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Trust me when I tell you that just by landing on this article, you’re on the cusp of transforming your business. That may sound like a lofty or even ostentatious statement, but with the global marketing automation market size projected to reach $14,180.6 million in 2030 (at a CAGR of 12.3% between 2020 and 2030), the potential for transformation is immense.

Imagine—you could be sipping coffee while your automated workflows rake in leads from your marketing campaigns and nurture the flow of your customer journey. Don’t just skim this over. Dive in, and I'll walk you through how to implement marketing automation based on my personal experience as a Growth Marketing Director.

Marketing Automation: Wizardry That Requires No Wand

Marketing automation is like the wizard behind the curtain—pulling strings to make tedious, time-consuming tasks redundant and keeping your marketing machine well-oiled and humming. Statistics show that 96% of marketers have used some form of marketing automation platform for their business, and that the number of marketers using automation grew by an estimated 22% between 2021 and 2023.

It uses machine learning to automate repetitive tasks, streamline your marketing efforts, make personalization a whole lot easier, and, when done right, can make your ROI shoot through the roof. It's the future, it's dazzling, and it’s relatively straightforward.

Benefits of Marketing Automation

Every marketer worth their salt knows the value of time, and as I mentioned above, that's exactly what marketing automation gives back to you. It's like having an extra pair of hands on deck, only these hands never get tired and work 24/7, tirelessly and relentlessly. Here are the top benefits:

  1. Improved Efficiency: Say goodbye to time-consuming manual inputs. With marketing automation software, marketing tasks like scheduling social media posts or sending email campaigns become a breeze.
  2. Better Customer Engagement: Enhance your customer experience by delivering personalized content based on their interactions with your brand. Automation aids in creating precise customer segmentation and delivering content that resonates.
  3. Improved Lead Management: Transform your lead generation process with lead scoring and lead nurturing capabilities. Turn potential customers into qualified leads and sail smoothly through the sales funnel.
  4. Empowered Data-Driven Decisions: With real-time metrics at your fingertips, your marketing efforts can be optimized on the go. It's the death of guesswork and the dawn of informed decision-making!
  5. Maximized ROI: Watch your conversion rates soar as marketing automation brings together increased efficiency, better engagement, optimized lead management, and data-driven decisions.
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Deciphering the Types of Marketing Automation

Removing repetition sounds great, but what exactly are we automating? Here's the lowdown on some major ways you can fine-tune your marketing processes with a marketing automation strategy:

Email Marketing Automation: This is the vanguard of marketing automation. According to statistics published by LinkedIn, automated email messages have a 70.5% higher open rate and a 152% higher click-through rate than non-automated messages. With templates, scheduling, and tracking open rates, your email marketing game is set to level up.

Social Media Automation: This is a blessing for businesses trying to maintain a consistent presence across various platforms. According to DemandSage, the social media team of a company can save up to 175 hours in a month by automating 50% of their comment moderation on social media. In addition, the right social media automation software can help with post scheduling and automated publishing.

CRM Automation: This streamlines the sales process by automating follow-ups, tracking interactions, and giving you easy access to data for iterative decision-making. Tools like Salesforce or HubSpot can automate your sales process, enabling your sales team to focus more on closing deals. According to statistics, marketers have successfully increased the number of qualified leads by 451% by implementing marketing automation software.

Ad Campaign Automation: Control your digital marketing campaigns in real-time and respond swiftly to changing dynamics like keyword bidding, audience targeting, and performance tracking. According to a case study presented by Google, tails.com was able to increase signups with their generic campaigns by 182% and clicks by 258% using an automation-first approach combining broad match, Smart Bidding, and responsive search ads.

Localized Marketing Automation: This is the strategic implementation of marketing automation tools to execute, manage, and monitor marketing campaigns tailored to particular geographical regions.

A Note on Marketing Automation Tools: Navigating the Market

There's no shortage of marketing automation platforms out there and choosing the right automation technology for your marketing team can be overwhelming. Thankfully, we wrote an article on the best marketing automation software, but here's my take on a few options to help you cut to the chase:

HubSpot: The all-rounder with a stellar CRM and great analytics. Cost wise it scales with your business, but as your contact list grows so will your contract price.

Mailchimp: A solid all around tool for email automation and a veteran in the space. For more complex applications, you might find it a bit on the lighter end.

Marketo: Superb for complex, large-scale operations. However, beware the (steep) learning curve.

ActiveCampaign: Excellent for SMBs, with robust email automation. If you’re looking for an all in one multi-channel tool you may find it doesn’t always meet every item on your wishlist.

Marketing Automation Implementation Step-by-Step

Let’s get to the goods. Implementing marketing automation can be as tricky as juggling flaming torches (without the third degree burns). But with companies that have a matured marketing automation system achieving 32% greater revenue compared to their projected growth—and mature automation users enjoying 79% more revenue than the least mature companies—it’s clear that the benefits outweigh the challenges. Put down the lighter and follow these steps:

1. Set Your Goals

This isn't the time for vague 'we want to grow' statements. This is your chance to identify clear, actionable goals of what you hope to achieve with your marketing automation strategy. Want to increase your email open rate by 15%? Boom, there's a goal. How about reducing ecommerce cart abandonment by 10%? Now we're talking. Be it better lead nurturing, enhanced customer relationships, or increased sales, clarity is key.

2. Choose Your Tools

Consider functionality, pricing, and integrations with apps when selecting a marketing automation platform. Need advanced CRM features? Go for HubSpot. Primarily focusing on email campaigns? Mailchimp's your monkey. And remember, you don’t need a one-size-fits-all solution. A combination of tools can often cater to all your B2B marketing needs without breaking the bank.

3. Map Out Your Workflow

Get out that sketchpad. Now, create a visual of every step of your customer's journey, from onboarding when they first stumble upon you to the sweet moment they hit 'checkout' and officially become a new customer. Identify key touchpoints where you can design marketing automation workflows to enhance each interaction.

4. Create Content

Great content is the heart of automation. Your job is to craft those irresistible subject lines, compelling CTAs, and engaging blog posts that keep qualified leads hooked. Remember, automation without effective content is like a fancy car without fuel. To make it great, use buyer personas and demographics to segment your audience. Craft content tailored to each segment for email campaigns, landing pages, webinars, or even text messages.

5. Test, Analyze, Optimize

The magic words for marketing automation. Launch, measure, tweak, repeat. Keep your eye on metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and ROI, and be sure to run a/b tests to see which elements may improve the customer experience.

Your first pass doesn’t have to be complex, but it has to serve your organization’s goals. Start simple. Think of a single email campaign or an automatic social media posting schedule. Be adventurous, experiment, actively seek feedback, and turn that data into your secret weapon. 

Implement Your Marketing Automation Solution

Now that we've scaled the depths of automation, let's get back to the surface to reiterate the main points.

Marketing automation is so much more than just tech wizardry. It's a significant game-changer, allowing for enhanced productivity and enabling personalized, large-scale customer interaction.

Of course, different businesses have different needs, so it’s important you know your types. Whether it’s email automation, social media, CRM, or ad campaign automation, there's a perfect fit for everyone. From there, it’s just a matter of identifying the right tool for the job, and as you’ll have seen in our list of the best marketing automation software, there’s no shortage out there.

But remember—implementing marketing automation isn't an overnight task. It's a strategic process involving goal setting, tool selection, workflow mapping, content creation, and constant optimization. Yes, marketing automation can get complex like the plot of a Christopher Nolan film. But like his films, the payoff is worth it. With the right strategy, tools, and mindset, it will transform your marketing efforts, your business, and maybe even your coffee intake.

Enjoyed this article? Check out our article on how to implement AI in marketing automation, leave a comment to keep the conversation going, or sign up for our newsletter to receive the best tools, trends, and techniques to your inbox.

Colin O'Hearn
By Colin O'Hearn

Colin O'Hearn is the Growth Marketing Director at Black & White Zebra. He leads the audience capture and engagement strategy by leveraging data-driven decision making, experimenting with new channels, optimizing existing channels, and guiding the development of the content marketing strategy.