Key Marketing Automation Terms You Need to Know

  • Categories:

    Marketing Automation

  • Date:

    April 13, 2022

Key Marketing Automation Terms You Need to Know

Marketing Automation

Most businesses understand the importance of generating leads and engaging with them throughout the journey. But what’s a marketing department to do with a glut of data or, worse, scant information on potentially high-value contacts? Marketing automation helps put data to work, implementing processes that allow marketing teams to scale their efforts and make everything more efficient and effective. However, it can also be pretty daunting if you aren’t sure what it is or haven’t had a lot of experience using it.

If you’re interested in how marketing automation can take your business to the next level or simply want to know the facts behind some of the key terms, we put together the following list to help you brush up on your knowledge and vocabulary.

1. Marketing Automation

    Marketing automation uses software to automate repetitive tasks so that sales and marketing teams have more time to focus on strategy and other priorities. It also helps deliver a more personalized experience for customers and effective communication throughout the customer journey. A marketing automation tool has the ability to take repetitive tasks such as email and ad campaigns (among others) off your team’s hands with the help of a CRM to streamline your marketing process.

    2. Customer Relationship Management

      Customer relationship management maintains a company’s current and potential customer bases and streamlines marketing processes. When people talk about CRM, they are usually referring to a CRM system such as HubSpot or Salesforce. CRM data is used to nurture contacts throughout the customer journey, meaning it includes marketing, sales, customer service and other interactions.

      3. Customer Segmentation

        Customer segmentation is the best practice of breaking your customer base into categories to help determine the most effective outreach for those bases. These categories generally reference common characteristics and can differ depending on your industry. For example, in business-to-business marketing, you may categorize customers based on their industry, location or company size. In business-to-consumer marketing, you may use the following factors for categorization: age, gender, employment status and so on. Segmentation helps you communicate with customers in a relevant way and further increases the accuracy and efficacy of automation.

        4. Customer Journey

          Also sometimes called a buyer’s journey, a customer journey is a detailed road map of the full experience that a customer can have with your business. Most customer journeys have the following phases: awareness, acquisition, onboarding, engagement and advocacy. A successful customer journey will take buyers and/or subscribers through all of these stages, delivering communication tailored to where people are in the life cycle.

          5. Lead Nurturing

            Lead nurturing describes the process of consistently building and reinforcing relationships with your customers at every stage of their journey. Successful lead nurturing is achieved when your marketing efforts align with customer needs, building their trust in you and answering questions that they have. Lead nurturing should be a key consideration in workflow and drip campaign development, as the steps in those processes should ideally nurture your customer and address their needs.

            6. Drip Campaign

              A marketing drip campaign describes a series of automated emails that are sent to people who engage with your company in different ways. You can create a drip campaign to respond to nearly any type of action (or inaction). For example, if a customer leaves items in their cart on your online store, you may send a series of emails to get them to complete their purchase. This style of campaign allows you to determine the number and frequency of emails or outreach and is usually linear in nature. The best drip campaigns are also personalized with the person’s name, business or other pertinent information stored in your CRM system.

              7. Workflow

                A workflow is an automated path your customers will take when they engage with your content. Marketers build a series of steps that come together to create an automated marketing campaign, which can branch based on how the customer responds to the previous step. This is often referred to as if/then logic and can lead to more advanced lead nurturing than drip campaigns. Workflows help marketers keep track of the customer journey, simplify project management and create more consistent outcomes by nurturing leads along an automated yet personalized track.

                8. Lead Scoring

                  Lead scoring is, in a way, an outcome of lead nurturing. A lead score is an assigned value determined by your team to “score” each lead your business has based on multiple factors, including engagement habits, information submitted and more. A lead score is used to prioritize leads — a higher lead score will inform your team that a contact likely has good sales or revenue potential, which can be used to inform future outreach and help sales team members focus their time.

                  9. Marketing-Qualified Lead

                    A marketing-qualified lead describes potential customers/clients who meet a set of criteria determined by the marketing team to be sent to the sales team for further outreach. This criteria generally includes engaging with marketing materials in various ways, such as clicking on emails or filling out website forms. With thousands of potential leads in a CRM system, MQLs are usually identified through lead scoring. As leads take actions, their lead score grows higher and eventually hits the MQL threshold. While identifying a prospect as an MQL does not guarantee that said prospect will turn into a sale, the MQL designation does mean that a prospect is more likely to be approved as a sales-qualified lead. Speaking of …

                    10. Sales-Qualified Lead

                      Not as straightforward as an MQL, sales-qualified leads are potential clients who have graduated from MQL status and made their way further down the sales pipeline. In short, SQLs are possible customers who are in a prime position to be converted into a sale and, by extension, an active customer. Ideally, all of your prospects should go from relatively unknown to MQL and then to SQL before being contacted directly about sales.

                      Want to know more? Keep reading to learn how marketing automation enables the personalization your audience demands.

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