What is marketing automation?

Lori Ely

Have you heard the buzz about marketing automation but you aren’t exactly sure what that means? I’ve been getting this question a lot recently, and honestly, I think that it means something a little different to everyone.

At a high level, marketing automation is all about – you guessed it – automation! The idea is that automation will save you time by automating repetitive tasks while also creating more effective marketing campaigns, both which lead to increased revenue. Marketing automation technology makes it easy for you to manage the segmenting, personalization, and timing to create a customized email experience for your audience.

How does it do this? Well, there are two parts really: the technology and the plan.

Let’s start with the technology.

Here are some of the ways marketing automation helps efficiency and effectiveness:

Automated Campaigns

Automated campaigns allow you to easily manage the workflows and logistics of everything from simple drip campaigns to complex, multi-step campaigns. Automated campaigns such as dues renewals and pledge reminders or event campaigns and welcome programs – and everything in between – are proven to perform better than traditional batch and blast messaging because of the relevance of the content and precision timing.

Advanced Targeting

Advanced targeting enables you to engage members and donors by creating stories and messages that talk to them not at them. With targeting tools like engagement and lead scoring, website page tracking, personas, campaign automation, and database integrations you can develop a deep level of email targeting.

Marketing Intelligence

Marketing intelligence gives you insight into performance and trends so that you can make more strategic decisions both on your marketing campaigns and in your operating plans. The reporting with marketing automation technology gives you powerful information such as multi-channel engagement and lead scoring and campaign performance and response rates so you can prove ROI.

Integrated Systems

Integrated systems and marketing channels transform you into a marketing machine. Marketing automation integrates your email, website, database, and analytics to strengthen your messaging and make managing marketing operations easier.

And now for the plan.

For a long time marketing automation has been a luxury of big B2B companies because not only has marketing automation technology been costly, but it can be difficult to implement as well. Many organizations often find out the hard way that marketing automation is more than just technology. Marketing automation technology without the right foundation can be a recipe for disaster, leading to more headaches than time savings and more mistakes than targeting.

That’s why I am so excited by the new marketing automation features in Informz! Finally, associations, nonprofits, and other organizations will be able to achieve the enterprise-level marketing sophistication of the big guys, with an easy-to-use platform that is backed by tried-and-true services and support to show you the way. We give you the technology AND the plan.

We’ve developed a recipe for approaching your marketing automation plan. Here’s the idea:

Step 1: Develop Audience Personas

Step 2: Define the Lifecycle

Step 3: Map Content to the Lifecycle

Step 4: Automate Campaigns

Step 5: Measure Effectiveness

Step 6: Repeat!

And now for my shameless plug – my colleague, Viv, and I are presenting a webinar that explores this in more detail. Join us on November 13 at 2pm US ET to find out what you need to know to create a strategy to customize the email experience for your audience and set you on the path to success with marketing automation. You can register for the webinar here.

So if you are exploring marketing automation, don’t make the mistake of investing in the technology without the plan to successfully implement. We’ll be talking about this more in future posts, but if you have any marketing automation lessons learned to share, please leave them in the comment below!

Marketing Automation Webinar

About the Author
Lori Ely

Lori is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Informz. Outside of work you can find Lori chasing around her young sons.