Marketing Automation

Explore the ins-and-outs of marketing automation from the experts at Twilio Segment.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation refers to the software and workflows used to automate routine marketing tasks—no human work needed. With marketing automation, you can scale marketing campaigns and spend time on more valuable, complex work like data analysis and personalization strategies.

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How does marketing automation work?

Marketing automation works by:

  1. Defining trigger events and tracking them on your data platform.

  2. Creating marketing content and experiences mapped to each trigger event.

  3. Setting up the workflow and marketing messages or experiences using your preferred tools and data platform.

For best results, A/B test different parts of your workflow and choose the most effective steps and marketing activities based on customers’ responses.

Examples and Methods of Automated Marketing

At every step of the customer journey and across all your customer engagement channels, there are workflows you can automate, like email campaigns. You can start with the examples below.

Email Onboarding Sequence

Once a visitor signs up for an account, you need to make a good first impression, maintain their interest, and stay top-of-mind. An automated onboarding sequence helps you achieve this. Use this email sequence to teach new customers how to use your product or show them interesting content and experiences they can immediately engage with.

Design an effective email onboarding sequence by first identifying the actions that will keep the customer “hooked.” Next, list these actions as steps in a sequence, track them as events on your data platform, and create email messages for each step. Once an event is tracked, it should trigger a corresponding email.

For example, when a user signs up for Segment’s Analytics Academy, they automatically receive an email asking them to confirm whether they prefer a daily or weekly lesson frequency. Once they do that, they get a link to set up a free Segment workspace so they can apply the lessons as they go through the course.

Re-engagement and Retargeting

When a user becomes inactive, stops in the middle of a project, or abandons a cart, use an automated marketing workflow to win them back. An effective re-engagement campaign uses multiple channels like email, push notifications, SMS, and social media.

Similarly, if you trigger a retargeting workflow when a customer completes a certain action, you have greater chances of keeping them engaged and discouraging them from leaving your site right then. For instance, when a shopper adds an item to their Amazon cart, a workflow built through the Segment and Amazon Personalize integration automatically displays recommended products on that same product page. The recommendations work like retargeting ads and are based on your data on items customers frequently buy together.

Surveys and feedback forms

Surveys and feedback forms are great ways to learn what your customers think. You’ll get more engagement if you use them contextually rather than at random times. Set up an automation to request feedback when customers hit milestones, like making it halfway through a course or using your product for one month. Other events also merit quick surveys, like completing a chat with customer service.

Increase the chances of getting answers and feedback by embedding your survey within the channel where the trigger event took place. Did they just finish a project on your task management app? Great—now launch a pop-up with five short questions to learn about their experience. Did they unsubscribe from email alerts? Ask them why right there on the unsubscribe page.


Automated reminders help with customer retention because they encourage people to keep engaging with your product or service. To make them more effective (and not annoying), ask customers to choose what kinds of reminders they’d like to get, through which channels, and how often.

On a project management platform, some users may want real-time reminders within the app paired with once-daily emails. A customer of an e-commerce site might want to be reminded of upcoming sales through messaging platforms like Telegram but prefer SMS for reminders about delivery times and in-store pickups.

Birthday greetings

Marketing messages don’t always have to be promotional or transactional. Build goodwill with your customers by greeting them on their birthday through email, direct messages, or your app, and even giving them a gift, like a coupon. You might even want to create a custom landing page on your app, like Spotify Wrapped.

Frequently asked questions

Marketing automation reduces the time and costs associated with routine manual work. By automating those steps, you can focus on high-value tasks like developing strategies, analyzing data, and designing personalization campaigns.

Marketing automation enables personalized marketing at scale, among other things. That’s important because customers expect brands to deliver tailored experiences. For example, 60% of consumers will likely buy again from a brand after a personalized shopping experience.

Twilio Engage is an omnichannel growth platform built on top of the Segment customer data platform. It lets you use your preferred combination of tools, data integrations, analytics, and channels to build, automate, and optimize omnichannel marketing campaigns.

Best of all, Twilio Engage collects, unifies, and connects data to marketing tools in real-time, so your campaigns are always based on the latest customer behaviors and sentiments.