What is Marketing Automation?

 Marketing automation is a brilliant way to save busy marketers time. And we all need extra time in our weeks, right? Especially in the long, summer months when work-life balance can be stretched to the max. 

We’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, and we’re going to answer some of the burning questions about marketing automation that have popped up in the Digital Women community this year. 

But first, take a look at this quick checklist. If you answer ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, then marketing automation should be on your radar in 2022:

  • You work alone and your work is 100% focused on marketing

  • You’re a marketer delivering campaigns across more than one channel

  • You’re a data focused marketer who likes to rave about ROI and metrics

  • You’re an agency or brand marketer and managing a team of  4 – 6 people

  • You’re 100% focused on a growth strategy for your marketing (of your business)

  • You  / your business employs 2 or more VAs to help with marketing admin tasks

And if you said a strong ‘hell, yeah’ to two or more of these questions – you need to bring marketing automation tools on board ASAP.

Is marketing automation complicated?

No. Marketing automation (MA) is pretty simple, it’s not about understanding lines of code or complicated processes, it’s about identifying the software tools that will streamline your marketing. MA tools save you time and enable you to measure your success at the click of a button.

What is marketing automation?

Software. Simples. Marketing automation is software that enables you to automate some of the processes you rely on. As marketers, we use hundreds of micro digital processes every day: every interaction we have with a client or our client’s customers (via a marketing dashboard) needs to be followed up. And the follow-up process can be 3-4 tasks deep, especially if they involve reporting. Marketing automation takes care of responses, prompts and sequences – in email marketing, for example. And the time saved by automating decisions and processes not only saves more time, it also delivers clear, concise, data dashboards as part of the process.

What does marketing automation look like?

If you think about any of the processes that have repetitive steps – such as scheduling email newsletters or social media – it’s easy to see where software can be used. Classifying sales leads or following up on them is another way to automate processes and safe time writing emails or making calls. Put yourself in a customer’s shoes and think about some of the digital interactions you’ve had this week. You may have been part of an automated response to a customer journey without even realising.  And if you’ve ever been onboarded via automated messenger systems, or received a welcome sequence of email marketing, these are both marketing automation tools.

Whoa, hang on. I thought marketing automation could do more than one thing and was just for really big businesses.

You’re right, as well as the examples we just ran through, which are two different tasks, they can be used by all digital marketers, small businesses or freelancers. Marketing automation tools are often part of the ways that large marketing departments or at the bigger agencies work because the software has been integrated really well and become a part of the way that the company runs its department or business. On this large scale, when multiple campaigns are being run across different channels, or many leads are being processed and classified, automation software is invaluable to large organisations. From email automation to social media scheduling, to lead nurturing or personalised contact, these tools do it all. Multiple marketing automation tools used together can help add scale and streamline every aspect of a marketing operation. 

What does marketing automation solve or how does it help?

The software solves time and resources and reduces the impact of fatigue from doing repetitive tasks. The tools work by automating the more dull marketing tass and also enabling you to streamline your processes and workflows – and measure your output and successes.

Can you give me a quick summary of marketing automation again?

Sure. Marketing automation automates, streamlines and measures marketing tasks. When marketing automation tools are integrated into the processes of the whole marketing department or business, they increase efficiencies and can help meet revenue targets quicker. 

If I run an agency and it’s growing fast – do we need marketing automation?Yes – if not today, then probably next year or even next quarter. An important part of growing a sustainable, profitable marketing business is increasing revenue while reducing costs. And when a business grows, particularly if it grows quickly, it can be hard to align people, processes, and technology so everyone is working to the same goals and in the same direction. MA solves this problem because it’s designed to allow organisations to use multiple channels and automate repetitive tasks.

What tasks does marketing automation software make easier?

Lead generation



Lead nurturing

lead scoring

ROI measurement

Data analysis

Relationship marketing


Targeted, personalised communications, especially email marketing Social media management/scheduling.

Sounds great – how do I get started with marketing automation?

There are plenty of automation tools for micro-businesses right up to global organisations, and new software is always being launched. As a small business, the first step is to audit your team and the tasks which are repetitive, time-consuming or take up lots of resources. This will show you if there is an obvious process that will benefit from automation.

Email marketing is simple to set up and is not expensive – so this is a good place to start. Or if you onboard a lot of customers via your website contact forms or social media, look at using automated chatbots. There are many other ways that your business might benefit from using marketing automation software but these are two places to start that will deliver quick and meaningful results – and save you and your team a lot of time.

One of the best ways to figure out the right tools to use in your business is by listening to what other businesses like yours are doing. So, is it time to get networking? SocialDay is happening in September and this is a really good opportunity for like-minded marketers to come together. Read about the benefits of networking at that event here.

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