Automation tools help email marketers step up their game

Automation tools help email marketers step up their game

The devices with which the contacts on your email marketing list read messages are getting more powerful and multifaceted – and so are the tools available to marketers. New automation solutions, often leveraging the power of cloud computing, are changing the way email campaigns are put together.

Marketing solutions provider Marketo recently announced the release of Dialog Edition, a cloud-based service that enables firms to adopt automated email strategies. Like all of the products in Marketo's catalog, the new offering aims to help marketers increase customer engagement with emailed content, thereby nurturing companies' relationships with consumers. Increased click-through rates will drive up revenue as firms employ the new tool to adapt content to customer behaviors.

Marketo's CMO​, Sanjay Dholakia​, spoke about the necessity for firms to market in this more dynamic way.

"Marketers know they need to break through this noise, but their efforts to do so are often limited by email service providers, which force marketers into a world of impersonal, batch communications. The Dialog Edition offers a solution, empowering email marketers to build automated campaigns that create long-term, personal relationships," Dholakia commented.

At the core of the platform is an automation service that sends tailored marketing content to new customers immediately after their email addresses are acquired, the company said. The tool also monitors contacts' behaviors so as to move them between segmentation groups based on continually changing data. The built-in intelligence of the system means that no repeat emails will be sent to contacts.

Build an intelligent email database, focus on creative thinking
According to the company's product description for Digital Edition, the service helps marketers build smarter email databases that take on much of the labor usually done manually. The tool builds segmentation lists for you based on increasingly rich data by learning about your email contacts over time.

However, an intelligent automation tool like Digital Edition doesn't mean the role of the marketer becomes a cakewalk, let alone irrelevant. Rather, the investment in the technology allows firms to devote more manpower to creative thinking.

"A proper upgrade to a marketing automation solution requires an upfront commitment: time, money, and brainpower. You will be forced to think – long, hard, and strategically – about your marketing program," said DJ Waldow in a recent post for Business 2 Community.

Automation benefits marketers by enabling them to actually put their best email campaign strategies into effect.

Other firms address the need for automation
Innovative though Marketo's new platform may be, there are others vying for market space. According to CMS Wire, marketing solutions firm SalesForce recently acquired automation provider ExactTarget mere days after the latter company announced the upcoming release of the new ExactTarget Marketing Cloud platform. As its name implies, the new tool will use cloud technology to link analytics with email, social media, mobile and other data sources.

ExactTarget's platform is more hands-on than Marketo's but arguably just as sophisticated. Users can manage customer information and transition contacts between segmentation lists through a drag-and-drop feature, as well as edit content collaboratively in the cloud, CMS Wire reported.

Meanwhile, marketers only stand to gain from employing automation tools, as the email marketing industry is set to continue growing worldwide. A recent report by Econsultancy showed that in the United Kingdom, the sector brought in £438 million in 2012 and is projected to grow to £495 million this year.

Marketers who embrace solutions like automation and analytics sooner rather than later will still find themselves ahead of the curve, as the Econsultancy study also showed that only 31 percent of firms perform basic testing on their marketing emails' performance. 

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