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What exactly is Marketing Automation?

In this three-part blog, we will take you through the world of Marketing Automation. We note that this term is a rather vague concept for many. In this first blog post, we’ll explain this for you right away, with an introduction to Marketing Automation and why it’s relevant.

The blog that follows goes into more detail about lead management. For example, we talk about lead magnets and lead scoring.

In the third blog post, we’ll give you a clear overview of the automation tools, integrations and automation flows available today that you can start using right away to take your business to the next level.

Thierry de Vries

Auteur | Co-founder

  1. In this post, we’ll give you a first introduction to Marketing Automation.
  2. In Part 2, we focus on Lead Management and explain how to apply lead magnets and lead scoring.
    –> Read here
  3. In Part 3, we’ll teach you how to set up automation flows with the right tools and platforms.
    –> Read here

Marketing Automation and Lead Generation

Basically, marketing automation is a “hands-free” set of tools.

In the case of email, for example: marketing allows you to send targeted emails that are personalized, so that you don’t have to create and send each email separately. That can have a lot of benefits.

So marketing automation is about automatically setting up a market cultivation and lead generation process. With the goal of generating leads, increasing conversion and editing prospects. Essential for this are buyer personas and the use of technology, to reach target audiences with relevant content more efficiently, and through multiple channels – at the right time.

In other words:

Marketing automation helps you get the right message to the right people. "

You can use marketing automations to build online relationships. And the great thing is that when you take the time and effort to set up your marketing automation properly, you don’t have to spend a lot of time and energy on it and you do reap all the benefits.

Marketing automation is about cleverly combining different marketing components. Content is important, landing pages are important, data is important ánd lead management is important. So to set up your marketing automations properly, you need knowledge of more things than just drafting a few emails.

Marketing Automation contains multiple facets of marketing

These are some of the facets of Marketing Automation. Just by reading this article you won’t master them, but you will know what the different facets are, so you can start working on them yourself.

A common question: is it just smart email marketing?


It goes much deeper, of course. You do use email to inform your target audience and build a relationship. In addition, with email you can measure how the receiver of the email interacts with the email and what links he or she clicks. With marketing automation, this is much more extensive. Even so extensive that you can send different emails to people who visit a certain page on your site. You can also make your emails much more relevant, distribute them better and finally, you can identify when prospects are ready to make a purchase, book your service or sign up to use your platform.

Marketing automation is the smarter version of email marketing. In addition, you can use marketing automation across channels other than just email. It can measure more statistics and create a unique experience for each prospect, based on interactions.

Furthermore, some tools also allow you to pick up more extensive stuff. Think about creating landing pages etc. Want to know more about landing pages? Then check out our blog about it.

email vs marketing automation

email vs marketing automation

Still the question may be: why marketing automation?


You have an online shop with 10,000 visitors

98% of them are not ready to buy right away.

What do you do with the rest of your visitors?

Compare it to a store. People who just look around appear just ‘lost’ to you. Digitally, this works the same way.

Websites are often only focused on encouraging a purchase. That’s not how most purchasing processes work. In many cases, people need more. This is what we use marketing automation for, among other things.

So here lies an opportunity for building a relationship with the customer, to let them experience the product that way.

Use the Growth Model Canvas as a structure

Suppose your colleague asks you tomorrow to deploy marketing automation.  Would you already know exactly what to do? Before we dive into the details of marketing automation, it’s important to focus on where this part of the business growth model is located.


  1. The canvas gives context to what you’ve learned about your company’s marketing and how to put it into practice.
  2. By putting the conclusions into a model, it gives a clear overview and guidance.
  3. It builds a bridge between data and intelligence (using the data).

The Growth Model Canvas (GMC) is the first start to setting up marketing automation. It helps you tell your story. If you have your buyer persona clear and your goal clear, then it’s easier to set up marketing automation. What kind of questions would the customer have? When you work this out, you can incorporate that into your expressions and work on your credibility and authority in your area of expertise.

Again, it’s important to have a clear and worked out idea of the top part of the canvas. In other words: who is your target audience, what is your value proposition and how do you tell your story? And for that story, the See-Think-Do-Care stages can help.

The Growth Model Canvas

So the top part of the GMC is about the proposition, your target audience and the story you are telling. Only when you have that ready, can you translate it to the various marketing channels.

Marketing automation often starts the moment you have activated people for a conversion, for example when someone leaves his/her contact details on your site in exchange for relevant info (for example a whitepaper or e-book that you receive in your inbox. So from that moment on, it’s all about building the relationship.

Because if people don’t know you yet, chances are they don’t trust you and then selling something becomes difficult. When people trust you and when they have bought something from you, it’s about retaining people and making sure people buy more often. Relevant information, discounts, etc are important in this phase. And if people really become fans, you can also activate them to become ambassadors and recommend your product/service to others. So you can do all of this through marketing automation.

Why is it nice to be able to plot this into a model? It gives you something to hold on to. From data to intelligence. So if there is a retention problem within your organization, marketing automation can be the solution.

What does marketing automation give you?

Marketing automation allows you to get a better grip on the customer buyer journeys of target groups and gain insight into marketing ROI. And it gives you new, better tools to measure and improve the user experience.

  • Automatize fixed tasks = time savings
  • Higher ROI of marketing channels
  • Marketing execution > intelligence
  • More repeated purchases
  • Longer/better relationships with prospects and customers
  • Deep customer insights
  • Consistent customer experiences

Lessons Learned

We’ve introduced you to the world of Marketing Automation in this blog post. We remember that Marketing Automation offers capabilities that can save you considerable time and energy by streamlining and automating marketing processes. It’s a lot more than just email marketing. The Growth Model Canvas can bring an underlying structure to this for you. In this way, you can not only save time and energy but also get a better grip on the customer journeys of your target groups. You also get more insights into which channels offer a good ROI and where you can still optimize. 

Next chapter: Now that you have a basic understanding of what marketing automation is all about, in the next chapter we’ll explain how to set up lead management using lead magnets and lead scoring.

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