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What is Marketing Automation (MA) 2023?

Marketing automation is an indispensable tool for automating marketing activities and improving productivity not only in marketing but also in sales activities.

Marketing automation has become known in Japan, but when it comes to considering its introduction, there are so many types that many people may be at a loss as to which one to choose.

Marketing Automation

This time, let’s understand what marketing automation is and check the points to choose the best marketing automation.

[What is marketing automation?]

Start by digging deep into marketing automation.

●Definition of marketing automation

Marketing automation (MA) is a series of processes that visualize and automate marketing activities for lead nurturing (customer development), and the products that are implemented are also called marketing automation.

The market began to spread in 1999 with the success of marketing automation announced by Eloqua (now Oracle). Cloud-based products appeared in 2004 after high-speed internet became popular. After that, until 2014, it was a period of expansion of the marketing automation market, and it was around this time that it began to be recognized in Japan.

・Marketing automation functions

There are three features that must be included in marketing automation.

  • Automation and analysis of marketing activities: Reduce the manual work of marketers and measure the effectiveness of marketing activities with centrally managed data.
  • Collect and manage lead information: Gather details and keep up to date
  • Lead nurturing: Provide information requested by leads at an appropriate frequency to nurture their willingness to buy

There are also many value-added marketing automation such as recommendation engines and FAQ engines.

・Differences from other management products

As a management product for marketing and sales activities, in addition to marketing automation, there are SFA (Sales Force Automation) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management). No.

SFA takes over the subsequent process of marketing automation, from lead collection to increasing lead willingness to buy. SFA optimizes sales activities from the start of business negotiations to orders received, while CRM aims to maintain relationships with existing customers and improve long-term earnings.


Marketing automation compliance involves privacy laws and specific email laws . It is essential to ensure security in accordance with the law and to thoroughly manage IDs and passwords.

Why you need marketing automation

Traditional marketer work is mainly event marketing. Acquiring new leads at seminars, exhibitions, etc., and handing them over to the sales representatives completed the mission. However, times have changed and marketing activities have diversified. Marketers were tasked with developing leads with potential that sales representatives wanted, increasing the repeat rate from existing customers, and contributing to sales. In order to improve operational efficiency, IT and marketing automation became necessary.

[Advantages and disadvantages of introducing marketing automation]

Check out the pros and cons of implementing marketing automation.


There are four major advantages.

・Reduction of man-hours for marketing operations

The biggest advantage is the ability to reduce man-hours, especially in the lead development phase. It is important to communicate well with leads for lead development, but if you use marketing automation, you can complete correspondence for thousands of people at once.

・Reduction of human error

No matter how high the ability is, mistakes will occur if human intervention is done. Marketing automation doesn’t make the same mistakes.

・Advanced analysis

In order to improve the results of marketing activities, it is necessary to regularly analyze data and make continuous improvements. Marketing automation allows for a wide variety of analyses.

・Quality improvement of leads 

Effective lead nurturing ensures quality leads are passed on to sales reps.

● Disadvantages

Also check the disadvantages of using it.

・Introduction cost is high

To really take advantage of marketing automation, you need to choose a paid product that has the features you need.

・Operating cost is required

For safe operation of marketing automation, it may be necessary to train related parties, hire new employees with high IT literacy, and even hire external consultants.

・There are too many functions to use

There is no point in introducing marketing automation if you cannot use it even though it has a wealth of functions.

[Points to choose for marketing automation]

Let’s check the points to choose marketing automation.

– Matching the business model

B2B (BtoB/Business to Business) and B2C (BtoC/Business to Consumer) require different functions.

・For B2B

Because the target audience is limited, there are many people involved in making decisions, and the products and services handled are expensive, it takes a long time to make a purchase. Choose a marketing automation that has a lot of features such as new lead acquisition and lead nurturing.

・For B2C

It can be said that the target is a large number, the decision maker is an individual, the products and services handled are relatively inexpensive, and the process to receive an order is short. It is characterized by frequent use of SNS for communication. Marketing automation is the best because it can handle large amounts of data, centrally manage information distribution channels, and is good at automating distribution and automating analysis.

● The product should be suitable for your height.

It is necessary to choose marketing automation that meets the needs of the field.

・Are necessary functions covered?

It’s okay if you check what you want to do with marketing automation and have the minimum necessary functions to realize it.

・Is it cost-effective?

It is also important to choose marketing automation that can be expected to be cost-effective, such as reducing labor costs.

・Domestic or foreign

For use in Japan and overseas, foreign products that support a wide range of languages ​​and are compatible with global business practices are suitable. For domestic use only, it may be better to use domestically produced marketing automation that closely corresponds to Japanese business practices.

・Integrated or decentralized

If you plan to introduce other than marketing automation such as recommendation engine, FAQ engine, SFA, CRM, etc., an integrated type that integrates one company’s product group is suitable, but the cost is high. The decentralized type only introduces marketing automation, so the initial investment is small, but it can be expensive to link with other tools later.

●Marketing automation comparison

We compared the marketing automation products that have a lot of implementation records in Japan. Please refer to the selection points introduced so far.

[Improve productivity with marketing automation]

If you clarify the purpose of introducing marketing automation and select a product that meets the conditions, there is no doubt that the productivity of marketing activities will improve, but it would be best if there was a recommendation engine or FAQ engine. Please consider linking with AIX Lab
, which enables advanced customer analysis using AI, personalized recommendations, and optimal delivery via SMS, LINE, and email .


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