In simpler times, there was email marketing and marketing automation. But today, there’s an eruption of buzz around “automation.” The lines between email marketing and marketing automation are becoming hazy as traditional email marketing platforms are increasing their number of features and adopting this “automation” tone. It seems like “marketing automation” has become the lifeblood of every marketer and the stats support that, with 75%– of the 56% of companies currently using email marketing–planning on investing in marketing automation this year. Naturally, the only way for email marketing companies to keep up are to try to disguise themselves as a form of marketing automation. As the differentiation between email automation and marketing automation continues to become more confusing, how do you spot a true marketing automation platform?

What Differentiates True Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a far-more robust software that is designed for marketing departments and teams to automate processes and more efficiently market to prospects throughout the buyer’s journey across channels to drive conversions. Key features allow you to leverage powerful data and analytics to create strategical and beautiful conversion-focused marketing messages (emails, landing pages, forms, etc,) to attract and capture leads, drive conversions and increase ROI. With more automation companies offering drag-and-drop landing page and form builders and reporting options, it’s important to understand that marketing automation extends farther with essential marketing features; such as lead scoring, website tracking and robust reporting.

Essential Marketing Automation Product Features

Lead Scoring: A true marketing automation platform will offer a handful of powerful lead scoring models for you to assign value to specific actions that a prospect may take. This will track a lead through the buyer’s journey. For each email open or click, content download, premium page visit or anything else indicative of interest, your platform will automatically track, assign value and alert you when it’s time to strike. This is an essential feature of any marketing automation platform that allows marketers a more efficient Sales process to drive conversions.

Website Tracking: Website tracking is a feature often overlooked by email automation companies, which only offer campaign performance reports. Website tracking is the bread and butter of any marketing team, capturing leads information via form completes and then tracking that prospects engagement with their website pages. For example, the knowledge that a prospect has visited your pricing page followed by a demo request page is hugely powerful when it comes to understanding a prospects interest, preferences and needs. A nice bonus is having the ability to send yourself or a salesperson a custom alert whenever a prospect–even one that Sales is already working–visits your pricing page.

Robust Reporting: As mentioned above, email automation tools only offer a birds-eye view of data related to campaign performance. For example, engagement broken down by device, browser, geographical location, gender, etc. True marketing automation reporting gives high-level visibility into each prospects buyer’s journey, including the channel that first drove a site visit, campaign engagement, social engagement, website engagement, and downloads. With the ability to drill down into data and identify specific prospects and gain more understanding into all of your marketing efforts.

When on the hunt for a marketing automation platform, don’t get caught up in the noise that the “automation technology” is putting out there. The new email automation trend is a sly disguise and there’s no doubt that the platforms are becoming more robust, but they aim for features they can claim as ‘automation’ vs. the scalability of their email platforms. That said, their tools are still watered down compared to true marketing automation.

Get the most out of your marketing technology investment by ensuring you have a platform that gives you the core functionality a marketer needs that saves money long-term (compared to the cost of switching.) See more of the features that true marketing automation platforms, like Salesfusion, becoming Sugar Market, provide.

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