What Is Marketing Automation? (And How Do I Get Started?)

What Is It?

Marketing automation is the process of automating manual tasks and multi-step processes such as email and social media campaigns, allowing marketing departments to get more done with less effort.


Marketing Automation at a Glance


automates manual tasks and multi-step processes such as email and social media campaigns


Integrates common marketing tasks and multiple tools into a single dashboard, making management easier.


Gathers and consolidates data on campaign performance, website visitor behaviors, and other key metrics.


Supports cross-channel marketing communications, enabling consistent messaging across all digital properties.

Did You Know?

Marketing automation is traditionally used for demand generation and lead management, supporting programs such as lead nurturing. Increasingly, marketing automation platforms such as Act-On are being extended to facilitate account-based marketing, customer marketing, and support activities.


How do marketers use marketing automation?

The companies that acquire marketing automation tend to fall into two categories:


Companies that already derive value from other business technologies and anticipate additional return from a marketing platform.


Companies that are using marketing to grow aggressively.

The Value Proposition

In either case, marketing automation software’s primary value proposition has three key points:


It saves time

It allows measurement

It tracks, gathers and consolidates data that would be difficult to track (or respond to) any other way

Research shows that marketing automation generates value

Get better leads

The #1 benefit of marketing automation according to B2B marketers is the ability to generate more and better quality leads.

Pepper Global, 2014

marketing automation has proven to increase sales productivity and decrease marketing overheard.

Deliver Results

Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.

Nucleus Research, 2014

Be among the best

Best-in-class companies are 67% more likely to use a marketing automation platform.

Aberdeen Group2014

Marketing automation can increase your customer engagement, opportunities and time saved completing tasks.

Improve your bottom line

Marketers say that the biggest benefits of automation are saving time (74%), increased customer engagement (68%), more timely communications (58%) and increased opportunities including up-selling (58%).

Adestra, 2015


What is the difference between marketing automation and CRM?

Marketing automation typically is or can be integrated with other business tools, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, business intelligence tools, website visitor tracking tools, webinar and event management tools, social media tools, content management tools, email and landing page testing tools, and sales enablement tools.

Types of marketing automation systems

Marketing automation systems are generally one of two types: 


In which the system vendor buys or builds various capabilities (such as customer relationship management) and offers the combined features as a package

open platform


Which is built so that other tools can be easily integrated with it. This enables the buyer to choose their own preferred tools to be integrated with the automation platform.


Marketing automation plays very well with others

Marketing automation also typically is (or can be) integrated with other business tools, such as webinar and event management tools, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and tools for business intelligence,social media management, content management, email and landing page testing, sales enablement, and more.

Act-On Integrates with Litmus
Act-On and Salesforce CRM Integration
Act-On integrates with Cisco WebEx
Act-On integrates with Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Act-On Integration with Twitter
Act-On's Professional Services Team Quick Start Services
Act-On integrates with SugarCRM
Act-on Integrates with Microsoft Dynamics CRM