Types of marketing automation tools
Read ten different articles, and you’ll find ten different lists of what constitutes marketing automation software. And those lists can be as expansive or restrictive as you can imagine, based on the writers’ definitions of “marketing activities.” Some lists lump operational systems for inventory management, pricing, distribution (for example, sales channels), revenue management, and competitive intelligence into the category of “marketing automation tools.” With that said, here is a list of possible marketing automation tools.
- Customer relationship management (CRM)—automates sales processes and manages customer, order, and product data, which can be used for marketing automation
- Sales force automation—handles sales processes, manages data, and offers analytics
- Email marketing—facilitates the setting up of web-based forms and auto-responses, as well as a variety of reports (clickthrough rates, open rates, nonsubscriber, and more)
- Social media—automates many aspects of social media marketing including content publishing, scheduling, monitoring, and analytics
- Workflows—removes the human element from business processes, including marketing processes
- Lead management—automates the generation, scoring, and use of sales or marketing leads
- Analytics—visualizes and identifies patterns in market and customer data
- Pricing—automates many of the processes involved in setting competitive pricing (for example A/B testing or demand estimation) usually within an ecommerce environment
- Digital advertising and promotion—refines and automates much of the ad creation process and bidding strategies across digital channels
- Loyalty—automates key components in the promotion and administration of loyalty programs
As you can see, today’s digital marketing campaigns have a huge number of components. There are various solutions available, from point solutions that need to be integrated with other solutions to all-in-one marketing automation solutions that support several (if not all) of the tools and capabilities listed above.
Finally, marketing automation helps you read a prospective buyer's online behavior—digital body language—indicating what product or service they’re interested in and where they are in the buying process. Based on these observations, marketers can nurture the prospect throughout the sales process with high-value content.
As marketing shifts from bulk outbound messages to understanding and facilitating each prospect’s buying process, marketers need new technical capabilities. Marketing automation can guide the conversations, timing, and personalization needed to make the shift.