Email marketing on steroids- is marketing automation worth the extra cost for your business?

Marketing Automation isn’t cheap, but its proven effectiveness and ability to transform businesses justifies the cost for many organisations. According to a 2015 report by VentureBeat, “The majority of users think Marketing Automation is worth the price. 10% finds it inexpensive, 47% fairly priced, 22% pricey but worth it and 11% too expensive. 10% was not sure.” So how do you determine if it’s worth the extra cost for your business? Start by learning about the differences between email marketing and marketing automation and then focus on the capabilities that contribute to marketing effectiveness.

The Difference between Email Marketing and Marketing Automation

Marketing automation can do email marketing, but an email marketing platform cannot do marketing automation. Marketing automation is an entire suite of tools whereas email service providers (ESP) only provide email capabilities with basic success tracking. Putting aside the extensive additional tools, there is still much marketing automation can do with email that email marketing cannot. The email marketing limitations are often what piques initial interest in a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP). In fact, in 2014 VentureBeat found that “firms that use email marketing are 75% or more likely to be purchasers of marketing automation software over the next year.”

Limitations of an ESP

Email marketing is a valuable marketing technique for communicating with customers and prospects but it is limited in scope. It is often referred to as “broadcast style” messaging because it is a one-to-many form of communication without much in the way of feedback` or response. Initially, the ability to inform leads and consumers in a scalable way was revolutionary enough, but email has been around for a long time and the technological progress seen in marketing automation is changing what email is capable of and how it is used. For simple communication at scale, email marketing is enough but if you want to respond to recipient interaction in an efficient and personally relevant way, then you’re going to need another level of capabilities that cannot be attained without marketing automation software.

According to a 2015 Performance Report by Autopilot, “While companies using blast email software still generate more leads than those who use nothing at all, marketers using automation software generate 2X the number of leads than those using blast email software and are perceived by their peers to be 2X as effective at communicating.”

How Email Marketing is Different with Marketing Automation

The primary difference between email with an ESP and email with a MAP comes down to drip and nurture email campaigns. ESPs are only capable of drip campaigns, which involve an email or a series of emails being sent to a list at a pre-programmed interval which cannot be changed retroactively. Once the drip campaign starts, it can be cancelled or paused but not edited and restarted. Marketing automation enables nurture campaigns.

A nurture campaign can branch and send different emails to different members of the same original list based on their behaviour to previous emails. If they didn’t open your second email you can send it to them again a week later or set it up to try a resend with a new subject line instead. Nurture campaigns can also be edited mid-campaign because leads can qualify for the list on an ongoing basis. Want to send a series of emails highlighting product benefits whenever someone views a page comparing two similar, high-selling items on your site? Build a nurture campaign.

This also relates to behavioural tracking. With marketing automation, you can track visitor behaviour and have specific behaviours trigger campaigns to begin like in the example above. With email marketing, you would have to put together or purchase a list of people who you think are interested in your message based on demographic data. If someone doesn’t open any of those emails, you could not react to it by offering different information without starting a whole new drip campaign. With marketing automation software, it becomes possible to build alternatives paths within your campaigns, preemptively determining potential reactions and enabling the software to respond to specific behaviour with customised messaging. This behaviour-based approach offers additional analytical insights and advanced marketing capabilities too, making it truly revolutionary.

Is it worth it?

At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself: would these capabilities help grow your business or is your organisation fine as is? For most, the potential for growth far outweighs any growing pains associated with learning a new set of technology tools. Contact us to find out how to compare the benefits.

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