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Key Takeaways

Automate to Improve: Marketing automation isn't just about taking repetitive tasks of your team's plates. It frees up valuable time for big-picture thinking and creative strategy development.

The Smartest Path to Growth: Understanding marketing automation use cases, strategies, and real-world examples is essential. With these insights, you select the right tools and optimize your businesses's growth trajectory.

Maximize ROI Through Automation: For CMOs, automating your marketing workflow is a necessity. Discover how to ensure every marketing dollar works harder and smarter.

When CMOs are tasked with optimizing every process for growth—including getting the most out of every dollar invested in marketing—automating your marketing workflow is imperative.

Here’s a breakdown of essential marketing automation use cases, including tips, strategies, and examples of how other businesses have used automation for a competitive edge. Understanding all these features will make it much easier for you to choose marketing automation software when it comes to it.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is the management and execution of marketing tasks and processes with automated software. Handling repetitive tasks like email campaigns, social media posting, and ad management with automation tools frees up time for more strategic activities—all while helping you get the most out of your resources. 

For example, with marketing automation software, it’s easy to set up a series of welcome emails for new subscribers that send automatically based on their actions. Setting up a welcome email process that works on auto pilot enables you to communicate with your prospects consistently—without adding manual tasks to your to-do list. 

Benefits of Using Marketing Automation

Marketing automation offers a seemingly endless list of benefits that help drive measurable growth. Check out some stats highlighting examples of this in action: 

  • Increased alignment across sales and marketing: Over half (51%) of CMOs report that marketing automation investments have boosted accountability between sales and marketing teams, according to Marketing Charts. Additionally, 47% state that automation expedites the transition of leads from marketing to sales.
  • An increase in quality results: When surveyed by Liana Technologies, 60% of marketing professionals highlighted enhanced targeting as the primary advantage of marketing automation. Other notable benefits include improved efficiency and return on investment (41%), better customer experience (39%), an increase in lead quantity (34%), and higher lead quality (33%).
  • A growing competitive advantage: Polaris projects that the global marketing automation market will reach $13.71 billion by 2030, highlighting its growing adoption and the increasing value businesses place on these tools​. 

Marketing Automation Use Cases

Consider a few key use cases where purpose-built digital marketing automations can help you reap major efficiency gains: 

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#1. Lead Generation

Capturing leads: Automate the process of collecting leads through forms on your website, landing pages, or social media—any owned marketing channels can apply here. 

With automation, you can be sure every lead is captured and routed to your CRM, eliminating manual entry mistakes. Use automated follow-up emails to engage these leads immediately to keep prospects engaged from the moment they express interest.

Onboarding: Automated onboarding sequences welcome new customers or subscribers. Harness your email service provider (ESP) to create and send a series of emails that introduce your product, provide useful tips, or even guide them on how to get started using your solutions. 

Introducing automation to the onboarding process is a surefire way to consistently nurture prospects and increase retention rates. 

Lead scoring: Automated lead scoring is one of the best ways to make sure both marketing and sales teams are focusing their efforts on the best-fit accounts that are most likely to convert. Use marketing automation software to assign scores to leads based on key buying signals. The best solutions are able to automatically notify your team when it picks up a predetermined buying signal—giving your team a first-mover advantage. 

Lead nurturing: It’s not enough to capture leads—marketing teams need ways to nurture them through the sales funnel. Personalization at scale with relevant content based on their interests and behaviors takes you a long way when building customer relationships. Your brand stays top-of-mind and the likelihood of conversions go up. 

INDUSTRY STATS

INDUSTRY STATS

Marketing automation tools are heavily used by 83% of businesses with marketing budgets over $570,000, according to Pedalix’s survey of more than 460 B2B companies.

-Pedalix Marketing Automation report 2022

 

#2. Social Media Marketing

Streamlining multi-platform workflows: Ideally, marketing teams would use one centralized social media marketing platform to post content, engage with followers, and track performance metrics like brand sentiment and brand reach. 

Though a lot of businesses tend to work with siloed solutions, automating the management of all your social accounts is a good start. It’s one of the best ways to secure consistent branding, save time, and focus on strategy rather than manually posting.

Campaign planning: Use automation for comprehensive campaign planning. Automate the scheduling of posts, tracking of engagement, and measurement of results. 

Optimizing future campaigns hinges on gathering valuable insights that’ll help you make data-driven decisions. But that can only happen if you apply automation across your end-to-end campaign planning and launching process that you can iterate and refine as you track and analyze ongoing campaign data. 

Post scheduling: Schedule social posts, blogs, videos, and any other content in advance to maintain a steady stream of content. Use automation to post at optimal times, reach a wider pool of your target audience, and analyze engagement. 

This way, your marketing channels stay active and relevant—even during off-hours or holidays. Take it a step further and consider integrating your social media platforms with your CRM and email marketing tools for a unified view of your customer interactions. 

INDUSTRY STATS

INDUSTRY STATS

Nearly half (48%) of B2B marketers say they have some, or partial automation throughout their customer journeys, compared to only 13% who say they have no automation. Approximately 39% of B2B marketers report to have mostly or fully automated customer journeys.

-Insightly, New research: The 2023 State of Marketing Automation

 

#3. Email Marketing

Setting up email sequences: Pre-scheduled email sequences are a powerful tool for consistent communication that helps lead prospects through the buying process without manual intervention. Email marketing automation tools typically make this an easy process with visual sequence builders and pre-designed templates. 

Onboarding and triggers: Use automation to send personalized onboarding emails and trigger messages based on user actions, segments, and tags. It’s a way to meet your prospects where they’re at with the right messaging or content where and when they need it. Continue to boost engagement based on key metrics like click-through rates, open rates, and unsubscribes.

Managing email lists: Automate list management to keep your email lists clean and up-to-date—reducing bounce rates, improves deliverability, and making sure your messaging reaches the right audience. Integrate your email automation with your CRM to tailor messages based on detailed customer data. Start by mapping out your customer journey and identifying key touch points to automate. 

A/B testing and optimization: Use automated A/B testing to experiment with different subject lines, content, and send times. Automation allows you to quickly identify what works best, optimizing your marketing campaigns for higher open and conversion rates.

INDUSTRY STATS

INDUSTRY STATS

A majority (55%) of email marketers automate onboarding and post-purchase emails. Additionally, 32% automate subscriber re-engagement emails, and 31% automate customer reactivation emails.

 

-Litmus, The 2023 State of Email Workflows Report

 

#4. Personalization

Gathering data and insights: Automate data collection from all customer touchpoints to gain deep insights into their behaviors, wants, and needs. Use this data to tailor your marketing efforts so they resonate with individual preferences and needs. 

Audience segmentation: Automatically segment your audience based on demographics, behavior, and purchase history. This ensures targeted, relevant messaging that improves engagement and conversion rates. Do this by setting up rules and criteria in your platform that dynamically categorize contacts into different segments based on their attributes and actions.

Creating dynamic content: Use AI in marketing automation to deliver dynamic content—like social ads, personalized product recommendations, or retargeting campaigns with tailored offers—that changes based on user data. This personalizes the customer experience, making each interaction more relevant and compelling. 

Live chatbots: Use automated chatbots to provide personalized customer support and recommendations in real-time with relevant responses to customer queries. Integrate these automation strategies with AI tools to predict customer needs and personalize interactions at a deeper level. Start by identifying key data sources and automating their integration for a seamless, personalized marketing approach.

INDUSTRY STATS

INDUSTRY STATS

It’s estimated that the global market for marketing automation will reach $13.71 billion by 2030.

-Polaris Market Research Report 2022

#5. Analytics and Reporting

Tracking campaign performance: If it isn’t being tracked it isn’t being improved. It’s why automatically tracking key campaign performance numbers will help put you in the driver’s seat so you can adjust your strategy quickly and gather better outcomes. Put simply, automation ensures you never miss critical data points.

Measuring ROI: Are you getting a true return on your campaign investments? Automated ROI tracking provides a clear view of profitability, helping you allocate resources to maximize returns. This data-driven approach also makes sure you’re spending smarter. 

Setting up custom reports: Save time creating and distributing custom reports with tailored automation that pulls up data based on your specific needs. Custom reports provide insights at a glance that give you visibility into your marketing performance. 

Identifying upselling opportunities: Automation can help you analyze customer data and identify potential upselling opportunities. In turn, B2B marketers are able to create targeted offers for customers who are most likely to buy, increasing sales. Start by defining key metrics and setting up automated dashboards to monitor these numbers effortlessly.

INDUSTRY STATS

INDUSTRY STATS

With a market share of 37.5%, Hubspot leads the marketing automation market, followed by Welcome and Oracle Marketing Cloud.

 

-Datanyze, Top Marketing Automation Technologies

#6. Customer Retention

Automating loyalty programs: Creating and maintaining loyalty programs requires a lot of moving parts working together. Thankfully, tasks like point tracking, rewards distribution, and personalized offers are easy to automate to keep customers engaged and encourage repeat purchases. 

Depending on how sophisticated your automation features are, you can set up triggers based on customer actions (such as purchases or interactions) to automatically update point balances, distribute rewards, and send personalized offers via email or push notifications.

Tailoring offers and rewards: Personalized incentives increase customer satisfaction and loyalty—but automation makes sure those offers arrive at the right time to the right customers. One way to enhance your offers and rewards through automation is by using machine learning algorithms to predict customer preferences and purchasing behaviors, then automatically generating and sending tailored promotions based on your findings. 

Win-back campaign planning: Automation allows you to systematically reach out at the right time, reducing customer churn and improving the chances of reactivation. To do this, deploy automated win-back campaigns to re-engage inactive customers and minimize churn with existing customers.  

Send personalized emails with special offers to entice them back. Start by integrating your CRM with your digital marketing automation platform to analyze customer data and set up rules that trigger personalized offers based on data like purchase history, browsing behavior, and engagement levels.

Cart abandonment and shopping cart notifications: Automated cart abandonment campaigns can significantly boost sales recovery. Use automation to send reminders to customers who abandon their carts. These notifications can include personalized discounts or product recommendations to encourage completion of the purchase. 

Start by mapping out key customer touchpoints and setting up automated workflows to maintain continuous engagement across the entirety of the buyer’s journey. 

INDUSTRY STATS

INDUSTRY STATS

Marketers cited optimizing their overall strategy and increasing data quality as their top two goals for improving automation in 2023. Identifying prospects, optimizing campaign messaging, and increasing personalization followed in order of importance.

 

-Ascend2, The State of Marketing Automation 2023

 

Examples Of Marketing Automation In Action

Get inspired by marketing software and its automation capabilities with a few case studies. 

1. HubSpot and Momentive

Momentive, a data and insights company, streamlined its marketing processes using HubSpot Marketing Hub Enterprise. By automating lead qualification and integrating several of its applications, Momentive reduced lead qualifying processes by 90% and sped up lead delivery by an impressive 96%. 

Now, the entire organization uses workflows to automate its simplified qualification processes—going from 20 disparate lead qualifying processes down to two. 

Efficiencies and automation have also led to a faster turnaround on emails and fewer emails overall. Leads are also segmented and nurtured with relevant workflows. This saves Momentive time while also ensuring consistency. 

2. Shopify and Paperlike

Paperlike, a consumer electronics company, optimized the iPad drawing and writing experience with a small, agile team. By using Shopify Plus tools like Flow, Scripts, and Launchpad, Paperlike automated most tasks, maintaining efficiency and scalability. 

These automations allowed it to operate globally with just six team members, including the founder. Automation helped Paperlike achieve a 180% annual growth in customers and revenue while serving over 500K customers in 176 countries. It did it all while maintaining 30-hour work weeks.

3. Zapier and Veo

Veo, a sports recording and analytics company, optimized its lead management and sales process by automating data migration from social media to its CRM with Zapier automations. Veo reduced its cost per lead by 20% and increased its lead conversion rate to 7.5%. 

This efficiency allowed Veo to double its headcount in 1.5 years and save thousands of hours of manual work. Additionally, tailored email journeys increased from 10 to 50, providing automated personalized experiences and forgoing generic messaging. 

Join For More Marketing Automation Insights

Today, staying competitive means implementing marketing automation across your strategy. Streamlining marketing processes, enhancing your customer experience, and driving bottom-line growth depend on it. 

The key takeaways:

  • Automate repetitive tasks to maximize resource usage and focus on higher value work.
  • Use automated data-driven insights to personalize customer interactions and improve engagement faster.
  • Create automated workflows to nurture leads and increase conversions.

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Stephanie Hood
By Stephanie Hood

Stephanie Hood is an experienced marketing professional and Editor of The CMO. With nearly a decade spent as Marketing Manager at Discover Holidays and Executive Editor at VIVA Lifestyle & Travel, she built her career leading editorial and marketing teams and strategies that turn six-figure budgets into seven-figure profits. She now enjoys connecting with the world's top executives to learn their secrets to business success, and shares those insights right here with her community of like-minded professionals. Curious what she’s uncovered? Be sure to sign up for The CMO newsletter.