Marketing automation in a nutshell: Pros and cons

Those who think marketing automation is just about saving time, need to have another look at its definition. More personalised communications with customers and better lead nurturing. We could go on and on about the benefits of integrating marketing automation into your daily operations.

Today’s consumer is far more likely to engage with a business that nurtures them with highly relevant and valuable content and more. But every coin has two sides, let’s have a look at both. 
Before jumping into why you should use marketing automation, we must understand what it means. Marketing automation integrates strategic software that streamlines, automates and analyses marketing tasks and workflows for businesses. The goal is to improve operational efficiency and increase revenue.

For this definition to work, you must apply a successful strategy and focus on delivering personalised value and building a trustworthy relationship with your existing customer base. Marketing automation implies this personalised component and aims to enhance the customer experience, something today’s consumer is always looking for. 

Today’s challenge for any marketing department is data as a starting point of nearly all activities. But manually handling big databases, and pouncing in names and all other valuable information can become monotone, susceptible for manual errors, and just requires more work and time than necessary. Time, that often lacks to make activities and communications personal. Marketing automation software can help overcome this and many more challenges by putting data to work and by streamlining your workflows.

When done well, you can benefit from these marketing automation pros. 


Marketing automation software, automates regular tasks that require a lot of manual work when not using any automation. When using software you are able to save precious amounts of time, as creating e-mail campaigns, automating messages, following up on key leads, becomes manageable in just a few simple clicks.  


Saving time isn’t all marketing automation can do for your business. In addition, it helps you to make the most of your leads, increasing your marketing department’s ROI, and this isn’t just a thin-air conclusion. Studies show that using marketing automation leads to better results for any marketing campaign and an average increase of 34% in revenue. So ROI is increasing effectively? Yes, and also fast. 75% of implementations have an increase of ROI within the first twelve months of application. 

Relationships first  

Today’s consumer not only wishes the best products at hand, they also wish to have a personal relationship with the company to they show their loyalty. Yet, this isn’t a simple task for a marketing department, especially not when we’re talking big databases. Marketing automation streamlines a daily inflow of data about your customers, helping your marketing department to deliver more personalised and valuable communication to your customers, potential buyers and build and nourish strong relationships.   

Nurturing your leads

When it’s all hands on deck in the marketing department leads often get lost or cold, just because of a lack of time, or in the chaos of other daily tasks. A shame, as gathering new leads is the fundament of all marketing activities, meaning hard work doesn’t pay off when leads unknowingly go cold. Using marketing automation, you can simplify and automate the lead nurturing process, making sure no lead goes untouched. You can automate lead categorisation using lead scoring and send personalised emails using email automation, as well as improve your follow-up strategy using auto-responders.

Reporting was never easier

Working with lots of data can easily lead to complicated reporting and days of work trying to organise it and make it make sense, or at least understandable for those without any marketing knowledge. Marketing automation allows you to pull details and automated reports from the system that are easy to understand and flag possible areas of improvement. 

The more you know…

When targeting marketing activities on your potential leads, the more you know, the better. Data is knowledge, therefore an automated database is the key to unlock your special marketing powers. Marketing automation helps you to create detailed customer profiles from email open rates, web behaviour and responses to favoured channels and social media and more. Knowing all of this about your customers creates the opportunity to target them right there where they can be found. 

Improve you email performance

A true marketer would know, the best ways to nurture your leads is through drip email campaigns, also known as automated emails contacting potential customers on a regular basis. Drip campaigns are tailored to where a potential customer is in the sales funnel. Times when a certain email is triggered is set and depends on the initial data a contact signed up. For example a potential contact signs up for one of your events. This action triggers on its own a whole funnel of e-mails starting with a thank you for registering email, to a set of contactpoints after the event and more, every mailing of course relevant for that specific contact.  

What’s in it for your customers?

Customers don’t have a lot of time, definitely not to take in useless information, useless in the sense it doesn’t apply to them. Sending general messages to a large pool of people doesn’t prevent the above, however, using marketing automation does. Marketing automation enables you to specify what each customer sees, using your buyer personas along with behavioural targeting to only send the information each prospect or customer needs. This way, customers aren’t bombarded with messages that don’t apply to them.  

What about the cons? 

As perfect as it seems, marketing automation does come with some challenges: 

Implementation and learning curve

Changing your way of working overnight comes with some struggles and obstacles, definitely when it comes to the use of intricate software. That’s why finding software that’s a definite match with your company and marketing department is so crucial. When starting up you can expect a period of adjustment, and trial and error. However, when you do it right and let yourself get assisted by the right people during implementation, you will be set up for success. 

Making strategic decisions

Even though marketing automation helps you to streamline your processes, implementation of it is as good as your strategy, which is something the bright members of the marketing department have to do on their own. 

Watch out for overkill

The most common reason why marketing automation fails is due to overkill. Meaning your team has to work with too many different technologies, however the technologies don’t work with each other. This causes reporting to become a complete nightmare, your team becomes demotivated because they can’t see any results, productivity plummets to an unseen low and your other departments question your decisions.  

That’s why integrating marketing automation into one platform that also assists other activities such social media marketing, and other departments for example Sales, works better than standalone marketing applications that don’t communicate with other vital technologies. 


In a nutshell marketing automation works, when done right and definitely when consulting people who know the do’s and don’ts before, during and after the implementation process. 

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