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The latest buzzword in B2B marketing, marketing automation is a sophisticated software solution that focuses on nurturing customer leads. Email marketing is one of the most commonly used platforms within the wider marketing automation strategy, which often leads to confusion between the two.

The main difference between B2B email marketing and B2B marketing automation is intelligence. With email marketing, you send a blast and analyse clicks and open rates. Marketing automation records every touch your company makes with a prospect, telling you not only who opened and clicked through your email but also which pages they viewed on your website and for how long, whether they’ve read your social media, filled out your survey or read your blog post.

Marketing automation provides superior functionality than email marketing alone.

Lead Scoring

With email marketing, best practice is to send an email blast, track click through and open rates and pass warm leads to your sales team to close. Many of these leads however are not fully qualified. As they are not ready to buy, the sales team often fails to see the results they hoped for.

Marketing automation scores leads based on how they engage with your campaigns and content across a number of platforms, as well as demographic statistics and characteristics. Once your leads reach a threshold score they are qualified as ‘sales ready’ and can be passed on to your sales team, who are likely to see a higher success rate.

Lead Nurturing

It can be difficult to keep your leads engaged with email marketing alone. Typically, marketers send email blasts to a huge database of leads, with little idea as to where they are in the buying cycle, or whether the content is truly resonating with them.

Marketing automation employs lead scoring which allows you to deliver content that’s relevant to your lead depending on the stage they are at in the buying cycle. With a better understanding of your consumer’s situation, you are able to tailor content that really speaks to them and moves them through the buying cycle to sale. Learn more about B2B lead generation.


Basic email marketing can be difficult to scale for growing companies. The more leads you have in your database and the more content you want to send out, the more time consuming the task can be.

Marketing automation is more ready to meet the demands of a growing customer base. 36% of Marketers who have adopted marketing automation stated the biggest benefit to be taking repetitive tasks out of marketers’ hands, so they can work on other projects [Redeye and TFM&A Insights “The Marketing Automation Report 2014” (2014)]. The functionality of marketing automation allows you to efficiently run a number of campaigns at once and create lead nurturing programs and lead scoring to attribute revenue directly to each marketing program.


It can be difficult to show how email marketing contributes to your bottom line revenue. Marketing automation provides functionality that tracks your efforts and provides in depth analytics for each campaign. You can also sync up your marketing automation system with your CRM to get even more in-depth data.


The case for marketing automation has never been stronger with 75% of companies that implement it seeing considerable ROI in just 12 months [Focus Research, 2013]. Email marketing remains a valuable tool in any marketing strategy, and marketing automation has demonstrated that when it’s an integral part of a well thought-out marketing plan, results can be astounding.


For more information on B2B Email Marketing read our article on Thank-You Emails Are The Most Important B2B Marketing Strategy 

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