Marketing Automation

Marketing automation refers to the use of software or platforms to optimize and simplify processes within marketing. The software can carry out tasks such as segmentation, integration of customer data and campaign management, so that these tasks no longer need to be done manually. Marketing automation is often an integral part of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and, through the effective use of technology, enables new processes and insights by bringing together multiple channels and touchpoints, different types of customer data as well as lead management and web controlling. The goal is to improve the planning and execution of marketing campaigns, as well as to evaluate the success of these campaigns to optimize future campaigns.

General Information[edit]

In modern CRM systems, many tasks are automated and data synchronized, so that different departments such as sales, marketing, controlling and management can access aggregated data and use it operationally. What is also described as closed-loop marketing includes marketing automation as a part of the system: Where customers are addressed, data is generated and there is ideally feedback that picks up and notes customer feedback - be it opening rates of emails, customer value or instruments for personal addressing in mailings or sales promotions.

This feedback must be processed so that it is useful to the sales or marketing department. This analytical component, the processing and preparation of the data, as well as the operative component (the use of the data) is central to a control loop that can be used strategically and tactically in CRM systems. Marketing automation is part of the operative part of the CRM system and is intended to automate business processes in marketing with a focus on customer contact, customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. Last but not least, various KPIs such as customer value, shopping basket value or return on investment should be increased.

Functionality of Marketing Automation[edit]

Marketing automation is based on various components and functions that depend on the system used. As a rule, however, it consists of the following components that systematically interlock and build on each other. There are both independent solutions and modules that are synchronized with the CRM system.

  • Data integration: Marketing automation as an operational part of CRM is dependent on a database that is counted as an analytical part. The database stores all relevant information and structures it according to predefined classes and properties in order to adapt it to the actual workflow. This includes list management, ensuring the quality of the data, and the first steps towards segmentation. Sometimes data is collected in real time and made available via data warehouse.
  • Customer and market segmentation: There are different segmentation models in marketing automation. Depending on the goals and workflows, specific customer segments can be created based on KPIs, market analyses, personas or target group distinctions. Some segmentations require human input, others are created automatically by the system. Most systems offer a wide range of segmentation applications.
  • Campaign management: Campaigns can be controlled and optimized using data from segmentation and other analytical parts of the CRM (e.g. customer value, costs per order or costs per click). Campaign management is an essential component of marketing automation. Purchase and contact histories, customer groups and other quantitative KPIs can be used to control marketing campaigns and evaluate their effectiveness. Classic methods of sales promotion such as cross-selling, up-selling, direct marketing or dialogue marketing can also be monitored using campaign management and integrated into the system.
  • Lead management: Lead management consists of lead generation, lead scoring, lead nurturing and lead routing. Each lead is assigned different values in order to map the phases of the customer funnel. Based on the phases, actions are then taken to take the lead to the next level (e.g. "sales-ready"). The management of this data is extremely complex, especially for a lot of customer data, which is why direct recommendations for action are helpful if they are based on the data already collected in the database. As a result, customers can be addressed when the company can anticipate a need.


There are numerous software solutions and platforms on the market that enable marketing automation. Depending on the size of the company, different solutions are recommended. T3n has created a clearly arranged table[3] The following is just a small selection for corporations, medium-sized and small companies:

  • Eloqua
  • IBM Digital Marketing
  • Exact Target
  • HubSpot
  • marketo
  • act-on
  • hatchback
  • raven
  • Simplycas

Importance for online marketing[edit]

Marketing automation bundles information from various areas of the value chain and makes it available as resources that can be used operationally. Since marketing is based on a personal relationship with the customer, it is hardly possible for large companies to maintain this relationship in the long term without a great deal of effort. With marketing automation, this is implemented in a way that is scalable and sometimes promotes the relationship between customers and companies - for example, by targeting important existing customers or evaluating newly generated leads in order to set priorities in the communication measures.[1]

In particular, the cross-media connection of different touchpoints and the illustration of the sales funnel is an advantage here: Any contact points in the customer journey can be recorded and evaluated in order to take special measures.[2] Depending on the goal of these measures, aspects such as conversion, brand awareness, or the effects of content marketing can be observed and analyzed. In addition, aggregating data opens up more options for the operational business to optimize customer communication, record customer feedback and better understand customers. Although marketing automation tools are available for all sizes of companies, extensive knowledge of web controlling, customer relationship management and multi-channel marketing is also required.


  1. The definitive Guide to Marketing Automation Accessed on January 7, 2016
  2. The definitive Guide to Marketing Automation Accessed on January 7, 2016