Marketing Automation 101

Jan 23, 2017

By: Craig Spooner

Not so many years ago, “marketing automation” was a buzzword used to impress clients during meetings. These days, marketing automation has become an essential part of marketing operations.




What Is It?

According to Oxford Reference, marketing automation is “a software system that enables the automated management and measurement of repetitious marketing tasks and workflow across a wide range of media during the execution of marketing campaigns.”

These repetitive marketing tasks can include customer segmentation, email marketing, measurement of ROI, managing content, and more. Not only does marketing automation software simplify these tasks, it also allows you to combine metrics from multiple campaigns—direct mail, outbound calls, digital—to get a better picture of your marketing as a whole.


Common Features

Customer Segmentation and Lead Generation/Nurturing

Marketing automation software allows you to send the right message, at the right time, to the right person. Every movement a prospect makes gets noted by the software to ensure that he or she is being moved through the sales cycle appropriately. This will nurture your leads in a way that’s virtually impossible to do without marketing automation software.

Data Management and Analytics

Need proof that your marketing campaigns are effective? Need help monitoring your social media presence? The analytic tools available in marketing automation allow you to track your prospects and customers. Data management tools help keep your data clean to ensure that your segmentation and analytics are as accurate as possible.

Content Management

We know content marketing drives sales in the K-12 market. Marketing automation software helps manage content and recycle that content as often as possible. Inbound marketing is crucial, and marketing automation software can help organize the process.


Major Players

There are literally hundreds of reviews online of different marketing automation options. Here’s a quick rundown of the most commonly used platforms depending on organization size.

Organizations of 10+ Users

According to Forbes, the two marketing automation platforms that large organizations use are Marketo and Eloqua. Both platforms feature tools for lead management, campaign management, and analytics. Depending on the goals of your organization, you’ll want to study the differences between the two platforms.

Organizations With Fewer Than 10 Users

Forbes cites three marketing automation platforms as best for small to mid-sized organizations: HubSpot, Pardot, and Act-On. These tools are cheaper than Marketo and Eloqua, and are optimized for smaller, non-enterprise organizations. Again, which platform you chose will depend on the goals and priorities of your organization.           

There is no right or wrong marketing automation software as long as it’s able to meet the needs of your organization. Simply understanding and beginning to use marketing automation is the first step to smarter, stronger marketing campaigns.


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