Inbound marketing automation is the name given to the process of automating Inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing attracts prospects to a company's website through a combination of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC), and Social Media Marketing (SMM), then engages them with relevant content, converts them to identified sales leads through the completion of forms, and then nurtures them through a program of drip marketing until prospects are determined to be "sales ready".
Marketing automation, in the context of inbound marketing, includes the automation of marketing analytics, reputation management or social media monitoring, email marketing, sales lead generation and sales lead management, and other regular marketing activities.
Because inbound marketing is web-based and therefore digital, it can generate large amounts of data on website visitor activity, prospect profiles, prospect preferences and their "digital footprint". Automation is needed to collect, analyze, correlate, and create actionable insight from this massive amount of data. Automation is also needed to store, access, and share electronically between various stakeholders in the company, including marketing and sales, both at corporate and in the field.
Inbound marketing automation is most applicable in Business-to-Business (B2B) markets where prospects spend considerable time researching solutions and suppliers online, and where long sales cycles require prospect education and prospect nurturing over time, resulting in substantial data accumulation over the customer acquisition life-cycle.
From the seller's perspective, marketing personnel are freed from mundane, repeatable tasks, making them available for higher value strategic and creative tasks. In addition, the automation can be programmed to consistently deliver best practices in sales lead generation and management around the clock, outside normal business operating hours.
From the buyer's perspective, automation is preferred because of the speed of response, and the ability to program the automation to respond to a prospect's individual needs based on their profile, their demographics, and their digital footprint as they interact with the website.
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