benefits of marketing automation

Many of us can look back to a single moment in our careers and say, “That’s when it all changed.” Maybe it’s when you got that big promotion or when the right mentor came in and developed you into the marketer you are today.

For me, my career changed the moment I was introduced to marketing automation. I know, real original. A guy at Marketo is about to drink tons of Purple Kool-Aid and tell us how marketing automation changed his life.

Well, let me ask you this: Have you ever used something before that completely changed your life? Think about it. Where would you be without the zipper? I’ll tell you where! Your jeans would have buttons, and nobody has time for that. And just for the record, I haven’t always worked at Marketo.

On a more serious note, using a marketing automation solution powered by a marketing platform changed the trajectory of my career. In this blog, I’ll go over the specifics and key features that changed my workflows, improved my productivity, and ultimately gave me more confidence and know-how to run powerful marketing campaigns that scale:

Life Changer #1: List Creation

I’ll tell you this: Nightmares about pulling lists out of SQL tables are scarier than those where you showed up naked to school. Before marketing automation, my database of leads existed in SQL tables. To generate email campaign lists, I ran SQL queries, isolated leads for each email (usually 15 emails a week, meaning 15 lists needed to be pulled), and then sent those lists off to IT to be processed overnight and tagged appropriately so we could track them on the back-end. Obviously, I’d wake up in a panic hoping that the SQL queries pulled correctly because if they didn’t, I was looking at another full day of re-running queries and waiting on IT all over again.

Once the lists were generated and passed back to me in the morning, I loaded each individual list into our email service provider along with each email creative. Yes, at this point, I had no patience left. That was my weekly routine. No matter how many email campaigns I needed to send that week, it was at least a 2-day campaign build, and that’s only if things went smoothly. If we needed to pull a different list last minute or update an audience, the 2-day process would start all over again.

After adopting marketing automation, all my leads existed within the solution. NO MORE SQL TABLES! If I wanted to create an email campaign list, it was a matter of pulling in the right criteria and waiting 10 minutes. No more SQL queries, overnight IT jobs, or list uploads. Imagine using a zipper for the very first time. Mind blown.

Life Changer #2: Less Reliance on IT

Do you need to create a landing page using your email service provider? Put in the IT ticket and wait for 30 days. Need a new email template? Put in the IT ticket and wait for 15 days. Need to upload an image to the server? Put in the IT ticket and wait three days. Oh, IT forgot your ticket? That’s a bummer.

How can you be a proactive marketer when your marketing processes take longer than it takes the Property Brothers to flip a complete reno? In three days, they can build a chef’s kitchen complete with high-end stainless steel appliances, a spacious island, 6-burner gas cook top, and quartz countertops. I can upload a JPEG. Come on, guys!

Now that I’m using an engagement platform with marketing automation technology, landing pages, emails templates, image uploads, and more are in my realm of expertise. A comprehensive solution allows you to drag and drop features on landing pages without knowing how to code. Emails are the same. Uploading an image takes five seconds. I now own the entire conversion process, from email or banner ad all the way down to the web form. With that ownership, I can optimize programs, workflows, and segmentations in hours, not days. Marketing is no longer making hats. We make revenue.

Life Changer #3: Automation

If you consider scheduling an email to go out at 8am the next morning to be “automation,” then yes, I automated everything with my email service provider. But automation alone isn’t enough. It’s not just about delivering a series of ongoing communications. Marketers need to be able to deliver personalized, authentic experiences. Blasting your entire database isn’t relevant or personal.

With marketing automation, I can run engagement marketing campaigns to target leads at the right time. Whether they visited the pricing page or downloaded an asset that has a great complementary asset, I can trigger emails to send based on important behaviors and be there in the moment. My open rates went from 8-12% to 50%. Click-to-open rates soared from 10% to 45%. Unsubscribes seemed to go away entirely. I can now be there for each lead individually, personalize emails based on actions, and engage them throughout the customer lifecycle.

Over the past three years, marketing automation has empowered me to think differently. I don’t see a campaign as sending an email anymore, but as an interaction that will spark hundreds of others—all of which are part of a comprehensive multi-channel strategy. The buyer’s journey is their own, but marketing automation has been a pivotal part of my career that enables me to be there along the way to provide relevant touchpoints and the best customer experience possible.

What has marketing automation done for your career? What’s your favorite time-saving feature? I’d love to hear in the comments below.