Commonly confused with email marketing, marketing automation occupies a realm of its own. By definition, marketing automation is the process of automatically mass communicating with your clientele and analyzing their online behavior through a number of different mediums, whereas email marketing only tracks activity that stems from emails. Most marketing automation software programs examine your audience’s web activity, zeroing in on every single click within your site, which helps you infer what kind of content readers really want to consume. So while marketing automation almost always involves email marketing as the bridge between business and customer, the two are by no means synonymous.

Marketing automation systems also suggest simple, predictive ways of targeting your audience based on continual analysis of sales lead data. Imagine you operate an ad agency that specializes in digital, print and broadcast ads. Marketing automation software recognizes that a potential customer has clicked on your website’s online advertising services link, surfed around the page and clearly has a specific interest in online advertising. Based on this intel, this marketing automation software recommends that you send the user an email about your online advertising services, promotions, discounts etc. once every two weeks, for example. This software ensures that your customers see content that is most relevant to their needs, at a time when they may be most willing to receive the message. Personalizing mass communication, simplified.

From its name alone, one might assume marketing automation solely speaks to marketers, when in fact, it has tremendous value to sales representatives as well. When a lead seems unengaged or in need of nurturing, sales typically dumps it. Though only a portion of cold leads end up turning hot, marketing automation fishes them out by engaging all leads, keeping even the cold ones alive and potentially converting a handful of them to closed deals.

Depending on the size of your company and the uniformity of your marketing audience, either service may work best to tailor to your company’s needs. A smaller company selling a product or service to a singular niche may not need the extra features in marketing automation software and may end up saving money through email marketing. A larger organization needing to personalize messages and narrow down a vast audience would benefit from marketing automation software. In the case of the latter, a company can easily sync its marketing automation system with its existing CRM platform for a one-stop-shop customer engagement interface. Learn more about Affirma’s CRM consulting specialties, specifically with Salesforce and Dynamics, and make marketing automation software a part of your CRM platform.

Marketing automation software doesn’t completely overhaul the need for human interaction, because marketing after all, is inherently a “people business”. Rather, it helps marketers be that much more engaging with customers. The challenge of determining your target audience is made much easier through marketing automation – letting quality content serve as the x-factor for success.

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