Smooth Implementation of Marketing Automation Softwares

  • Track and review customer behavior across multiple touchpoints in their buying journey.
  • Identity what are your customers’ motivations, preferences, anticipations, and challenges to engage on a more personalized level.
  • Create automated messaging workflows that power marketing campaigns.
  • Develop a segmentation strategy and create unique customer segments.
  • Leverage the power of automated SMS marketing to send timely reminders of offers, abandoned carts, subscriptions, and more.
  • Gather customer feedback via marketing automation tools and identify areas of improvement.
  • Opt for conversational marketing via AI to improve customer engagement and reduce wait time.
  • Acknowledge the difference between personalization and regular bulk messaging. Addressing the user’s concerns can offer a more meaningful interaction and lead them toward conversion. Consider buying behavior, geolocation, purchase history, name, and other details to suit your customers’ preferences.

Top 10 Marketing Automation Tools

Below is a list of leading marketing automation softwares and the benefits of using them:

1. ActiveCampaign

This marketing automation tool offers email marketing, unlimited sending, chat and email support, CRM integration, contact and lead scoring, custom branded forms, and landing pages. You can access custom reporting and a dedicated account representative through their Enterprise plan.

2. GetResponse

It is a popular tool for automated marketing. It helps you create personalized automation workflows that engage and guide potential customers on each step of their conversion journey. It offers a 30-day free trial and demo with custom solutions for clients. You can use the tool to create automation events based on users’ behavior and take actions based on selected conditions. Its filters offer more precise targeting for an enriched experience. 

3. Klaviyo 

With exceptional email deliverability reporting, this growth marketing platform helps deliver more personalized experiences through various marketing channels such as email, SMS, web, and in-app notifications. 

4. Hubspot Marketing Hub  

An extremely easy-to-use marketing automation platform that includes tools for landing page creation, email marketing, social media marketing, analytics and reporting, content management, as well as search engine optimization (SEO).

5. Adobe Marketo Engage

It is a marketing automation platform with key features, including email marketing, landing pages, drip nurturing, list management, and lead scoring. Its every plan allows audience segmentation and targeting​, advanced dynamic content, advanced personalization, customized user roles, and intelligent cross-channel nurturing.

6. Acoustic Campaign

Formerly known as IBM Watson Campaign Automation, this cross-channel, digital marketing platform provides marketers with immense power as they automate emails, social media, and lead management processes. The pricing details of this tool are available on contact. 

7. MailChimp 

This email marketing solution allows you to convert visitors into customers. Understanding that most consumers today spend their time on mobile phones, the tool optimizes emails and landing pages for smartphones. It also allows you to experiment with different campaigns and curate mindful strategies. 

8. EngageBay

A marketing automation platform ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. It helps businesses with email marketing, website chat, and social media management. EngageBay offers drag-and-drop builders for emails and landing pages, SMS marketing, abandoned cart retrieval, quick reminders, push notifications, and autoresponders.

9. Ontraport

It is specifically designed for entrepreneurs and small businesses. It offers CRM and marketing automation, email marketing, landing pages, and e-commerce. Its insightful reporting and analytics give users a clear understanding of their campaigns’ performances.

10. Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement

This popular cloud platform helps align marketing and sales from a single point. Its data-driven reports, predictive analytics, and many marketing automation features make it one of the most reliable tools in the market. 

If you are looking for a marketing automation software for emails then read our blog on top 10 AI email marketing tools to use in 2023!

Wrapping Up

In a world of digitalization, there are several opportunities to tap into and lure customer attention. Marketing automation can be one of the smartest moves for your business when employed strategically. After all, why spend your time and energy on redundant tasks that can be dealt with far more efficiently by AI?

If you are a business owner, opt for marketing automation and watch how it drives revenue, increases retention, and integrates with all your platforms.

Handling marketing automation is a skill worth possessing in today’s technically advanced scenario. Consider adding a marketing automation certification to your resume to prove your mettle before a potential employer. Keep reading Analytics Vidhya Blogs to know more about AI and its impact on businesses!

avcontentteam 14 Sep 2023

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