At its best, marketing automation is a combination of software and strategy. It should allow you to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to delighted customers.
Think of effective marketing automation like growing a garden. You need fertile soil, ripe for growth. You need seeds to sow. And you need water and light to nurture those seeds into a lush, blooming plant. With good marketing automation, it's easier to nurture leads (the seedlings) well enough to produce paying customers (a lush, full-grown plant).
But it doesn't end there. Customers are more than just the output of successful marketing automation. They should be at the center of everything you do, which means marketing automation should continue to play an important role in your relationship with them.
That's why the most successful marketing automation strategies don't consider customers an afterthought at the end of a traditional funnel. Instead, customers should be at the center of a flywheel that gets more efficient when you add force to that flywheel, and reduce points of customer friction.
Successful marketing automation strategies will reduce that friction and speed up your flywheel, helping you continue to nurture customer relationships well after they've been passed to Sales and the deal has been won.