What is marketing automation?

The challenge for any marketer is to offer the right product at the right time and thus close a sale. This is now possible with marketing automation. This strategy has been in the news for a few years now and has become the new trend to adopt in any marketing campaign. Companies that have adopted it have seen their conversion rate increase by 50%. Marketing automation tools also seduce for their multiple functionalities allowing a better segmentation of the contacts and to personalize the approach of the marketers.

Definition of marketing automation

But what is behind this buzzword? Marketing automation or automated marketing is a set of techniques that aims to automate some or all of the repetitive tasks of a marketing campaign. It brings into play preconceived scenarios triggered according to the degree of progress of the contact in the purchasing process.

This solution allows you to personalize your communication, improve the customer experience and at the same time boost your company’s sales. Unlike a traditional email marketing campaign that consists of sending the same content to a list of contacts, marketing automation is based on a one-to-one strategy. It allows the development and sending of an individually calibrated email at the right time.

However, email marketing is only one of the many features integrated into a marketing automation tool. It is a versatile solution that also allows you to expand the list of contacts, to refine it according to the profile and behavior of users, but also to assign them a score to optimize the communication process.

What does marketing automation encompass?

The main objective of marketing automation is to generate leads. The tool used allows you to collect information about potential customers. This data will allow us to understand their objectives and to offer them adapted content throughout their purchasing process.

Like a CRM software, the marketing automation tool then allows to record different data on contacts, but also their behavior such as opening emails, filling and submitting forms, downloading content, etc.

Some examples of marketing automation

Marketing automation is not a new concept, as you can see from these examples.

Automate the welcome and follow-up email

This marketing tool allows you to design, personalize and automatically send an email after downloading an ebook or content on a site or following a subscription to a blog. It can also be used to re-send an email to a customer who has abandoned his cart.

Optimize customer onboarding

Customer onboarding is the process of guiding and accompanying new users in the discovery of a site, the services offered or in the creation of an account. Thanks to marketing automation, it is possible to program the sending of a welcome email, then a second email after a few days if the new user has not completed his registration.

Automate the newsletter

Marketing automation can also be useful to automate all the tasks to create and distribute a newsletter. This marketing tool allows the simple sending of an email or a birthday SMS or a content indicating to a customer that items in his wishlist are on promotion for example.

Why do marketing automation?

If more and more companies are turning to this marketing solution, it is not for nothing. Among the various advantages of marketing automation, here are the main ones.

Productivity gain

A marketing automation tool relieves the marketing team of recurring and time-consuming manual tasks. They can save time and focus on strategic missions. The sales department also wins. Only the hottest leads are sent to them. All the information concerning them is also provided.

Lead generation

Scoring leads, as well as lead nurturing, allows you to better know your contacts and to identify leads that are more likely to make a purchase upon receiving a relevant email.

Better multi-channel tracking

Did you acquire your contact through an SMS or emailing campaign, following a publication on social networks or after visiting your website? Marketing automation can integrate these different acquisition channels and adapt the contact accordingly.

Better targeting

The marketing automation tool facilitates behavioral tracking and thus makes it possible to determine the most mature customer. Knowing the behavior of a contact improves the targeting of content. And as we know, sending personalized content is more likely to result in a purchase.

Accelerate ROI and improve sales

Marketing automation increases the conversion rate, generates more leads and consequently improves the ROI of your campaigns. A maximized ROI obviously reflects improved sales.

Possibility to do tests

Before launching a marketing automation campaign, it is wise to perform A/B tests. Carried out on a sample of contacts, they allow you to determine which content is the most effective, but also to verify the scenario.

Customer loyalty

The marketing objective is not limited to the acquisition of new customers. Customer retention is just as important and marketing automation can help with the implementation of loyalty programs and many other actions.

Marketing automation: how does it work?

Opting for marketing automation offers many advantages, but how does it really work? What are the scenarios and the numerous functionalities integrated in marketing automation software?

Types of tools

There are single-channel marketing automation tools that only support SMS, email or social media campaigns. Some publishers also offer complete solutions that integrate all these channels. Other software allows for automatic data centralization or project management automation.

Workflows and triggers

Marketing automation is first and foremost about programming a workflow or scenario. The workflow is presented as a flowchart. The contact that triggers the scenario or trigger takes a branch of the tree structure if it meets certain criteria. It then activates certain actions such as assigning a score, adding to a contact list or automatically sending an email.

Activation conditions may relate to the contact’s profile (age, gender, geographical location, etc.) or to his behavior (downloading content, opening an email, etc.). Data is collected as the contact progresses.

To be more explicit, here is an example of a workflow for the creation of a list of loyal customers for an e-commerce site. By making a purchase, the contact activates the scenario. If it’s their first purchase, they are redirected to a branch of the workflow that automatically sends an email with a promotional code. If it is not, the trigger is listed on the list of loyal customers.

Scoring and segmentation

A marketing automation tool allows not only the automatic sending of emails or SMS, but also the attribution of a score to all your contacts according to the level of interest they have in your brand, your products and/or services. A specific point can thus be attributed to them for completing a form, opening a defined number of emails, etc. But what is the point of setting up lead scoring?

This allocation of points allows you to better segment your contacts and identify the most promising prospects. If a contact has reached a given score, he can be sent to the sales team or offered promotions to encourage him to buy. Segmentation can also be based on other criteria such as identity or behavior.

Integrating your CRM with your marketing automation

Marketing and sales departments are complementary. The integration of the CRM tool with marketing automation allows to ensure the coherence of the customer journey, but also to shorten the sales cycle. Thanks to a marketing automation tool, the marketing department studies the behavior of leads and sends them personalized content so that they can become more mature. The sales department’s role is to push qualified leads to action based on the data collected during the various marketing automation processes.

The steps to follow

Setting up a marketing automation campaign cannot be improvised. It must be done in stages.

Define a content and contact strategy

Developing a clear content strategy is key to nurturing a prospect and getting them to buy. This way, you can send them content that is relevant to their buying journey and can encourage them to buy. Along with creating appropriate content, you also need to define the channels to get in touch with the leads.

Define the sales funnel and buyer personas

The sales funnel encompasses the different stages in the customer‘s buying journey. It’s important that the prospect receives the right content at each level of the sales funnel in order to convert them into a customer. To help you establish a coherent sales funnel and marketing strategy, you must first determine the buyer persona, i.e. the ideal customer. His profile is established according to different criteria such as age, gender, geographical location, objectives, socio-professional category, etc.

Define workflows

For each type of prospect, you need to establish an adapted workflow to convert it into a mature lead. For example, for an abandoned shopping cart, the scenario will include sending a reminder email 24 hours after the cart is abandoned, then a second reminder email after 48 hours and finally a third email after 72 hours to reassure the prospect about the quality of the service or products. For users who have downloaded an ebook for example, the workflow can include sending an email with the downloaded content, then another email with a link to more advanced content and so on to encourage them to make an appointment for example.

Create the required material

By material, we mean content that will be used to educate prospects. This can be blog posts, videos or white papers. If you already have them, they should be integrated into your marketing automation strategy.

Define KPIs

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are indicators of the performance of your marketing campaign. They provide a progressive analysis of your marketing automation and allow you to make the necessary changes to improve its effectiveness. Among the KPIs in marketing automation, we can mention the conversion rate, the sales cycle time, the volume of SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) or leads accepted by the sales team, the unsubscription rate or the traffic on the site.

Who is marketing automation for?

Marketing automation is for all companies that want to improve their customer relationship, but especially for those who generate a lot of leads. This strategy is to be adopted to optimize an email marketing.


Marketing automation has many advantages. In addition to automating repetitive tasks through various features such as lead scoring, a marketing automation tool also provides reliable reports for evaluating marketing campaigns and determining the most effective ones. 

Its implementation is done step by step and requires the establishment of buyer personas, but also of different workflows that will eventually convert prospects into loyal customers. Because, yes, marketing automation goes far beyond lead generation, it also aims to develop the loyalty of the customers already acquired.

The choice of this strategy is therefore essential, but how to choose the marketing automation solution that is best able to support you in the implementation of an effective marketing campaign? You have to take into account the channels supported, not to mention the cost or pricing model, but also the ease of use.

The choice can be difficult. The expertise of a professional such as Gestion BSP can be indispensable. Gestion BSP will guide you towards the marketing automation solution best suited to your needs and will also assist you in its implementation.

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