marketing automation

The Rise and Rise of Marketing Automation

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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So you’ve got your marketing strategy up and running—or is it walking?

You’re doing a few email campaigns here and there, maybe a social media post or two…

It’s going okay, and by all means if you’re chasing just “okay” then kudos to you. You’ve achieved your goal. But if you’re ready to take the next step and really build some momentum, then it could be time to look at marketing automation for your business.

Maybe you’ve heard of marketing automation, but aren’t sure exactly what it is—and you wouldn’t be blamed if you had no idea about it at all.

Put simply, marketing automation is the process of automating marketing campaigns with software. Tools like HubSpot, Pardot, Infusionsoft and Marketo are some of the more commonly used marketing automation programs, but there are many more out there.

And it seems we’ve now reached a time where the principles these brands champion are becoming hard to ignore.

Is it the right time to start paying attention to these names?

The marketing automation industry has enjoyed rapid growth until this point but it’s only the beginning. The accessibility of these tools to everyone is increasing and there’s no doubt we’ll see more and more competitors joining the landscape.

But does that mean it’s the right solution moving forward? And more specifically, does it mean that it’s right for your business?

Will marketing automation benefit your business?

A recent report by HubSpot on marketing automation suggests that it all comes down to positioning and timing. When deciding if your business would benefit from this type of marketing, ask yourself the following:

  • Are you generating a steady flow of new and qualified leads?
  • Is your sales team overwhelmed with the number of quality leads you’re passing along to them?
  • Has marketing and sales agreed on what conversations should happen with marketing and which with sales?
  • Do you have an efficient content strategy mapped to your buyer’s journey?
  • Are you tracking your leads’ digital body language across every touch point and marketing channel (not just email)?
  • Do you have a proven lead nurturing strategy that you want to scale?

By answering these questions you will discover if you have the systems, quality customer base (and means of reaching them) in place—and therefore if your business is in the best position to make the most of all that marketing automation has to offer.

Another point to consider is: do you have the ability to generate related content that will move your potential customers through the automation process, or “funnel”? 

It’s important to understand that marketing automation isn’t as simple as setting up a MailChimp account and sending out a few newsletters, or just signing up and paying your monthly fee.

For marketing automation to have the greatest impact on your business, your systems need be solid and you must have a plan mapped out of what you want to achieve. Even with the superior features these marketing automation services offer, there are still some questions that will need to be addressed to ensure your business is ready.

The Road Ahead for Marketers 

With tons of material on the topic—which may have encouraged you, or driven you away—it’s easy to get overwhelmed and caught in the specifics.

The first step marketers should take is to look inwards. Determine if your existing customer base is a quality one. Determine if your data is good. Otherwise it might be wiser at this time to direct your funds and efforts into your inbound marketing campaigns to build on these areas.

One thing is certain: these software companies will become giants in their own field. The expanding marketing automation industry is at a tipping point. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when the floodgates burst. A matter of when we start to pay attention to the elephant in the room.

And a matter of when marketing automation becomes a buzzword—if it hasn’t already.

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