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Why is marketing automation important?

Enter marketing automation, the driving force behind streamlined workflows, targeted campaigns, and enhanced customer experiences.

The power of marketing automation

When French beauty retailer Sephora wanted to boost lead generation, drive website traffic, and attract more high-value potential customers, a new approach to marketing automation played a starring role in the marketing strategy. By introducing a more powerful email marketing automation solution, the company was able to run marketing campaigns with vastly improved personalization, which in turn helped Sephora drive conversions and customer loyalty.

Sephora’s story is one of many that illustrate the growing importance of marketing automation software and strategies. Because marketing automation works. Successful marketing begins with personalization, but crafting individualized experiences is time-consuming and requires resources. It’s impractical – and in many cases impossible – to do it right at scale. Marketing automation provides a sensible solution by enabling marketers to streamline, automate, track, and optimize a range of repetitive marketing tasks, so they can deliver the personalized experiences that customers have come to expect, and generate qualified leads.

Why is marketing automation important

In any function of modern business, automating mission-critical processes can drive innovation and growth. Marketing automation has a transformative effect on companies that need to personalize relevant content and experiences across large customer bases. By automating repetitive tasks, these platforms enable businesses to streamline marketing processes such as email campaigns, social media posting, lead nurturing, campaign management, and more.

From our vantage point at Sitecore, we’ve seen marketing automation create opportunities for operational efficiency in every step of the marketing lifecycle, including:

  • Lead generation
  • Lead nurturing
  • Lead scoring
  • Segmentation
  • Relationship marketing
  • Account-based marketing
  • Measuring campaign ROI
  • Cross-selling
  • Upselling
  • Syncing omnichannel customer experiences

Best of all, when marketers can count on technology to automate repetitive tasks, they are free to focus on the higher-impact activities that demand creativity and strategic thinking. In our experience, this is the big potential win with a marketing automation strategy.

Why use marketing automation

Before the emergence of marketing automation systems, marketers tasked with promoting a new product would have manually crafted individual emails, uploaded contact lists, and scheduled send times. They'd spend countless hours managing campaigns, segmenting audiences, and tracking results using cumbersome spreadsheets or basic email platforms.

In this era before automation, personalization was limited, making it a challenge to tailor messages to each recipient's unique preferences and behaviors. This lack of personalization resulted in generic, one-size-fits-all communications that failed to resonate with target audiences, leading to low engagement rates and missed opportunities.

Fast-forward to the present day, when marketing automation has revolutionized the way businesses engage with their audiences, paving the way toward enhanced efficiency, personalized customer experiences, streamlined lead management, data-driven decision-making, and multichannel marketing integration.

With email automation platforms like Sitecore Send, marketers can create sophisticated automated campaigns with ease. They can define audience segments based on demographics, purchase history, browsing behavior, and engagement levels. The result is highly targeted and personalized messages for each unique segment, in less time, increasing the relevance and effectiveness of every interaction.

The list of use cases for marketing automation is long and expanding, as marketers continue to experiment with the technology. You can start with a basic welcome email that goes automatically to first-time shoppers or subscribers. Then, set up nurture emails that communicate key messages and value propositions at specific steps of the buying cycle. Incentives for loyal customers, happy birthday messages, cart abandonment emails, and purchase follow-ups all have a place in a comprehensive marketing automation strategy.

Marketing automation benefits

From Amazon and Netflix to IBM and Microsoft, companies in almost every industry credit marketing automation with driving significant business benefits. Here are four of the most impactful results you might put in motion:

  1. Greater efficiency and productivity: When you streamline repetitive tasks and automated workflows, you can do more with less. Automated email marketing, lead nurturing, and campaign management, enables marketers to shift their focus to campaign optimization and other strategic priorities that improve overall performance.
  2. Effective personalization at scale: Marketing automation enables big and small businesses to deliver targeted messages and experiences to specific audience segments based on known interests, behaviors, and preferences. This level of personalization fosters stronger connections with customers, increases engagement, and enhances the overall customer experience, driving loyalty and retention.
  3. Better lead management and conversion rates: Marketing automation helps sales teams and marketing teams to manage and nurture leads throughout the buyer's journey, helping to move audiences through the sales funnel, shorten sales cycle and maximize the return on marketing investments.
  4. Data-driven decisions: Marketing automation platforms provide team members valuable real-time customer data and insights that empower businesses to make informed decisions. Whether you want track campaign performance and measure engagement metrics or analyze customer behavior and attribute revenue, marketing automation software empowers you to identify trends, improve marketing initiatives, nurture quality leads into paying customers, and achieve better results from marketing efforts.

Marketing automation strategy

The optimal marketing automation strategy will look different in every organization, but the process of discovering best practices usually follows these steps:

  1. A planning phase, in which you define the objectives and benchmarks that will help you measure success. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the customer journey as well as the right content choices and CX factors that may come into play.
  2. An experimentation phase, in which you get deeply curious about marketing channels and touchpoints, knowing that your marketing automation strategy will be dynamic, not a “set it and forget it” kind of effort.
  3. A platform evaluation phase, when you’ll look at the marketing automation software choices available to your organization and decide what marketing automation tools and features matter most. Top considerations at this stage include support for audience segmentation and personalization, email marketing, customizable forms and landing pages, integration with e-commerce systems, and the availability of live data and advanced analytics.
  4. An implementation phase, in which you’ll start with small, easy wins to automate a few simple and repetitive tasks like lead nurturing emails or social media posting, then progress to more complex processes that involve multiple channels and departments.
  5. Ongoing performance measurement and reporting process will make sure you continue to adapt and evolve your approach to marketing automation and can prove the value of the investment as you go.

The shift from manual to automated marketing represents a significant evolution in how companies engage with customers and prospects. E-commerce businesses, SaaS companies, B2B enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses, and traditional retailers all are turning to this approach.

They’ve concluded that embracing marketing automation gives them a competitive edge and a means of driving sustainable growth in an increasingly complex digital marketing world.

Ready to take the next step? Find more resources about marketing automation and learn about Sitecore Send for customer-centric messaging.

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