Marketing Automation vs. Email Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation vs. Email Marketing Automation

The biggest difference between marketing automation and email automation marketing is that marketing automation is not a tool, but a concept. It is a concept that involves automating specific repetitive marketing tasks; whereas the software required to automate these tasks are called marketing automation tools. These tools can help automate lead capturing methods, nurture leads via email marketing, and increase lead conversions. The functionality of marketing automation relies on understanding customer behaviour and allows for acute content personalisation based on those behaviours. Email marketing, however, is a tool to send out emails quickly. If a marketing automation tool is not being used in tandem with email marketing efforts, then the personalisation of those emails is nonexistent.

To be clear, here are some definitions:

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Email marketing tools: Help send emails in bulk.

Email marketing automation: Helps in scheduling autoresponders, tracks lead engagement on a website, automates email series (like drip email campaigns) and builds email lists.

Marketing Automation: Enables you to nurture leads based on their individual interests, establish brand-customer relationships, create a solid brand image, automate email campaigns (email marketing automation is under the marketing automation umbrella), and capture and identify quality leads.

That being said, here’s how marketing automation and email automation differ most:

Behaviour Tracking

One key difference between marketing automation and email automation is their customer behaviour tracking methods. This is because they differ in what data the platforms collect and where. Email marketing tools can track a customer’s behaviour within your campaign, i.e. how many recipients opened the email, how many clicked on a link, which links they clicked, etc. This data tells you how many leads and customers engaged with your email and how many didn’t. Marketing automation (MA), however, enables you to track a lead’s behaviour every time they interact with your company on the web. Actions like clicking a link, entering your landing page, time spent per page, or if they downloaded an eBook or read an infographic, can be measured by marketing automation. Understanding the entire buyer’s journey as your lead travels through your sales funnel gives your company a competitive edge while ensuring that your customer’s needs are met at all times.

Single Path vs. Customer-Centric Messaging

Email marketing tools typically send out an email campaign to every person on your list, with little room for customisation, and then it’s done. Certain more sophisticated email marketing tools can send the same email to specific segments on your list, with dynamic content that can apply itself to people in different segments, so that they get slightly different offers or messages. However, email marketing tools require a large investment of time on the front end, from email creation to list segmentation and interpreting post-delivery analytics.

Marketing automation also requires a lot of time upfront, but you get more out of it. With MA, you can create automated programs with more choices and marketing options when creating your emails, planning your campaigns, and segmenting your lists. You can send a series of messages to people over time, or automate them to go out to people the moment they engage with your website. Also, MA platforms can manage your leads automatically, and send different follow-up messages based on how your prospect interacts with your communications. Real-time analytics can also inform you of your engagement metrics and your lead qualification levels based on your lead scoring technique. Marketing automation removes the single-path messaging present within email marketing tools and makes your marketing efforts more customer-centric; enabling you to create adaptive, dynamic campaigns that follow individual leads’ actions.

Static vs. Dynamic

Another big difference is that marketing automation allows you to effectively do lead scoring. With email marketing tools, you only know the information that you put in, i.e. contact information. This level of data is too insignificant to make any predictive or informed customer-focused decisions. MA, however, can collect a large amount of customer data and can effectively score your leads based on their demographics, firmographics, and behavioural cues.

Revenue Assumption vs. Revenue Attribution

With email marketing tools you are essentially assuming where your revenue stream is coming from. This is because an email alone cannot be traced to a final purchase. With email marketing tools you can determine whether a lead has clicked a link with a CTA to purchase, and independently discern whether that lead became a customer by checking your CRM. However, there are many touchpoints where that lead could have interacted with your site, exposing them to helpful posts and assets throughout their journey. MA, however, enables you to track an entire buyer’s journey and follow the exact path to purchase, including actions taken outside of email. This way, you can successfully measure purchase behaviour, by tracking which actions and assets drive sales, without making revenue assumptions.

Simple vs. Intelligent Follow-Up

Email marketing tools often offer simple automation components like scheduling email blasts in advance or slightly more sophisticated options like segmenting blasts based on characteristics like time zone. Marketing automation, on the other hand, uses intelligent follow-up capabilities to facilitate intelligent action-based behavioural analysis. The system can optimise the timing of contact with the lead, the message shared with the lead, and even create offline suggestions for the lead, based solely on their behaviour. Marketing automation can also enable account-based marketing efforts, wherein marketers can coordinate and control their communications with multiple stakeholders.

Is Marketing Automation Right for You?

When discerning what tools or MA software is right for you, one important thing to consider is that marketing automation equals leads: lead generation, lead nurturing, and lead scoring. In order to have an effective inbound marketing strategy, you will need to be able to continually keep track of and score your leads. However, in most cases, your marketing automation needs will depend on the extent of your product offering, the rate of your customer journey, the expanse of your content marketing efforts, and the diversity and quantity of your leads.


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