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How to successfully use Marketing Automation in 2021

The acceleration of digital transformation due to the corona crisis puts Marketing Automation as top-priority of many companies. Marketing automation aims to enable a company to do more with fewer resources, make intelligent use of customer data, and continuously improve marketing. But putting Marketing Automation into practice goes far beyond implementing new tooling. Find out how to successfully use Marketing Automation in 2021.

Digital acceleration has once again shifted large parts of interpersonal interactions to the web. Last year, companies dependent on physical contact had to rapidly build up their online presence. Industries where business was no longer possible, such as the travel sector, looked for additional business models and new ways to stay in touch with the target group; planting seeds to be well positioned digitally in the coming years.

For many companies, this growth in content results in an enormous increase in their online reach. Moreover, customers are now more willing to purchase products that were previously physical, such as events, digitally. However, online competition has also increased.

You will have to distinguish yourself cleverly with relevant marketing and an optimal customer experience. That means pioneering to discover what does and does not work in the next normal. According to Forrester, Marketing Automation was already on the rise, and now the corona crisis has added urgency to that.

The market has introduced all kinds of low-threshold tools that make Marketing Automation more and more commonplace. However, the success of Marketing Automation depends on more than tooling alone.

The basis of Marketing Automation is process thinking

Over the past year, many companies have discovered that it is not always easy to create relevant and valuable content for the respective target groups and to provide them with it at the right time. For this, many different competencies are needed in a company, internally and often externally as well. Especially when working in home office, it can be a challenge to collaborate efficiently and discuss complex topics online.
Content creation requires planning and a strategy in order to pay off in engagement and ultimately business. You will need to capture behavioural data and bring it together in order to bring the potential customer to a purchase via a marketing funnel.

This will not be a new story, but actually putting it into practice remains difficult. The biggest challenge of Marketing Automation lies in orchestrating people and data flows in the organisation into new, efficient processes. The software can do it, it is about setting up working processes like personalization, lead generation and lead nurturing.

Want to learn more? Practical ideas and workflows for implementing Marketing Automation as an SME can be found in our practical guide.

These marketing processes often differ per sector and company, and they have now also been shaken up considerably by the digital acceleration.

Two known pitfalls to this are:

  • It will work if you just collect all the data and only then look at what this data can be used for in the company.

    A very simple example of this is: If you want to use automation to send birthday wishes to your customers, you need different data than if you want to ask customers who have left a product in their shopping cart.

  • Or there is too much emphasis on personalisation at the expense of automation, which means that a marketer is actually spending longer than before setting up email campaigns.


Moreover, companies now have to continuously pioneer and innovate. Possible questions you can ask yourself in this context:

  • Which product or service can I market completely online?
  • Which products or services do I have to or want to continue to bring to customers physically?
  • For which products do I need to think about a mix of online and offline?

Important to answering these questions is the basis for decision-making and subsequent analysis. For example, which processes and data do you use to check whether your measures are working or not?

Marketing Automation is a growth model, not a catch-all solution

Many companies are already doing some form of Marketing Automation. Driven by the digital acceleration, the applications will only increase.

Essential for the marketer who wants to do more with Marketing Automation in 2021 is to show good figures to the management. Here, too, you can count on the support of a tool.

However, Marketing Automation is not a panacea: it is a way of doing things that you will learn to use step by step.

Companies that still do not want to deal with Marketing Automation and the associated digital transformation in 2021 often have the tendency to look for an external expert to completely outsource the area of Marketing Automation. But that is a sheep with five legs, because successful Marketing Automation needs various competences: content creation, design, marketing, technology and data. Only a multidisciplinary team can bring together all the necessary knowledge and skills. Such a team does not have to consist of employees only.

For example, if you want to start applying an AI model to maintain a target audience for your always-on campaign, you're more likely to engage an external data scientist than hire one directly.

This best-of-breed approach also works for the associated tooling. As your Marketing Automation grows in application and impact, you'll find that being able to intelligently connect to specialist tooling becomes critical to your success.


To find out which tool is best suited for your company, the first step is to compile the necessary requirements. In the article "5 tips for the introduction of Marketing Automation" you will also find further important points.

Marketing Automation in 2021

In conclusion, the year 2021 will be the starting point for Marketing Automation for many companies. For the digital pioneers, it is the time for a valuable review and possible realignment of their own processes. Many companies now perceive the digital transformation of marketing processes not only as important, but also as urgent.

The big challenge of 2021 for online marketing is the identification of visitors due to the announced Death of the Cookie. The placing of cookies on the server will ultimately only be a temporary stopgap measure.

In order to make online marketing more relevant in 2021 and beyond, companies will focus heavily on growing their own marketing channels. Everyone will become a kind of publisher to convert visitors into leads and customers. And that is exactly what Marketing Automation is all about. If online marketing plays an important or increasing role for your company, immerse yourself in Marketing Automation this year.

Want to learn more? Download practical ideas and workflows for implementing Marketing Automation as an SME(KMU) with our practical guide.

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