What is marketing automation?

aka inbound marketing


According to Wikipedia: “Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organisations to more effectively market on multiple channels online and automate repetitive tasks.”

Marketing automation systems have been around for a long time and while in the past they have been predominantly used for email marketing and nurturing, a new breed of marketing automation has emerged in recent years. These new systems have been designed to help organisations take advantage of the shift towards an inbound approach to marketing, where the emphasis is on attracting inbound leads to a businesses website, based on quality, engaging content.

Examples of this new breed of marketing automation software are SharpSpring and Hubspot – who are often credited with coining the phrase ‘inbound marketing’.

...the ability to go beyond the nurturing process to encompass the entire customer journey

So what’s different?

The key difference between systems like SharpSpring and Hubspot and traditional marketing automation platforms like Marketo and Pardot is the ability to go beyond the nurturing process to encompass the entire customer journey—from first contact to contract.

This requires tools for social media management, campaign management and attribution at the front end as well as CRM and pipeline management at the back end of the customer journey.

Being able to see and manage the entire customer journey is key to creating and delivering the brand experience that will allow businesses to out perform their competitors and close more deals.

Another important benefit of tools like SharpSpring and Hubspot is their ability to integrate both sales and marketing with a common set of goals and objectives as well as providing full visibility of the performance and ROI of both the marketing and sales functions.

Marketing post GDPR

With GDPR making outbound marketing even more difficult, the business case for a different approach has never been stronger. Adopting an inbound marketing approach supported by the appropriate marketing automation tools will encourage website visitors to voluntarily offer both their contact details and their permission to communicate with them in return for quality and valuable content. 

To find out more about marketing automation and some of the key players in this growing market, download our free guides below or contact us for an informal chat.

Want to know more about marketing automation?

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SharpSpring vs Hubspot

A marketing automation vendor comparison

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SharpSpring vs Hubspot