Top B2B Marketing Automation Courses for 2017

Do you want to learn how to automate your marketing processes and tactics? Do you want to learn how to design marketing automation programs that will engage and delight your customers? If so, then here’s the perfect course for you.

You’ll learn everything from basic digital marketing concepts such as SEO and PPC to inbound marketing and marketing automation, covering both sides of the fence (you’ll be learning from both an agency and a manufacturer perspective). But fear not — this is not a traditional marketing course by any means. You’ll also gain valuable case studies from real-world marketers who are already using marketing automation successfully in their campaigns.

So, what is marketing automation exactly?

Put simply, marketing automation is the use of software to carry out marketing tasks such as email marketing, online marketing, and social media marketing. The software takes care of the mechanics of interacting with customers and prospects, while you focus on what’s important to you — building relationships, gaining trust, and converting that into paying customers and highly engaged fans.

Why should you learn marketing automation?

Well, firstly, if you’re a marketer, you absolutely should! Marketing automation will teach you how to design programs that can be used by a marketing department, and even individual marketers within an organization, to carry out their routine tasks with a minimum of effort and human intervention. It’s always nice when machines can do some of the mundane tasks so you have more time to focus on what makes you special.

Secondly, marketing automation is an incredibly useful tool for online marketers who are looking to grow their lists, create and engage with compelling content, and nurture leads through to conversion. All of these things require time and effort, and while human involvement is not a bad thing, it can always be automated to enhance the experience for the end user. Think about the last time you visited a website. You probably spent about 10 minutes reading the text, looking at pictures, and then leaving — likely to find other content that catches your attention. Now, imagine if that content focused on a specific offer, and it was delivered just at the moment you made a purchase decision? That’s the type of marketing automation offered by leading e-commerce platforms, and it’s designed to draw potential customers into the top of the funnel and then keep them engaged until they make a purchase. You’ll learn to design these sorts of marketing programs in this course, as well as how to measure their success.

Digital Marketing Versus Traditional Marketing

One of the most important concepts to grasp if you’re new to marketing automation is that between the digital (online) and traditional (face-to-face) marketing worlds, there is a definite division — and it’s an uneasy one. For example, email marketing began as a digital experiment that took place within the walls of a company’s offices, and transitioned to a fully digital medium once it realized the benefits that email provided. As a result, many email marketing platforms were born, with Hubspot, Marketo, and Mailchimp leading the way.

Not all marketing functions are created equal. While email marketing is a useful tool in the grand scheme of things, the fact that it’s a digital tool means that it is, by nature, automated and requires very little human interaction. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some of the most traditional forms of marketing, such as TV advertisements and radio commercials, are highly dependent on human interaction and a skilled, involved public relations campaign, respectively. So, even though these tools are still very much in use today, the lines between the two have become blurred.

Now, if you’re learning how to design marketing automation programs for someone else, then you absolutely need to understand this distinction. The person you’re working for may have used traditional marketing tactics in the past, but they’re now looking to implement a more digital strategy. As a designer, you will need to make sure that the programs you create are as streamlined and easy to use as possible. This means that you should avoid anything that might disrupt the flow of the advertising campaign or cause errors. For example, if someone in the department suddenly decides that print ads should be the focal point of the next phase of the campaign, you’ll need to update the program to reflect the change.

Marketing Automation Is About Data

Another important concept to grasp if you’re new to marketing automation is that, at its core, marketing automation is simply about gathering data and using that data to engage with your audience. Depending on which direction you want to take your design career, you may decide that marketing analytics, marketing measurements, and business intelligence are among your best bets for future success.

No matter what path you take, you will be working with numbers and data — a lot of data. Even for those who find working with numbers somewhat challenging, the field of marketing is filled with data-related jobs, so there’s no fear of becoming under-skilled in this area. You’ll learn how to access business performance data, analyze it, and use it to drive marketing decisions in the course of designing marketing automation programs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have marketing research, which is the analysis of human behavior and decision-making patterns, primarily through the use of surveys and experiments. This is a somewhat less objective form of marketing that is focused on understanding what appeals to different markets and segments, and why they might or might not buy the products manufactured or sold by your company. In the course of getting to know your customers and prospects, you’ll inevitably come across a wide variety of data — both public and private — and it’s up to you to discern what is and what is not useful information. 

The Difference Between Marketing Automation Software and a Marketing Automation Platform

If you’re new to marketing automation and have never used it, then it might be worth spending a little bit of time understanding the difference between marketing automation software and a marketing automation platform. Let’s take a quick tour of both.

Marketing automation software, also known as a marketing automation tool, can be used to carry out all of the tasks involved in offline and online marketing, such as email marketing, social media marketing, and web content curation, among others. These tasks can be automated, which makes them extremely useful for those who want to free up time to focus on more creative and strategic aspects of their campaigns. 

A marketing automation tool is simply a tool that helps you automate marketing processes. It doesn’t deliver any content, communicate with any potential customers, or allow for any kind of human interaction. These tools help eliminate all of the drudgery involved in traditional marketing, leaving you with more time to focus on the fun parts of marketing — like designing amazing offers, creating compelling content, and growing your audience.

The key takeaways for now are that if you’re new to marketing automation, then the world is your oyster and all of the above should get you started.