Marketing Automation ROI: Calculation Formula & Top Benefits

Time and time again, marketing automation has proven to be critical for successful marketing campaigns, improving consumer relationships, generating more leads, and cutting down on all those repetitive tasks. 

While marketing automation surely promises a higher ROI, many marketers struggle to achieve positive results when setting it up. However, with the right tools and right expertise, you can ensure a positive ROI of marketing automation software.

If you are wondering if marketing automation is worth the investment, you have come to the right place. This article gives you the lowdown on marketing automation, how to automate marketing and how you can maximise your marketing automation ROI.

What is Marketing Automation?

Essentially, marketing automation is using a set of tools that allow you to automate certain tasks to help you run marketing campaigns more efficiently. 

By automating simple, repetitive tasks like email outreach, social media post scheduling, retargeting ads, and A/B testing, marketers can reach more customers more effectively while saving precious time. 

Sounds good? Well, it gets better. Using marketing tools and software can actually tailor the content shown to potential customers so that they are more likely to convert. 

Marketers can even use marketing automation to gain unique insights into their leads, which helps them understand and nurture them better.

Inputs in Marketing Automation

The first step to securing the maximum automation ROI is considering its influential inputs: 

  • Data: Marketing automation puts data to work, but for it to be successful, you need clean, verifiable and relevant data. 
  • Money: Everyone knows marketing automation can be expensive, so of course a significant input is money. Time invested and employee training can prove costly, but can result in long-term positive ROI (cha-ching!) as with any investment.  
  • Time invested: Like any significant change in a company, you will need to invest time and not only money to implement marketing automation. The process of implementing marketing automation involves onboarding, training, running the platform, testing and creating strategies, etc., all of which take time. 
  • Ideas: This may seem less obvious, but valuable ideas are a vital aspect to achieving guaranteed ROI of marketing automation. As we know, B2B marketing campaigns are ineffective without an overarching vision for what they’re supposed to accomplish and the same can be said when using marketing automation. 
  • People: For successful marketing automation, you’ll need a team that understands it: this involves training, repositioning staff within your marketing team, hiring new staff, and a specialist to oversee it.

Outputs of Marketing Automation

Let’s go over some of the concrete outputs of marketing automation that contribute to a higher ROI: 

  • Time saved: Automating repetitive tasks, like A/B testing, helps your team save a considerable amount of time. But it will also save you time in the long run, because your insights will be informed by higher quality data that streamlines your strategy. 
  • Speed: Automated systems such as automated email marketing can reach thousands of people with a click of a button, as opposed to manually contacting each and every prospect. In the fast paced world of marketing, this is a big win, giving you an edge on your competitors. 
  • Conversions:  77% of marketing automation users see an increase in conversions . Fact. Moreover, marketing automation tools can also be used to nurture, analyse, track conversions from your marketing campaign to refine your marketing strategies and assist your sales department.
  • Customer retention: Automating dynamic content and loyalty programmes, as well as tracking your customers’ engagement and purchase behaviour (with rewards) will help keep customers loyal to your business, whether monthly, quarterly or yearly.

Who is Responsible for Marketing Automation?

While automation will do the majority of the hard work for you, you will still need a specialist, like an account manager (either in house or from your chosen agency), to oversee implementation and ensure everything is running as it should. 

This will involve monitoring the overall strategy, reviewing automated campaigns, testing and analysing the workflows, as well as identifying potential leads, ways to improve, and ways to engage with your audience.

Marketing automation is integral to any successful marketing campaign, and in fact, businesses can use marketing automation every day to save time and concentrate on the more important stuff. Some examples include performing small tasks, such as A/B testing and publishing social media posts, as well as bigger tasks like lead scoring and drip email campaigns.

What is the Cost of Marketing Automation?

While implementing marketing automation certainly guarantees a big pay-off (think: achieving positive ROI from marketing automation within the first year!), it can be costly to purchase and set up. 

Prices for different platforms vary depending on the size of your business. For example, HubSpot marketing offers a free trial, but subsequent packages range from $50 to $800 per month. Typically, the cost of whichever platform you choose will range from $200 to $2,000 per month, depending on what’s included in the specific package you choose.

With this in mind, you should consider things like the length of the contract or platforms with free trials to test out whether they are really right for you. 

To guarantee a high marketing automation ROI, it’s important to establish goals before implementation. For example, what will automating certain tasks help you accomplish in your marketing campaigns?

ROI of Marketing Automation

Return of Investment (ROI) is the calculation of the total cost of investment vs. net income/profit to measure how profitable a business investment is. 

Calculating marketing automation ROI is an essential part of any marketing campaign. It reveals which strategies have worked for driving sales so that you can devise smarter strategies moving forward.

By measuring the marketing automation ROI, you can determine where your budget should be invested as well as what isn’t working. This is especially important when implementing marketing automation, so you can work out which automation tools have had a positive impact.

How to Calculate Marketing Automation ROI

To find out your marketing automation ROI, you can calculate it using the following formula: 

Return of Investment = (Marketing Cost – Sales Growth) / Marketing Costs

But how can you determine what qualifies as a good investment in the marketing world? Do you simply look at how a certain strategy has boosted profits or how it has generated leads, improved web traffic, raised brand awareness and increased conversion rates? 

Because there are so many factors involved in B2B marketing, it can be tricky to calculate marketing automation ROI for B2B strategies, but not impossible. The best way to calculate marketing automation ROI is by using both qualitative and quantitative metrics.  

When calculating the ROI of marketing automation, assessing both numerical growth and the impact of a streamlined strategy will give you a holistic understanding of how marketing automation is influencing the success of your marketing efforts. 

Qualitative Metrics

Qualitative metrics measure value beyond clear-cut numbers. These can include: saved time, more effective campaign personalization, increased scalability, increased competitiveness, improved audience targeting across channels, increased productivity, scheduling, and effective organisation. 

Quantitative Metrics

Quantitative metrics generally indicate direct growth in numerical figures. You can measure the success of marketing automation through: higher ROI, lower payroll, increased revenue, lower cart abandonment, an improved customer experience, increased customer lifetime value and higher lead conversions. 

How to Maximise ROI

It’s really simple: the longer you use marketing automation in digital marketing, the higher your marketing automation ROI will be.

However, there are also some things you can do to maximise the return on investment in the meantime. Effective onboarding, for example, can be an integral process that promises a high ROI down the line, as you can train employees how to use automation tools and match them to the right job positions based on their skillset. This will help your team hit the ground running and ensure a successful marketing automation implementation.

Additionally, you can also maximise your ROI by introducing new marketing ideas and automation tools into your strategy, combined with a documented process with marketing goals and targets to encourage team participation. 

How to Automate Marketing Campaigns

With the wide range of marketing automation tools out there, marketers can cut down on time spent on repetitive tasks to focus on data analysis and decision-making. Here are some examples of how to automate marketing:  

  • Email marketing:  Everyone knows that sending the right email at the right time can make all the difference in increasing sales. Marketing automation in digital marketing, such as using drip campaigns and automatically triggering follow up emails, can automatically send targeted (and personalised!) emails that nurture customers in their customer journey. You can also automate welcome messages and abandoned cart messages to encourage customer retention and conversion. 
  • Chatbots: They are a great automated marketing tool that can generate leads and drive sales, as well as help you automate your sales funnels while personalising brand messaging, performing outreach and delivering support to website visitors. 
  • PPC (pay-per-click): Pay-per-click advertising streamlines marketing campaigns by charging the advertiser every time a user clicks on your advert. Marketers can easily control their Google Ad campaigns with machine learning, without spending hours manually updating timing, scope and targeting.
  • Automated lead generation: Automated lead generation through AI tools and machine learning allows leads and data to automatically come to you. This will raise consumer awareness for a product or service while helping you generate high-quality leads! 
  • Paid advertisement: Automated paid advertisement can be personalised to reach your target customer base with relevant content. With segmented customer lists, for example, you can group together users, customers and leads with similar characteristics such as behaviour, attributes, website activity and user preferences.

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7 Most Valuable Benefits of Marketing Automation

Automating marketing strategies is the common sense solution for any marketing agency. Let’s go over some of the most valuable benefits: 

  • Better customer experience: Overall, marketing automation tools will boost your customer experience: from custom designed chatbots to provide instant support, to sending personalised product recommendations at the right time, you will provide customers with the top-notch service catered to their needs. 
  • Personalization: As every marketer will know, personalisation is integral to any marketing campaign and has proven to keep customers loyal. With automation, you can create a more personalised customer experience by collecting user data such as past browsing habits and behaviours to tailor your content to their needs. Moreover, artificial intelligence (AI) can analyse customer feedback to understand your audience and build experiences based on their purchase activity and behaviours. 
  • Cross channel campaigns: Cross-channel automated marketing unifies marketing strategies across multiple channels allowing you to reach a broader audience. By leveraging cross-channel marketing, you can gain insight into your customer journey to determine which marketing strategies work and which don’t.
  • High quality leads: With more time on your hands, better quality data and a way to track the success of your marketing efforts, you can focus on developing strategies that will generate and nurture high quality leads. 
  • Higher productivity: It goes without saying that if marketing automation saves time, improves engagement and optimises your marketing strategy, you are going to benefit from higher overall productivity. 
  • Implement organised and complex strategies: AI customer feedback analysis and cross channel marketing will give you an enhanced insight into your customers and campaigns. It goes without saying that, with streamlined insights and more time on your hands, you will be able to focus on data driven strategies, lead nurturing and customer retention. 

3 Challenges of Marketing Automation

While it is clear that marketing automation provides a wealth of benefits, many companies struggle to harness its full potential. In fact, in a recent poll, 54% of marketing companies stated that they’re not making the most of their marketing automation tools.

But if marketing automation has so much potential, why do so many businesses struggle to implement it effectively? Let’s go through some of the (avoidable) obstacles:

  • Lack of knowledge: Let’s face it, marketing automation can be complicated, and therefore, to guarantee a high marketing automation ROI, you need knowledge and training. In 2021, 33% of companies struggled to introduce marketing automation due to a lack of expertise because they simply do not know how to use automation tools effectively. This can be fixed easily with proper onboarding, training and team support.
  • Insufficient data: In 2020, for 67% of businesses, the main challenge in implementing marketing automation was integrating data from different sources and systems. It’s all very well using marketing automation, but if your data isn’t clean, relevant and verified, your efforts can go to waste. If your data is inconsistent and scattered across many sources, your marketing efforts may not be effective or reach the intended recipient. Acuto can help you set up a data warehouse to ensure all your data is consolidated in one place and ready for marketing automation. 
  • Lack of resources: A main barrier to utilising marketing automation effectively is lack of resources. In fact, 31% of businesses indicate that a limited budget to manage marketing automation tools and maintain them makes it difficult to get projects off the ground. 

Common Mistakes in Marketing Automation

Often, businesses struggle to implement effective marketing automation because they assume it’s a simple process to implement. They try to manually execute marketing automation to cut corners and costs

Another all too common mistake businesses make is applying automation to a faulty process rather than coming up with a well-established workflow with the help of specialists to monitor the process. This gives marketing automation a bad name, as poorly automated workflows that use low-quality data can cause data silos, make it difficult to spot sales and cause marketers to miss out on marketing opportunities

Moreover, a lack of clear guidelines and processes between the marketing and sales teams can result in unqualified leads, poor targeting, and unnecessary extra work

At Acuto, we can help you avoid all this by providing you with the right automation tools and a dedicated team to enhance your marketing strategies and boost your overall productivity.

Automate Your Marketing Strategy With Ease

It is simple to begin automating your marketing processes and see real returns; all you need is a schedule, information to be moved between apps, and a repetitive process. 

Automating with Acuto makes this work easier and ensures a high ROI. Our specialists develop simple automation scripts to help you automate those click-intensive tasks, streamline your workflows and ramp up your ad campaigns.

As a leading bespoke software development company, our solutions are never off-the-shelf. We build solutions around your agency’s needs and requirements to enhance your unique insights and unlock the full potential of your marketing campaigns. 

We also build cutting-edge support, sales or marketing chatbots to help you grow your brand, drive sales revenue or reduce operational costs. Already have a chatbot but want to take it to the next level? No problem, our experts can build an API-based custom integration and effortlessly integrate your chatbot with existing live chat apps.

Moreover, Acuto can build you a data warehouse to consolidate all your company’s data in one place, making it far easier to analyse, report on and make informed decisions. 

Get in touch today for more information!

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Want to see what we can do for your business? Check out our automation case studies below to see the success stories of our clients in different industries. Learn about how we’ve helped them achieve their goals and see if we can do the same for you.

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Key Takeaways

When implemented correctly, marketing automation is one of the easiest and most effective ways to save time, streamline your marketing campaigns and get a high return on investment.

Let’s go over some of the main points we covered: 

  • Marketing automation refers to a set of tools that automate repetitive tasks and level up your marketing game. 
  • Marketing automation is a big investment, but certainly one that promises huge results.
  • The formula to calculate marketing automation is:
    • Marketing Automation ROI = (Marketing Cost – Sales Growth) / Marketing Costs.
  • You can automate almost any marketing task with ease, such as email marketing, chatbots, PPC campaigns, lead generation, and more. 
  • Some of the main benefits of marketing automation include: a better customer experience, cross channel campaigns, higher quality leads, higher productivity and executing complex strategies more easily. 
  • Some of the barriers to using automation tools include a lack of knowledge and training, insufficient data and lack of budget. These can be avoided when working with a platform that offers the right expertise.
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