What Is Marketing Automation & How Marketing Automation Works

The Two Most Common Questions About Marketing Automation, Explained


Answers to the 2 Most Common Questions About Marketing Automation:  What is Marketing Automation?  And How Marketing Automation Works?

Marketing automation is one of the hottest topics in the digital marketing space today.  And we get asked 2 questions very often.

What is marketing automation?

How marketing automation works?

This week on the Source Local Marketing Blog, we answer these 2 questions, and shares the primary opinion of our experts:

“The best automation doesn’t appear automated to your prospective customers.  that starts with a human-driven process where technology facilitates, rather than dictates.”

What is Marketing Automation?

In its simplest form, marketing automation uses technology to execute common sales and marketing communication with prospective customers without human intervention until it is absolutely necessary or will move the sales process along faster or more efficiently.

See how Wikipedia defines it.

It’s become a popular topic because every business is trying to grow more cost-effectively.  And interest has been accelerated even more because it’s hard to find enough people to staff most sales team these days.

We break this concept down into two primary types:

Inbound.  Technology that automates the process of developing incoming leads and moving them through the customer journey.  Here’s our Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing Automation if you’d like to go straight there.

Outbound.  Technology that automates the process of reaching out to key prospects to generate qualified leads and move them through the customer journey.  Here’s our Ultimate Guide to Outbound Marketing Automation if you’d like to go straight there.

What Most Companies Hate About It

The biggest thing most companies hate about how this type of automation works is the impersonal, clearly automated aspects of some communication.

Our unique approach to automation rethinks that question of, “What is marketing automation?”  We believe great automation communicates in ways that it’s impossible to tell it didn’t come from a human.

Since you’re attempting to communicate and build relationships on behalf of humans in your organization, everything needs to be written in that voice.

How Marketing Automation Works Best

Your automation strategies can work very effectively if they follow and encourage your ideal customer journey.  Here is how we visualize that for every client:


When your automation strategy works the same way your humans do, it’s more likely to be well-received by prospective customers, and it’s more likely to achieve your goals.

We Can Help

Our team develops effective marketing automation that feels very natural and human.  If you’re struggling with the idea of marketing automation and want to explore it further, we’ll invest time and effort building a relationship with you long before we ask you to invest in us.

Just schedule a free initial marketing consultation and we’ll walk you through our approach and best practices while we learn more about your business and the goals that are driving your interest in these questions of, “What is marketing automation?” and “How marketing automation works?”

If you’re not ready for that, but you’d like to keep seeing more articles like this one, we welcome you to sign up for our Local Marketing newsletter.  It’s a free e-mail subscription, and you can stop it at any time if you’re not finding it helpful.


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After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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