Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation: What’s the Difference?

In the realm of digital marketing, two prominent strategies have emerged as frontrunners for businesses seeking to engage their audience and drive conversions: email marketing and marketing automation.

Both approaches offer unique benefits and play vital roles in a comprehensive marketing campaign.

However, understanding the nuances and distinctions between these two strategies is crucial for choosing the right path to achieve optimal results.

In this article, we will delve into the world of email marketing and marketing automation, exploring their characteristics, strengths, and use cases, empowering you to make informed decisions for your marketing endeavors.

Without further ado, this is email marketing vs. marketing automation.

First, I want to define the terms. So…

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves sending targeted and personalized emails to a group of individuals to promote products and services or engage with an audience.

It’s a direct form of communication that allows businesses to connect with their customers, build relationships, and drive conversions.

Email marketing also includes building a subscriber list to market to. After all, if you don’t have an email list, you can’t really do email marketing. These subscribers can include existing customers, potential leads, or individuals who have shown interest in your company’s products or services.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is the use of technology and software to automate and streamline various marketing tasks and processes to optimize efficiency, deliver personalized experiences, and drive better results generally.

It involves leveraging advanced tools, analytics, and workflows to automate repetitive tasks, segment audiences, track user behavior, and deliver targeted messages across multiple channels, one of which includes email marketing.

What is the difference between email marketing and marketing automation?

In short, email marketing and marketing automation shouldn’t be compared, because one is a marketing channel and another is a marketing method.

It would make more sense to compare something like email marketing and SMS marketing, as they are both marketing channels, or marketing automation and manual marketing, as they are both marketing methods.

Instead of asking “What’s the difference?”, I’ll focus more on how you can use email marketing and marketing automation in tandem to bolster your marketing efforts while saving yourself some time (and arguably money).

As mentioned above, marketing automation is a tactic you can use with email marketing on most email marketing platforms.

Using platforms like ActiveCampaign or GetResponse, email marketing can be automated to improve personalization and remove repetitive tasks. This can include the following:

  • Triggered emails: when a subscriber takes an action, you can automate an email to be sent to them instead of having to do so manually for every action taken. These can include welcome emails, transactional emails, and more.
  • Personalization: as mentioned above, if you’re sending emails when customers take action, those emails are personalized by default and make the customer’s experience with your brand tailored to their actions.
  • Marketing campaigns: considering how many people you’re likely marketing to, it just makes sense to automate sending emails at a large scale.

However, while marketing automation can be used with email marketing, it isn’t limited to email marketing. Marketing automation can also be with CRMs or AI, so you can automate things like your sales pipeline or lead nurturing.