Everything You Wanted to Know About Marketing Automation: Difficulties and Features

Date: 2020-08-12 | Time of reading: 11 minutes (2009 words)


Marketing automation has become common practice. Since 2011, the number of B2B companies using automation has grown 11 times. By the end of 2020, another 58% of companies plan to implement it in their business. This trend is due to the fact that automation increases sales by 14.5% and reduces marketing costs by 12.2%.

In short, marketing automation is a technology that helps companies simplify and track marketing tasks and workflows. Special platforms analyze user actions and automate key marketing processes. With this technology, companies can simplify their main marketing tasks, increase their efficiency, and increase their revenue.

Marketing automation is suitable for almost all types of online business. It is important to remember that each area has its own specifics, which means that the tools for solving problems will differ.

Business areas that can and should use marketing automation:

  • b2b
  • eCommerce
  • real estate
  • training resources
  • SaaS
  • sales of frequently repeated services — beauty salons, medical centers, and so on

If you are not completely sure whether your business needs this technology, then highlight the main tasks that you face. Below we will tell you if marketing automation can handle them. But first, let's identify the main difficulties and consider options for solving them.

Possible difficulties

At the beginning of the marketing automation process, your company may encounter some difficulties. We will try to consider all of them and tell you in advance about the solution options.

Spoiler alert: These difficulties are easy to overcome.

  1. Complexity of the platform. Sometimes marketing automation services can't provide software with an intuitive interface. In this case, marketers will spend most of their time studying the functionality, rather than building effective strategies. Therefore, it is important to choose a system with a clear interface and a set of those functions that are necessary for effective work. Ask your platform provider to help you with training and to keep you up to date.
  2. Lack of content for marketing automation channels. You understand your target audience, their interests and desires better than others, so prepare in advance all the materials necessary for distribution. After launching your first automated ad campaign, analyze the results and use them to make changes or start preparing new content. Do not forget to evaluate the effectiveness - the materials should not only like subscribers, but also bring the expected results.
  3. Integration with other systems. Not all marketing automation platforms have compatibility with other systems. This makes it difficult to import and export new subscriber data. Before buying a platform, find out if it has integration with other services through the API.
  4. Lack of strategy. It's not enough to buy a platform and set up scenarios for automation to start yielding results. It is necessary to define goals and objectives in advance, prepare tools for their solution. There is no one size fits all strategy - don't try to copy your competitors.

You can avoid these and other difficulties if you plan everything carefully in advance.

Marketing automation features

The main task of any business is to earn more money. You can solve this problem by attracting new customers and increasing the loyalty of regular customers for repeat sales. From experience, we can say that only 20% of users are ready to make a purchase immediately and without hesitation. The remaining 80% must be nurtured, that is, prepared for sale. Marketing automation can handle all this. You can use it to develop relationships with customers who are not ready to buy.

Automation preserves and expands customer relationships. The user noticed the ad, evaluated your offer, and made a purchase. It seems that after the sale has taken place, your relationship should be completed. In fact, you will get more value if you can hold it after the first trade. Offer the client more options that may interest them. Keep track of customer loyalty to the company, keep their attention and engage them in a dialogue with you. This approach to marketing requires more actions than a simple monthly newsletter or social media updates. You will have to track users ' reactions to a specific action and adapt to them. You can't do without a comprehensive approach.

The marketing automation concept is that the right user will receive the right offer at the right time.

That’s why this technology is considered advanced and so popular. Among its main features:

  • optimization of email, push and sms
  • unified customer profile
  • ready-made scenarios for marketing strategies
  • detailed analytics across all channels

Optimization of email, push and sms notifications

It is not enough just to send information on the status of an order by mail or to report once a month about new promotions or special offers. The secret to good newsletters is personalization and consistency! Contact your customers directly, offer what they are interested in and be always in their sight. This can be done by optimizing notifications for all channels: email, push and sms.

How do I know that it's time for you to switch to marketing automation?

  1. If you send bulk mailings and you can't build a dialogue with a client.
  2. You set up campaigns manually for a long time.
  3. Your email campaigns are isolated from push and sms.
  4. Targeting and segmentation are inaccurate.
  5. You don't respond well or at all to subscriber triggers.
  6. You cannot understand whether the mailings bring you income.

Email newsletters are considered the most important channel in marketing in their own right, and this is not surprising. With their help, you can contact the user directly, offer more products of interest to him, give personal discounts and promotional codes. By doing so, you will nurture him and increase brand loyalty. In combination with a single platform, push and sms mailings, detailed segmentation and detailed analytics, the effectiveness of this channel will increase significantly.

We back it up with facts:

  • Push notifications increase user engagement with the app by 88%. Customer engagement triples.
  • 52% of marketers who use email newsletters note that emails help businesses grow and increase user engagement with delusions.
  • SMS notifications are opened by 98% of users.

If all three channels are combined together, their effect will increase significantly.

In the automated marketing platform, you can set up sending trigger notifications. These messages will not have a schedule or limit, but will wait for the event that triggers them. For example, a user has registered on a site and the platform will automatically send them a confirmation email. Or another case: the customer left products in the basket, and you can remind them about it using push notifications. You can read about how to configure them correctly here.

With the help of data on opening, reading and transitions in previous mailings, you can optimize the further communication process. In our Altcraft platform, such information is stored in databases.

Unified customer profile

What can you say about your target audience? Surely you know its approximate location, gender, age and preferences. But do you know every client? With marketing automation platforms, you can track each user: where they came from, which pages on the site they visit, which products they look at, which emails they open, and which ones they stubbornly ignore. So, from the general data about the target audience, you form an idea about each person. After personal acquaintance with clients, you can build communication. Offer the product that interests a particular person, advise them or remind them of incomplete purchases. Become friends.

In the unified customer profile, you can combine data from all sources, from CRM, CMS to Database. This is done for convenience — all the necessary data for building an effective marketing automation strategy will be in front of your eyes.

This is how the customer profile looks in our platform:


Customer profile information is collected and updated automatically. You don't have to put in any effort to do this. Data import can be organized in several ways depending on the size of the customer base, the principle of handling new subscribers and the technical capabilities of the company.

In addition to the unified customer profile, there are subscription resources in Altcraft Marketing. They combine all subscriptions to certain content across all communication channels. For example, a client can subscribe to advertising email campaigns, push and sms notifications. It is not convenient for them to receive this content through sms, and they unsubscribe from them. The user continues to receive notifications about promotions in email and push channels - unsubscribing from sms mailings did not affect other subscriptions in any way.

Tracking helps to get information about the subscriber's actions in messages. It analyzes the message reading time, the number of clicks on links, viewing images, and unsubscribing. AK Pixel collects information about the user's actions on the site. These tools help you keep your data up-to-date in the unified customer profile.

Ready-made scenarios for marketing strategies

Marketing automation workflows, or scenarios, are another marketing automation tool. You can use them to set up mailing lists based on events, motivate subscribers to perform targeted actions over a certain period of time, and run advertising campaigns. Scenarios work to increase customer loyalty and save you time.

In the Altcraft platform, the following scenarios are executed:

  • Individually for each client when a certain event occurs.
  • For a specific group of clients in a specific scenario.

Example of a welcome email scenario:


Detailed analytics across all channels

In addition to optimizing mailing lists, a unified customer profile, and ready-made scenarios, analytical reports are available in the automated marketing platform. They allow you to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns in real time. There are 9 types of reports available in Altcraft Marketing. Here are some of them:

  • Summary report summary.png

  • Cohort analysis cohorts.png

  • Conversion funnel Conversion_funnel.png

It is important to be able to evaluate the benefits of a particular step. In the course of work, our platform collects data, which shows progress and weaknesses. Detailed statistics help you make the right decisions on the further development of your marketing strategy. For example, a conversion funnel analyzes the sequence of steps your customers take. The report shows the number of users who have moved to the next stage. By observing the dynamics of movements, you can strengthen weaknesses to increase conversion at certain stages of the marketing automation strategy.

Still, is automation needed?

Yes, if:

  • Your task is to increase the number of customers, increase customer loyalty and raise revenue.
  • You already have a large customer base, and all your marketing is not personalized and does not bring results.
  • Many of your subscribers are not ready to buy from you. We still need to work on their cultivation.

Automation is not a solution to all difficulties. It is impossible to set up scripts once and wait for high results. This is a tool that will partially relieve the marketing department and give them more time to find an individual approach to each client. You will be able to show your product from the best side, make additional sales and build trust with users. Ease and convenience in communication with you will encourage the client to come back again and again.

Need help with marketing automation? We are always happy to help, just write to us.







If the article was useful to you, share it with your friends ;)
Author: Anna Volkova






You might be interested in:

8 Top Digital Marketing Metrics to Track

Marketing campaign metrics are vital for monitoring and planning marketing initiatives and seeing how we might optimize them for best results.

Read more
Why You Should Clean Your Email List: Tips and Benefits

For those who are unsure whether cleaning their contact list is worth it.

Read more
How Messenger Marketing Works: Benefits and Strategies

Messaging apps are taking over the world and breaking records in app downloads. Read about how to use instant messaging platforms for business promotion.

Read more