When speaking with companies that have not yet invested in a marketing automation tool, one of the most common reasons they give for not making the investment is that they’re already using an email marketing tool, such as Constant Contact or MailChimp (and I’ve even heard people say Outlook is an email marketing tool!) and that they do the same things. If you’re still using an email marketing program, your communications efforts most likely consist of mass blasting emails to your entire database – which may have been considered a relatively effective marketing technique in the nineties and early 2000s, but that doesn’t fly today. Sending mass email blasts nowadays is the quickest way to ensure your emails go to SPAM. You’ll also end up blacklisted and your message will never reach your intended prospect.
If you want to succeed as a marketer, you need a solution that goes beyond sending mass emails and tracking open rates and clicks, the two features of an email marketing tool. You need a product that gives you the power to manage all your digital campaigns, reporting and leads in one place to take your organization’s marketing to the next level.
Sure, marketing automation uses email as one of the methods for finding, engaging, converting and keeping customers, but here are four reasons why email marketing is definitely not marketing automation.
Marketing automation personalizes the buyer’s journey. The buying cycle is more complex than ever and with 70 percent of the buyer’s journey completed before they reach out to a sales rep, there’s a huge need to figure out how to get in front of the prospect in the early and middle stages of their journey so your organization doesn’t miss out on a deal.
Marketing automation provides advanced tracking features that enable organizations to access data about prospect’s online activities and target the right person, at the right time, with valuable, personalized content. Marketers can stop sending mass emails (i.e., newsletters and the generic ‘thank you’ follow-ups) to everyone in the database, and instead have the opportunity to segment and sort their audience into targeted campaigns and cater content to them based on where they are in the sales cycle.
Using marketing automation, emails can be triggered based on specific behaviors and engagement, such as viewing certain pages of the website, downloading a PDF or email clicks. The ability to identify prospects earlier and build out the predefined models of interaction based on activities and needs results in earlier engagement which equals in more influence over the purchasing decision.
Marketing automation integrates all communications efforts. A main benefit of adopting marketing automation is saving time by using one platform to handle all email marketing, content management, social media marketing, lead management and nurturing and analytics. There’s no need to jump between Google Analytics to pull a web visitors report, Hootsuite to post tweets for the day or even Salesforce to see what the status is on a current lead – all of that now exists in one tool.
Marketing automation works hand-in-hand with all these tools to give marketers a full picture of how their efforts are driving inbound leads across all channels, so they can evaluate which tactics and campaigns are generating the best results and identify those that aren’t.
Marketing automation ensures quality over quantity when it comes to leads. The same insights and tracking that enable advanced reporting capabilities, are also leveraged to identify and segment more qualified leads within your database. If a prospect engages with the organization but isn’t ready to buy yet, with an email marketing tool there’s not much to do except keep emailing them the same static content. With marketing automation, individual visitors’ activities are recorded and scored within their prospect record, giving sales greater insight into which prospects are more engaged as well as a history of their online and email activities. Grading can be used to match prospects that fit your ideal customer profile, based on demographic and firmographic information such as company size and geography.
By blending lead score and grade, marketers are only passing the most qualified leads to sales and time isn’t wasted on leads that aren’t good matches. According to Pardot, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate also generate 50 percent more sales ready leads at a 30 percent lower cost.
Marketing automation allows revenue to be attributed to email marketing efforts. With marketing automation the focus shifts away from only being able to report on vanity metrics like shares, CTR and cost per click and sheds some light on more powerful stats such as cost per lead and cost per opportunity. Using this data marketers can tie campaigns back to closed new business, gaining additional insight into campaign performance and ensuring their dollars are going to the right place.
Marketers are now able to give the C-suite data points they care about and tie revenue back to campaigns, connecting marketing spend with revenue generated and providing insight into campaign influence. All of this helps organizations determine where the best and worst leads come from and prospects’ interest and pain points to make decisions for the future.
In addition to these four benefits, a marketing automation system offers landing page and form creation, multi-touch campaign development, native integration with CRMs, closed-loop reporting and so much more. These features make marketing automation more effective and powerful than an email marketing tool, and help organizations of all sizes monitor and manage truly integrated marketing campaigns.