Understanding the Difference Between Marketing Automation and Customer Relationship Marketing

Businesses today have multiple tools and software options available to help improve processes related to customer relationship marketing, customer management and overall marketing. Two terms that are often used in this context are marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM). These two concepts have some similarities and are often intrinsically connected, but they’re not the same thing. Here’s a brief outline of the difference between the two and how they affect your business.

Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management is a collection of techniques and software tools that let you and your employees better manage the complex interactions that occur between you and your customers.

With a CRM system, you can track and monitor important customer information such as, customer contact information, number and date of customer contacts, customer needs and requests, and the dollar amount of customer accounts.

You can also use CRM tools to keep track of prospects and new leads, separate customers and leads into appropriate categories, set appointments, and personalize customer interactions. CRM software lets you and your staff add to, change or delete customer data easily and quickly so your records reflect the most up-to-date information possible.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation allows you to automate many marketing functions to ensure they’re taken care of on time and in the proper order. This frequently includes the sending of marketing-related emails and tracking of customer behavior on your website. Marketing automation improves lead generation and nurturing by allowing you to deliver frequent messages that provide useful information while keeping your company at the top of your prospect’s or customer’s attention.

For example, an automated system lets you send follow-up messages to contacts, send thank you emails to those who download white papers, or send appropriate holiday or special occasion messages that encourage customer loyalty.

Marketing automation and CRM systems are frequently connected to allow easy sharing of data between them. This improves employee efficiency, consolidates customer information, and reduces the need for manual data entry.

How can you make better use of your customer relationship marketing and management processes?

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