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What is marketing automation software?
Marketing automation software helps businesses automate marketing processes and allows for end-to-end management of marketing campaigns including campaign design, tracking, content publishing, customer segmentation, and marketing analytics.
The benefits of marketing automation software
- Effective cross-selling and upselling campaigns: Cross-selling and upselling are complicated processes and pose a number of marketing challenges. For every campaign, marketers need to create customer lists, customize email text, and keep an eye on campaign metrics. A marketing automation solution automates each of these processes by providing users with segmented lists, personalized email templates, and split-testing options. Marketers can also track campaign responses in real time.
- Streamlined marketing operations: A marketing automation solution provides a snapshot of all marketing projects and campaigns in a dashboard, saving managers the hassle of tracking each campaign separately.
- Scalability in sales seasons: The October to December holiday sales season poses a number of planning and execution challenges for marketers. Businesses can lose significant sales opportunities if they aren't able to manage the massive scale of marketing required. Marketing automation software provides email automation, segmented lists, and other features that help businesses manage variable loads efficiently at these times.
Typical features of marketing automation software
- Analytics/ROI tracking: Monitor conversion rates and track the effectiveness and profitability of marketing efforts. Some products also provide reports on customer behavior trends.
- Campaign management: Create a sequence of marketing actions to complete specific marketing goals and monitor real-time performance of multiple stages of a campaign.
- Lead management: Store information on leads and contacts and track them throughout the sales process.
- Lead nurturing: Engage with a lead throughout the sales process by providing relevant information at every stage of the buying cycle.
- Segmentation: Group leads and contacts based on specific attributes such as gender, age, and location. Some products also provide statistics on the likelihood to convert, which can be used to prioritize leads.
- Drip campaigns: Create a process flow for marketing campaigns to guide leads based on actions such as time-to-respond and items browsed. Users can also use drag-and-drop interfaces to program campaign logics such as condition-based routing and follow-up emails.
- Channel management: Coordinate marketing efforts across channels such as email, landing pages, and social media.
Considerations when purchasing marketing automation software
- Anti-spam compliance needs: Businesses need to adhere to a number of spam compliances in their marketing practices. For example, CAN-SPAM compliance mandates that marketing emails cannot have misleading headers and they must include the physical address of the business. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) mandates that emails include a cryptographic authentication process for the email domain verification. Marketing automation solutions help users with compliance by performing quality checks and proactively flagging users if an essential component is missing or a piece of information is misrepresented in an email or a marketing message. Buyers should assess their compliance needs and shortlist marketing automation solutions accordingly.
- Mobile-responsive templates: Mobile advertising is at all-time high, and marketers cannot ignore the opportunity. In fact, mobile advertisements will account for approximately 75% of total digital advertising spend in 2018. This trend makes it necessary for a business to deliver a perfect mobile experience to their audience, and the first step towards this is the use of mobile-responsive templates. A marketing automation solution provides users with ready-to-use templates for all customer-facing pages such as landing pages and email campaigns. Some marketing automation products also help users design mobile-optimized websites.
Relevant marketing automation software trends
- Artificial intelligence (AI) will drive personalization in the marketing automation software space: Artificial intelligence can provide marketers with valuable insights on customer behavior and use this information to personalize campaigns to appeal to the buyers' need. For example, AI can observe a customer's browsing history and click pattern and use this information to provide personalized deals to the customer. Since AI adoption is on the rise , we can expect to see more use cases of this technology in the next three to five years.
- Marketing software will use chatbots to automate manual tasks: The adoption of chatbots is growing faster than ever , including in the marketing automation space. A chatbot enables businesses to interact with their customers and prospects in a more personalized way. For example, a chatbot can help marketers offer real-time deals and discounts to customers based on their product searches and purchase history. This way, marketers can provide more dynamic deals to customers than via an email marketing campaign. We expect chatbot technology to become mainstream within the next five years.