Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations automate repetitive tasks[1] and consolidate multi-channel (email, SMS, chatbot, social media) interactions, tracking and web analytics, lead scoring, campaign management and reporting into one system.[2] It often integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) and customer data platform (CDP) software.[3]



Marketing automation tracks top-of-funnel activities to drive prospects to sales. This is contrasted with CRM, which manages information about the prospect and their position in the sales cycle.[3]

The use of marketing automation makes processes that would otherwise have been performed manually much more efficient and makes new processes possible. Marketing Automation can be defined as a process where technology is used to automate several repetitive tasks that are undertaken on a regular basis in a marketing campaign.

Marketing Automation platforms allow marketers to automate and simplify client communication by managing complex omnichannel marketing strategies with a single tool. Marketing Automation assists greatly in areas like Lead Generation, Segmentation, Lead nurturing and lead scoring, Relationship marketing, Cross-sell and upsell, Retention, and Marketing ROI measurement. Effective marketing automation tools leverage data from a separate or integrated CRM to understand customer impact and preferences.

There are three categories of marketing automation software:

Marketing intelligence
Uses tracking codes in social media, email, and webpages to track the behavior of anyone interested in a product or service to gain a measure of intent. It can record which social media group or thread they followed, which link was clicked on in an email or which search term was used to access a website. Multiple link analysis can then track buyer behavior - following links and multiple threads related to product A, but not B will show an interest only in A. This allows more accurately targeted response and the development of a nurturing program specifically targeted towards their interest and vertical market. This allows businesses to more efficiently and effectively reach target consumers who show, through their internet history behavior, that they will be interested in the company's products.[4] Due to its interactive nature, this has been described as Marketing Automation 2.0.
Marketing automation
Has a focus on moving leads from the top of the marketing funnel through to becoming sales-ready leads at the bottom of the funnel. Prospects are scored, based on their activities, and receive targeted content and messaging, thus nurturing them from first interest through to sale. Commonly used in business-to-business (B2B), business-to-government (B2G), or longer sales cycle business-to-consumer (B2C) sales cycles, Marketing Automation involves multiple areas of marketing and is really the marriage of email marketing technology coupled with a structured sales process.[citation needed]

Advertising Automation

Has a focus on automating the process of advertising, usually focusing on the campaign lifecycle management. Automation involves different areas such as media mix model, media planning, scheduling, campaign setting, adserving, and reporting. Applicable to just one or many of these elements, advertising automation focuses on automating either an entire aspect or their most mundane tasks - often with the use of Artificial Intelligence. A clear example is to be found in ad operations (also known as trafficking), which involves the activities around mapping adserver and analytics placement to different media and ad-tech platforms, creating tracking pixels to disseminate across the different media, and management of the UTM parameters — traditionally manually operated across different adtech platforms — that with advertising automation is automated. This generates an automated creation of placement, automated pushing of trackers to the various media, and automatic management of the creation of UTM parameters. While commonly used among big advertisers to simplify complex infrastructures and processes, advertising automation is paving the way to make advertising accessible to unskilled users.

Advanced workflow automation

Encompasses automation of internal marketing processes. These include budgeting and planning, workflow and approvals, the marketing calendar, internal collaboration, digital asset creation, and management and essentially everything that supports the operational efficiency of the internal marketing function. Typically, these systems require a CRM or COM (commercial operations management) administrator to set up a complex series of rules to trigger action items for internal sales and marketing professionals to manually process (designing files, sending letters, sending email campaigns). This type of system increases the marketer's ability to deliver relevant content to relevant individuals at relevant times. Limitations may apply, based on the human resource capacity of an organization and their level of commitment to the tasks as they are assigned. Advanced workflow automation's can be created to support the entire customer journey, including awareness, consideration, decision and long term loyalty.

Effects of GDPR on marketing automation


As of 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation came into effect in the EU,[5] this has had a large impact on the way marketing teams and organizations can manage their consumer data. Any organization using marketing automation tracking is required to ask consent from the consumer as well as provide transparency on how the data will be processed.

Impact of marketing automation on consumers


Consumers are directly impacted by marketing automation.[6] Consumers provide data for companies, and companies use algorithms to determine products and services to market towards the consumer. The products and services are personalized based on the collected data for each individual. The use of marketing automation is interpreted as an efficient customer experience[7] while others interpret a loss of autonomy[8][9] for the consumer.



Marketing automation solutions provide three key functions:[10]

  • Campaign and customer analysis help craft the right offers and learn from information gathered from past campaigns.
  • Campaign management oversees all communication with customers across multiple channels, tracks their responses, and reports results.
  • Data warehousing pulls customer information together from different systems and channels.

Examples of automation


After a user visits a merchant's website and navigates away, an automated email can be triggered to be sent out that user. They can be reminded of an abandoned shopping cart, a subscription that is about to expire, or be welcomed if they are a new customer. Coupons and messages can be tailored based on past purchases.[3]

Software can also automate the creation of product landing pages and chatbot for customer support.[3]

Market size


According to Gartner, the B2B automation market was valued at $2.1 billion in 2020 and more than $2.74 billion in 2021.[11][12][3] Gartner identified the following vendors as B2B marketing automation platform leaders as of August 2021:[12]



See also



  1. ^ Koetsier, John (8 January 2014). "Fast-growing marketing automation still has only 3% penetration in non-tech companies". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on 3 February 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  2. ^ "What is Marketing Automation: Top 10 FAQ's". McRae&Co. McRae and Company. 7 May 2012. Archived from the original on 8 February 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e Nicastro, Dom. "What Is Marketing Automation and How Does It Help Marketers?". CMSwire. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  4. ^ Bagshaw, Anthony (1 December 2015). "What is marketing automation?" (PDF). Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice. 17 (2). Palgrave Macmillan: 84–85. doi:10.1057/dddmp.2015.46. ISSN 1746-0174. OCLC 1186296299. S2CID 168612888. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 July 2018 – via SpringerLink.
  5. ^ Wolford, Ben (7 November 2018). "What is GDPR, the EU's new data protection law?". Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  6. ^ Mahmoud, Mohammad; Alomari, Yazan; Badawi, Usama; Salah, Abderrazak; Tayfour, Mohammad; Alghamdi, Fahad; Aseri, Abdulah (15 June 2020). "IMPACTS OF MARKETING AUTOMATION ON BUSINESS PERFORMANCE". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Mahmoud, Mohammad; Alomari, Yazan; Badawi, Usama; Salah, Abderrazak; Tayfour, Mohammad; Alghamdi, Fahad; Aseri, Abdulah (15 June 2020). "IMPACTS OF MARKETING AUTOMATION ON BUSINESS PERFORMANCE". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Wertenbroch, Klaus (1 May 2021). "Marketing Automation: Marketing Utopia or Marketing Dystopia?". NIM Marketing Intelligence Review. 13 (1): 18–23. doi:10.2478/nimmir-2021-0003. ISSN 2628-166X. S2CID 233744767.
  9. ^ Wertenbroch, Klaus (24 January 2019). "From the Editor: A Manifesto for Research on Automation in Marketing and Consumer Behavior". Rochester, NY. SSRN 3609639. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ "Advanced Marketing Automation: Maximizing Campaign Returns through Customer Intelligence" (PDF). University of North Carolina Wilmington. SAS. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Market Share Analysis: CRM Marketing Software, Worldwide, 2020". Gartner. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Magic Quadrant for B2B Marketing Automation Platforms". Gartner. Retrieved 9 November 2021.