Marketing Automation Terminology: Your Go-To Guide

Terminology What?

If you’re just beginning to explore the concept of marketing automation (or even if you’re already well-accustomed in the space), it’s likely that you may have stumbled across some terminology you’re not familiar with, or are having trouble getting your head around. The marketing industry is amass with jargon, and automation is no exception. From “lead nurturing” to “progressive profiling”, some of the terms are enough to overwhelm even the most experienced marketer.

Fortunately, we’re here to lay it all out, and explain some of the most complex, as well as the lesser known marketing automation terminology in the most simplistic way we can. So, whether you’re new to the industry or already automation-savvy, we’ve compiled a glossary of words and phrases to help you on your way to automation expertise.

A/B Testing (AKA Split Testing)

A/B testing, or split testing, is the process of comparing two variants in a marketing campaign and testing small differences to see how they influence customer behaviour. It can be used across a range of communications, such as email subject lines, or the text on a call to action button.

The process involves running two variations of a campaign to a controlled group of customers to find out which one proves the most successful. You can repeat this process as many times as you like in order to optimise your marketing campaigns.

Automation Rules

Automation rules allow you to perform certain marketing and sales actions based on criteria you set within your customer relationship management (CRM) system. There are various instances in which an automation rule may be applied, and the rules you set up will assign an action based on the prospect’s activity.

For example, you may have a rule that assigns a specific action for users completing a form submission, and based on their location. In this scenario, the rule is combining both criteria and prospect actions. So, if a user from the UK expresses interest in receiving a whitepaper by completing a whitepaper request form, the prospect will be assigned to a representative based in the UK for follow up.

Dynamic Lists

Dynamic lists allow you to collate a list of prospects or customers that match a specific criteria. The process involves creating a new list within your CRM system, selecting the criteria, and if someone matches this criteria they will automatically be added to the dynamic list.

Dynamic lists are useful in managing prospect data that is likely to change regularly. If for whatever reason someone no longer matches the given criteria, they will be automatically removed from the list. There are various ways in which a dynamic list can used, such as for recipient lists for an email newsletter signup, to seed a drip campaign or for use in further automation strategies.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is the process of attracting potential prospects to your product or service via your marketing channels. Your social platforms, paid social and content marketing efforts (to name a few), then converting by providing value in exchange for their data. The value can take the form of content, competitions, webinars, quizzes, events and so on.

Lead Management

Once you have a lead, there are a variety of tools available out there which allow you to segment the hot from your cold prospects. By identifying genuine leads using intelligent, data-driven insight based on user behaviour allows you to pass only interested buyers to your sales team. Giving them a much better chance of closing the sale using a customised sales pipeline, rather than resorting to methods like cold-calling.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing describes the process of developing relationships with prospects along every step of the user journey, and throughout each stage of the sales funnel. It involves combining marketing and communication efforts, listening to the needs of your prospects, and reacting accordingly based on their needs and behaviour.

Developing leads in today’s buyer-driven marketplace means establishing and nurturing buyer relationships (usually with a lead scoring system), which then allows you to create a framework in which to base a content marketing strategy that resonates with your customers. Which moves us on to…

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is a process used to “rank” prospects against a scale that represents their perceived value to your business. This information allows you to attend to users in order of priority and identify your hottest prospects. Lead scoring helps you customise a prospect’s experience based on interest level and where they are in the sales funnel by taking the appropriate action in response to their behaviour.

The best lead scoring systems incorporate both explicit information (usually provided by the user themselves), such as industry, job title or location, alongside implicit information. Implicit information is gathered by monitoring consumer behaviour, such as how many times they visit your website, time spent on site, email opens, and activity on social platforms – to name a few.

Progressive Profiling

Progressive profiling allows you to display new form fields to prospects based on the data points that have already been collected. This means you can gather information over time to allow you to create a comprehensive profile on them.

For example, imagine a user visits your website for the first time and is required to fill out a few form fields. Next time that same user visits your site, the CRM will replace any of the form fields you’ve already collected with new ones. Rather than overwhelming users with extensive forms to fill out all in one go, a progressive technique allows you to build up prospect profiles is a more user friendly way, usually resulting in increased likelihood of completion, as well as higher conversion rates.

Trigger-Based Marketing

Trigger-based marketing, sometimes referred to event-based marketing, allows you to identify key actions taking place during the customer, and overall business, lifecycle. So, when a particular “event” takes place, a user-specific activity will be carried out using pre-determined Automation Rules.

This is an extremely targeted form of marketing, and can be very effective if articulated properly because it triggers an action to be carried out at the precise time in which a prospect is likely to be active in a decision process.

Can We Help You Further?

If you’re still struggling to get your head around any of the above, or you’ve got questions surrounding a term that hasn’t been included, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we can send you our full Marketing Automation Terminology Guide to mull over. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn too.


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