Marketing Automation: What It Is and Why You Need It

Updated: July 11, 2010

Marketing automation provides the solution to many companies' objectives:

  • Improves the quality of leads that are passed on to sales
  • Optimizes conversion or profitability from various sources of leads
  • Measures marketing performance more effectively


The main benefit for replacing manual lead generating processes with marketing automation is that it allows companies to reach out to potential customers in a timely, more efficient, manner.

Here's a simple look at how marketing automation works:

  • A sound advertising and social media strategy is developed, and tactics like SEO and valuable content bring visitors to your website.
  • The website or landing page offers strong benefit copy and valuable content, and visitors fill out forms to become leads.
  • Based on the questions asked on the "contact us" web form AND website behavior (downloads, pages viewed), leads are automatically scored (a model defined before the system is in place).
  • Leads are segmented based on their score and enter various tracks for follow-up. Following up with leads through email is called lead nurturing and includes links to additional valuable content such as white papers and webinars. Nurturing allows increased engagement of potential customers. The more engaged they are, the more likely they will become customers.
  • Higher quality leads are turned over to sales immediately. Lower quality leads remain in the system until additional engagement occurs. In essence, salespeople receive less total leads, as they only receive the quality leads. When they can spend more time with quality leads, their time is spent more efficiently, they close more deals, and the revenue per deal increases, thus overall ROI increase.
  • By integrating with Salesforce and other CRMs, salespeople report their deals and win values, which then are reported within the marketing automation system, which in turn allows us to evaluate what media sources, messages, events or other tactics generate the most efficient quality leads and sales, thus an analyses of "cost-per-deal" can be done.


Marketing Automation is more than a glorified email program. By tracking website behavior of prospects and putting them into lead nurturing sequences, you can truly provide them with unique messages based on their behavior. When messages are relevant, increased engagement occurs and the likelihood of sales increases.

The key reasons to adopt marketing automation into your business is plain and simple:

  • You have a need to increase new customer revenue
  • You have an opportunity to resell/upsell existing customers
  • You have the ability to engage with prospects with relevant marketing messages


Marketing automation won't work properly if you don't take these steps to make sure you're ready:

  • Have an ideal customer profile
  • Know what the customers needs and issues are
  • Have a content strategy that maps out messages toward all levels of your prospect's buying cycle
  • Understand the customer buying process
  • Map the content towards a "drip process" whereby the content is distributed throughout various touch points and delivery channels in a timely,ongoing manner
  • Ensure your current database is cleaned and optimized for the newer system
  • Have a specific editorial calendar grouped for each audience segment
  • Have a pipeline of content ready for implementation- white papers, case studies, webinars, newsletters, surveys, etc. all written and designed.
  • Assignment of roles to those responsible for the activities- managing the platform, the content, and the measurement.
Featured Research
  • 16 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Phone System

    Purchasing a phone system for your business is a major investment. With the average business changing phone systems only once every seven years, it’s important to make the right decision. more

  • 2017 Video Conferencing Trends

    New advancements are also making video more beneficial to a greater range of business areas including marketing, HR, and internal operations. Many solutions are economical, easy to use, and very effective at making communication more personal. more

  • [Infographic] Top 11 VoIP Vendors

    A good VoIP provider will offer additional benefits as well, but many first-time buyers find assessing each option to be difficult. Nevertheless, this is an important step in the buying process because a substandard provider can easily waste both your time and money. more

  • Work Smarter Not Harder with Business Intelligence

    While this may have been true at one time, the days of BI requiring a dedicated team of experts to implement are over. Self-service solutions are making it possible for everyone, including small, local businesses, to easily implement BI in their decision making process. more

  • Best Practices for Contact Center Quality Assurance

    A contact center often brings about a prospect’s first real-time interaction with your company. As such, if it’s not a positive one, they’ll likely look elsewhere for help. With 69% of Americans more inclined to recommend a company to friends and family after a positive customer service experience, you’ll need to exceed expectations on the following fronts. more