{Email} Marketing Sidebar: Automation

•   the technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a
process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices,
reducing human intervention to a minimum.
•   a mechanical device, operated electronically, that functions
automatically, without continuous input from an operator.
•   act or process of automating.

It seems automation is the key focus of so much of marketing these days. Regardless of channel or media, “automation” is the hot ticket. So, what is marketing automation, and are you/your agency/your team actually automating your marketing program?

MailChimp introduces their Marketing Automation software with a quite clear and accurate definition:

Marketing automation helps you stay connected with your audience (and find more people just like them), so you can eliminate repetitive tasks and focus on other parts of your business. Target people based on behavior, preferences, and previous sales—and use this intel to do things like welcome new subscribers, reach out to people who abandon their online shopping carts, and win back lapsed customers—automatically.

But, that is not necessarily how many marketers are using automation. Instead, many are “scheduling” their marketing programs, rather than “automating” them.


verb (used with object), sched·uled, sched·ul·ing.
•   to make a schedule of or enter in a schedule.
•   to plan for a certain date

What’s the difference? Human action, interaction, and intervention. Automation means removing a significant part of the human involvement in production or distribution process, and, while helpful and efficient, scheduling your messages is not automating them, as you are still clicking the send or post button, just with a deferred action.

Does this really effect you or I? If you are asked to reduce or minimize costs, increase or maximize production and efficiency, or help bring your firm closer to the leading edge of your industry’s leaders, you have likely considered how you can add automation to your marketing program.

So, where do you start the effort of automating your marketing program? According to Emma, roughly 48% of email marketers are running an automated welcome email or series, and, if you aren’t, you should, too. Why? It’s a great way to thank recent subscribers for their interest, introduce them to your brand, communicate what they can expect by signing up to your emails, and offer them some sort of value right off the bat. Welcome, thank, set expectations, and offer value – set a solid, good tone to engage them.


Are you using automation in your marketing program? Let me know in the comments below!

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