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Marketing Automation Terms Your Print Shop Team Should Know

Marketing Automation Terms Your Print Shop Team Should Know
Written by MicroStartups

Marketing automation saves your business time and helps to make it more efficient, allowing you to test, measure, and analyze your campaigns. It’s essential your print team know what you’re talking about when you discuss automation, so you can get max value from it, which is why we’ve explained the key terms below.

The Importance Of Marketing Automation For Print Teams

A marketing automation platform streamlines the process of delivering the right mix of personalized emails, text messages, videos, or direct mail to people who have shown an interest in a company’s products or services. Marketing automation can help small, local companies as well as big, global corporations.

For B2B marketers, the automatic messaging helps segment a large database of contacts into smaller groups of qualified leads who may be ready to request a quote or speak with a salesperson.

From the customer’s perspective, receiving the most relevant information at each stage of their decision-making process improves the overall experience of gathering product information.

The type of messages sent depends on what level of interest each contact in a database has shown. For example, different types of messages will be sent to newsletter subscribers, webinar attendees, and trade-show visitors.

Users of marketing automation software can track when each message was delivered, if it was opened, and if the recipient responded to the call to action (CTA) included with each message. When a prospect appears closer to reaching a buying decision, the appropriate salesperson is automatically notified so they can make a quick, person-to-person follow-up.

Your print-shop marketing team should understand the basics of marketing automation for two reasons: (1) so they can propose effective printed elements for integrated marketing programs; and (2) so they can use automated messaging to improve their own follow-up with qualified leads.

The field of marketing automation is evolving to include new channels of digital and printed communications. So, new terminology seems to pop up every day. Plus, different providers of marketing automation software use different terminology to describe similar processes. What one software company calls a “drip-marketing” campaign is described as “lead nurturing” by another.

The Essentials: Contacts, Leads, Prospects, Subscribers And More

Marketing automation was created to convert contacts into subscribers, leads, prospects, and qualified leads. Below are the automation terms your print team needs to know.


This includes everyone in your marketing database. These can include the names of people you met at trade shows or lists of people who attended company-sponsored events.


Includes everyone who has given you permission (“opted-in”) to continue sending them email communications. The marketing automation software provider will keep you apprised of regulations that restrict the number and type of promotional emails you can send in bulk to contacts who haven’t subscribed to your email list.

Leads or Prospects

Potential customers who have filled out a form on a landing page of your website. People voluntarily fill out online forms so they can attend a webinar, download a white paper or e-book, or request a brochure. Whereas a subscriber may only give you their email address, a lead or prospect will provide data about their employer, job title, phone number, mailing address, and level of purchasing authority.

Lead Source

Data indicates how each lead arrived at the form on the landing page. Did it come through an ad on social media? An online press release? A blog post? A trade-show? An organic search of certain keywords on Google?  A QR code printed on a postcard or trade-show poster? Lead-source information helps marketers measure the effectiveness of certain marketing activity.


The process of categorizing leads, customers, and contacts based on shared characteristics. A segment could include all first-time customers, all customers who have purchased specific types of services in the past six months, or individuals who work in different types of jobs within different types of industries.

You could also set up a segment to reach out to customers who have purchased from you in the past but haven’t done business with you in a year or more. When your contact list is segmented, you can develop messaging that addresses the specific interests of each segment.

A Persona

A one-page description of a targeted customer. A persona typically includes information about their occupation, demographics, and types of problems they are seeking to solve. Content creators will craft different types of content for each “persona” a marketer wants to target.

Lead Scoring

Helps determine when a prospect should receive a certain type of marketing material or a phone call from a sales rep. An MQL (marketing-qualified lead) could be scored on criteria such as which pages a person has viewed on your website or the number of emails the person has opened. An SQL (sales-qualified lead) meets the specific criteria that your sales team has established for person-to-person follow-up.

A Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Allows marketers to unify all of the data collected about a specific customer from multiple channels so they can deliver more personalized experiences throughout that customer’s buying journey.

Other Important Marketing Terms

Alongside the main automation terms, there are some other key marketing points your print team should know.

Buying Journey or Sales Funnel

Every subscriber, lead or prospect will be at a different stage of the decision-making process at any given time. Most names in a company’s database may just be starting their journey of discovering potential suppliers of a specific product. Prospects may have moved from basic awareness to active consideration. At the narrow end of the sales funnel are smaller groups of qualified leads who are close to becoming customers.


This is the prospect’s behaviour that launches the automated response. For example, when a customer places their first order, they might immediately receive a thank-you message and instructions for following the status of the job. Or, a new subscriber to your newsletter could receive an email encouraging them to fill out a form to receive an e-book or product catalogue.

Some automated workflows include “triggers” to send printed pieces to customers in specific segments that have taken a specific action.  For instance, you could set up a workflow to automatically send a direct-mail postcard or promotional product to a lead who has signed up for a webinar.

Drip Marketing (or Lead Nurturing)

A strategically planned sequence of triggered messages designed to further qualify leads and gradually direct them towards a purchase.

Continue to Learn the Language

Automation is dramatically changing how marketing campaigns are planned and conducted. Marketers now have powerful tools to test, measure, and analyze which elements of a multi-channel marketing campaign to attract the most qualified leads.

Your print shop needs to understand how marketing automation works so you can be prepared to discuss how QR codes, direct-mail postcards, print catalogues, promotional items, and interactive packaging, experiential activations, or out-of-home advertising fit into the mix.

Author Bio: Usman Ali, from Ordant, a cloud-based, integrated Print MIS and Web to Print software for print companies and sign shops.





About the author


A team of writers and marketers, MicroStartups was founded to inspire the entrepreneurial and business community to give back. We believe in business growth through giving and supporting the local community.

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