Marketing Automation Processes | Twilio Segment Growth Center

We discuss different marketing automation processes and how they can increase your ROI.


Marketing automation refers to the software and workflows used to automate routine tasks, which companies can leverage to increase revenue, efficiency, and ROI. 

When we say “marketing automation,” we’re referring to a broad category – there are various different components and workflows that marketer’s can automate. We dig into six of these different processes below.

Six types of marketing automation processes

There are six common types of marketing automation processes. Here's an overview of each one, and the tools that help make this possible.  

1. Email marketing automation

Email campaigns are one of the most popular processes to automate. From the simpler, “send a welcome email to new users” flow, to more complex multi-step messaging, automating email marketing allows you to send customers the right message at the exact right time.

Often, marketers will use automation to help streamline the customer onboarding process (e.g. sending relevant documentation if a user has yet to use a new feature, usage metrics from the first month, etc.). 

Other forms of email automation can include sending cross- and/or upselling promotions, re-engagement campaigns for shopping cart abandoners, or asking for feedback after a customer support interaction.

💡 Examples of email marketing automation tools:

2. Social media marketing automation

47% of marketers say they've automated some part of their social media marketing. Now, there are various different tools and platforms to help teams schedule social posts in advance, perform social listening, and automatically create up-to-date reports on performance. 

💡 Examples of social media marketing automation tools

  • Buffer

  • Brand24

  • Hootsuite

  • Sendible

3. Advertising automation

Advertising automation can help handle scheduling, bidding, testing, optimization, retargeting, and reporting (including the complex task of attribution).

💡 Examples of advertising automation tools

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) automation

CRMs automate much of the effort required for lead generation and nurturing. CRM automation can take care of lead scoring, assist your sales team in the timing of outreach and follow-ups, and more. 

💡 Examples of CRM automation tools

5. Analytics automation

Analytics automation helps teams make sense of their data by generating reports that otherwise would have had to be done manually. (This is particularly useful when dealing with large data sets.)

💡 Examples of analytics automation tools

6. Segmentation tools

A segmentation tool helps you organize your customers into groups based on demographics, shared behavior, or other traits. You can then use these segments to trigger personalized campaigns, in-app messaging, and more. 

💡 Examples of segmentation tools

The marketing automation workflow process

You can follow the six steps below to automate any marketing process. Before starting your automation journey, consider this rule of thumb from author Cal Newport's book A World Without Email:

"If your team or organization produces a given type of result thirty times a year or more, and it’s possible to transform its production into an automatic process, the transformation is probably worth the effort."


1. Understand why you want to use marketing automation

Which processes do you want to automate and why? Typical goals include:

  • Increasing performance metrics like conversion rates, revenue, or qualified leads.

  • Improving customer engagement through more personalized and timely communications.

Sometimes you'll start with a goal and work your way backwards. Say you’re in e-commerce and your organization is focused on increasing revenue. Automatically identifying cohorts of your highest-spenders or instantly sending cart abandonment follow-ups are two examples of workflows that can help with your end goal. 

You can also start from a process that needs fixing. Suppose your team spends countless hours every week putting data into spreadsheets to calculate marketing campaign results. By offloading that manual work, your team becomes more productive, gains insight at a faster rate, and ultimately saves money. 

2. Map out the journey and its touchpoints

With your automation goals identified, map out the customer journey and your corresponding internal workflows. 

For instance, say you're aiming to reduce cart abandonment like we mentioned above. By looking at the add-to-cart experience from the customer’s perspective, you can identify opportunities to nudge them toward a conversion.

3. Get everyone on board

Automation can come with internal hesitancy. Often, we hear automation as something that puts people’s jobs at risk, or perhaps internal stakeholders aren’t sure of how it would work. 

To get internal buy-in, it’s best to show how automation can be an asset to every department. 

Let’s look at Customer Support as an example. There’s nothing more annoying than having to wait on hold to reach a Customer Support agent. And on the flip side, being inundated with support requests that could have easily been resolved with the right documentation (or a chatbot) is frustrating for employees. 

But, what if there was a way to intelligently route support requests to either a human, chatbot, or the right documentation, depending on the issue at hand? With the help of Twilio, Segment, and customer data, this is possible, and a great example of how automation can increase productivity and bandwidth in the workplace. 

4. Choose marketing automation software that fits your needs

With a clear set of goals and a mapped out customer journey, now you can start shopping for a suitable automation platform. 

Here are three factors to consider when choosing a tool:

  1. Features: Do the marketing software's functionalities support the goals you're trying to achieve and connect to all your customer touchpoints?

  2. Integrations: Can the software connect with other tools you already use?

  3. Scalability: Is the marketing automation solution the right choice today and for the coming years considering your growth plans?

💡 For a more detailed overview on marketing automation tools, check out this article.

5. Gather good data

Customer data is the fuel for marketing automation. But simply collecting data isn’t enough: it needs to be well-managed. 

Outdated or incorrect information will undermine your efforts: failing to personalize customer experiences or accurately reflect campaign performance (as just two examples). 

A CDP like Twilio Segment can centralize and synthesize your customer data, providing a real-time, single view of the customer.

6. Refine your processes

Automation can have a compounding effect, helping your team to complete tasks and learn about your customers at a faster rate.

To help further refine these processes, consider running A/B tests to gather more insight into customer behavior, preferences, and the effectiveness of your strategy. 

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Frequently asked questions

There are countless tools available to help automate a marketing process. But, it’s essential that these automation flows are being powered by accurate, real-time customer data.

Businesses should also be able to answer why certain processes are being automated, the benefits of doing so, and where automation will enhance both internal workflows and the customer experience.

Marketing automation can increase productivity, team efficiency, and ultimately business revenue, by offloading repetitive, manual tasks that are time-consuming and can be prone to human error.

Customer data fuels the marketing technology that drives your automation processes. Twilio Engage is built on top of Segment’s CDP, which helps collect and consolidate data from across your organization, and create real-time customer profiles. Twilio Engage can then integrate with a business’s various different automation tools, to power these strategies with accurate, omnichannel customer data.