What is the Difference Between Email Marketing and Marketing Automation?

What is the difference between email marketing and marketing automation? And how do you know if your company is ready to make the switch? These are questions we get asked all of time by both small and large businesses. We all know how powerful and important email marketing is to your marketing toolbox, but implementing marketing automation can dramatically increase the effectiveness of the email marketing strategy you already have in place.

Feature Comparison

There are many differences between an email marketing and a marketing automation application. An Email Service Provider will only provide you the functionality to send mass blasts and track open rates, but this is not scalable. With marketing automation, you have access to powerful features like multi-step campaigns, lead scoring, and analytics, which will make your email tactics much more strategic. Take a look at this feature comparison:

Email Marketing Alone Just Doesn’t Do it

If you are just relying on email marketing you are probably coming up against a few barriers, especially as you grow.  Here are some challenges you might be facing with email marketing alone:

Email marketing is time consuming
Because there is no functionality within an Email Service Provider to do any automation or fine tuning of your campaigns, you have to do a lot of manual work to make sure that your email blasts are hitting the right targets at the right time. With marketing automation you can start to take out the manual work of crafting individual emails. Instead, you can focus on creating multi-stage, automated campaigns to nurture your leads while you get other work done.

Your Sales Teams Don’t Know What Leads to Follow Up With
Email marketing by itself does not have the functionality to deliver win-ready leads to your sales teams.The only thing you are tracking after a blast is click through and open rate, and when your sales teams begin doing call downs after email blasts, they may not be getting good results because those leads are not yet ready to buy. And for a sales rep, there is no bigger waste of time than chasing down a lead that isn’t ready to purchase or who isn’t even qualified. With marketing automation, you can make sure that sales are only following up with leads who are ready to buy. Additionally marketing automation platforms can score your leads based on how they engage with campaigns or content. You can also score based on demographic or lead characteristics.

You Are Unable to Keep Leads Engaged Through Your Communications
You have this huge database of leads that you are not able to leverage and you feel like you are having trouble keeping them engaged. You send out a couple of blasts per month, but you have no idea where they are in the buying cycle or if your content is really resonating. Because it takes so much time to create an email blast, how can you be strategic about your database sends? With marketing automation you can employ lead nurturing, which allows you to segment out your database and lead them through your funnel by creating automated campaigns that will keep your leads engaged.

You Are Having Trouble Scaling
Relying on basic email marketing is not scalable if you are a growing company. The more leads you have in your database or campaigns you want to run, the more time consuming it becomes to create mass blasts. Marketing automation is a solution that can grow as your company grows. You can run multiple campaigns, create lead nurturing programs, score your leads, and attribute revenue directly to each marketing program.

You Can’t Attribute Revenue to Your Email Marketing Efforts
You want to be able to show your executives how marketing contributes to the bottom line. You also want to know how you can improve your strategy and tactics each time you create a campaign. If you are just relying on email marketing, you are likely having a difficult time tying your programs to revenue. Marketing automation gives you functionality that tracks your efforts and provides you with in depth analytics for each campaign. You can also sync up your marketing automation system to your CRM to provide even more detailed metrics.

Is Marketing Automation Right for your Organization?

If you are still unsure whether it is time to graduate from your Email Service Provider, take a look at your organization and marketing practices. You should consider marketing automation if:

  • Your customer buying process lasts longer than a week
  • Sending emails alone does not seem to drive sales
  • Your marketing team needs an easier way to create and send targeted, multi-touch email campaigns
  • Your marketing department does not have enough time to do everything they need to do with their current resources
  • You sell different products or services to different demographics
  • You want to send different messages to different titles and industries
  • Your sales people are complaining about the quality of leads your marketing team is delivering
  • You want to know which of your marketing campaigns are the most effective
  • You can’t tell if you should be spending more or less money on marketing

Still not sure? Check out our new whitepaper Graduating from Email Marketing to Marketing Automation for more insight.

Related Resources

Dayna Rothman is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Marketo. She runs the Marketo content initiatives and is the managing editor of the Marketo blog. Dayna has extensive experience in content marketing, social media, marketing automation, and inbound marketing. She has an MBA from Golden Gate University and lives in Oakland, CA.

Read Dayna's Blogs

What is the Difference Between Email Marketing and Marketing Automation?

Follow Us

Most Shared

true colors feat

True Colors: What Your Brand Colors Say About Your Business [Infographic]

Instagram Infographic

What Your Instagram Filter Says About You [Infographic]

Visual Gold 2

Visual Gold! The New Revolution of Content Marketing [Infographic]

Revenue Performance Management Infographic

Revenue Performance Management: Making the Top Line Top Priority [Infographic]

Evolution

The Evolution of Modern Marketing Automation [Infographic]

Top Articles

Tighten your belt!

7 Strategies for B2B Marketing during a Recession: The Definitive Guide

Evolution

The Evolution of Modern Marketing Automation [Infographic]

promo_top_b2b_blog_med

Big List of B2B Marketing Blogs

The ROI of Paid Social Media Advertising

The ROI of Paid Social Media Ads

100th blog post

Marketo’s 1,000th Blog Post: Our Modern Marketing Definition Revisited