In my previous post, What's New for Marketers in Sitecore 9, I gave a quick overview of the new features in Sitecore 9 and 9.1 that are most relevant for marketers. In this post I'll dive into Marketing Automation in a little more detail.
In Sitecore 8.x and prior marketers can create Engagement Plans so the system can perform automated actions associated with different states and conditions, a feature that evolved to the Marketing Automation application in Sitecore 9.x.
Marketing Automation link on Sitecore's Dashboard
So what can Marketing Automation do? It empowers marketers to control how a website responds to visitors by defining automated system responses to user interactions. For example, it could automatically send an email to a user who abandoned the shopping cart with items in it or increase the engagement value of a visitor who completes the registration form.
Although it is possible to achieve the same end result by using the features available in Sitecore versions before 9.x, there is a huge difference in terms of the content editing experience. Pre 9.x, Engagement Plans require Microsoft Silverlight, a browser plugin that is deprecated for Google Chrome, so you are forced to use Microsoft Internet Explorer or Apple Safari.
Error shown while accessing Engagement Plans on Google Chrome
In Sitecore 9's Marketing Automation application, you create and edit your automation campaigns in a very much improved drag-and-drop user interface. To create a campaign, you drag elements from the Toolbox pane and drop onto your canvas.
As in Engagement Plans in an automation campaign, you can specify when your contacts should automatically be enrolled in the campaign, the rules they should be evaluated against, and the marketing actions that must be applied to the contacts depending on their individual actions. For example, you can create a campaign to send a welcome email to first-time visitors.
Marketing Automation Toolbox elements
To summarize, Marketing Automation allows for omnichannel automation with updated engagement plans in a modern UI, which can have an impact on your speed while building out your business workflows with automation triggers.