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Marketing Integrations 101: Here's What You Need to Know

More than just a hot trend, marketing integrations are becoming the norm today. While some of the most effective marketing teams have been using integrations for years, not every marketer is familiar with the term.

In this article, we will go over the definition of marketing integrations, how they work, and provide examples (and templates!) that will take your marketing skills to the next level.

What are marketing integrations?

Marketing integrations are connections between different apps, created to exchange data and automate specific actions related to marketing processes.

Usually, marketing integrations rely on application programming interfaces (APIs) provided by app developers, and can be established either by:

  • Writing code
  • Using a native app connector (where available)
  • Using an integrations tool (like Integromat)

For example, connecting the Facebook Lead Ads app to an email marketing tool allows you to automatically upload leads from Facebook to one or more email marketing lists. This is a common example of a marketing integration.

The point of marketing integrations is to spend less time on repetitive tasks, and let the tools do the work automatically, according to the needs of the user.

This saves time and resources, and also reduces the chance of errors in the process.

How do marketing integrations work?

Most integrations (including marketing integrations) leverage the power of APIs.

To put it simply, an application programming interface (API), is a method for two pieces of software to communicate. Let’s use a quick analogy for a clearer picture of how APIs work.

Say your car breaks down and you take it down to the mechanic. You’re aware of a general issue (the engine doesn't start anymore), and provide that information along with other details to the front desk at the garage. The receptionist reports it to the mechanic who fixes your car, and comes back with your keys once it’s done after a couple of days.

In this scenario, the API would be the front desk receptionist, taking your request, bringing it to the system (the mechanic) and delivering the response back to you. You have no idea what happened behind the scenes exactly, but you’ve provided the required details, and received a result in return.

Circling back to software integrations, how can marketers actually start leveraging these APIs? Depending on your needs, the best option available is usually one of following:

  • Native integrations. These are not always available, but may prove useful when the integration is simple, or when there is no need for multiple integrations
  • Integration tools. These allow you to create integrations without using code. They are also the go-to option when integrations are a strategic need

There are other ways to implement an integration, such as coding your own custom integration. However, this might prove a lot more difficult (and not always relevant) in a marketing setting.

On the other hand, Integromat offers the ability to connect apps and set up custom integrations without code, which opens up the realm of APIs to marketing teams.

In order to get a better picture of marketing integrations, let’s look at some popular examples, along with templates that you can use to create useful integrations in minutes.

Popular types of marketing integrations

In this section, we will go over popular types of marketing integrations, including:

  • Email marketing integrations
  • CRM marketing integrations
  • Analytics integrations
  • Social media integrations
  • Forms integrations
  • Content management integrations

For each category, we’ll define what the integrations are about, and include an Integromat template you can use straight away.

Email marketing integrations

Email marketing integrations are connections between your email marketing platform and other tools.

These integrations are usually created to populate lists for email marketing campaigns, but can also be used to classify and qualify leads, and also to trigger campaigns based on specific criteria (such as date, or number of leads in a list).

Some of the ways your email marketing strategy can benefit from integrating with the rest of your stack include:

  • Personalizing emails with details pulled from your CRM
  • Triggering emails from events happening in other tools
  • Collecting leads from other channels to enroll into an email cadence

Email marketing integrations are among the most popular ones, because let’s face it: Moving email data around from one app to another is a huge waste of time and resources.

With Integromat, you can do this, and a lot more. For example, the template below will let you send new landing page sign-ups to your email marketing platform.

CRM integrations

Your CRM is a mine of information, and integrations act as a great enhancer. In fact, some CRMs - such as HubSpot - are now almost entirely focused on providing native integrations to make the most of the data contained there.

CRM integrations will allow you to:

  • Import customer details to improve communications, sales, and support
  • Trigger campaigns at specific pipeline stages
  • Feed dashboards with data

On the other hand, your sales colleagues can also benefit from marketing insights. Integrating marketing tools to automatically enrich CRM can help by:

  • Adding notes to give context for salespeople
  • Displaying lead interactions with marketing materials
  • Updating subscribers status with latest actions

The purpose of marketing CRM integrations is to go both ways.

Integrations are also the opportunity to test new channels and campaigns that wouldn't be scalable without automation.

Using the following template for example, an SMS can be triggered every time a new CRM contact is created.

Analytics integrations

Marketing teams use lots of apps and tools. While useful, multiple data sources can also make analytics - or the gathering of relevant - confusing.

Analytics integrations allow each tool to forward relevant data to your analytics platform directly, reducing your involvement as well as any friction in the process.

Whether you use Google Analytics or want to set up your own custom spreadsheet to track everything, these integrations will be able to pull key data from your marketing stack, feeding reports and dashboards automatically.

For example, the following template allows you to automatically export Facebook Insights data to a Google Sheets spreadsheet.

Social media integrations

Social media integrations are useful to streamline social media processes and enable communication with other tools. Some of the tasks you can automate with social media integrations include:

  • Scheduling posts for publication
  • Gathering insights about your social media channels
  • Running targeted campaigns for specific leads in your system
  • Monitoring your market and competition based on social media activity

In order to do this, you can use dedicated tools (such as Hootsuite or Buffer), or rely on broader solutions like Integromat.

Using the template below for example, you can leverage the “list” feature on Twitter to keep track of certain accounts, and receive a message on Slack whenever a new tweet is posted.

Forms integrations

Forms integrations are a great way to collect leads more effectively, gathering information and forwarding them to other tools to be nurtured, activated or verified.

Whether you want form submissions to be sent automatically to your CRM, or added to a specific mailing list, integrations will be your friend.

As a result, you’ll be able to scale your operations by working on more campaigns and processing more forms without having to put in the extra effort.

For example, the template below allows you to add new form responses to a database. This is particularly useful to keep a single point of reference for all form submissions that your team can access anytime.

How to rethink your marketing tech stack from an integrations perspective

If you already have a marketing machine rolling, bringing integrations into the mix can be a great way to make it even better.

The first thing you need to consider is whether integrations can help your business.

As strange as it might sound in an article dedicated to integrations, these might not be necessary depending on your product, business model, or specific marketing operations.

But if you feel like processes are not as efficient as they could be, you can start by doing the groundwork, which includes:

  1. Mapping your process and workflows: Lay it all down and get a bird's-eye view of your marketing operations as they stand right now
  2. Listing the tools involved: What software and tools are you using to run your processes?
  3. Checking for integrations: Are your tools integration-friendly? Do they feature an API and if so, is there any documentation available?
  4. Deciding how to integrate: Are you going for a native integration (if available), or for a third-party one using Integromat?

Going through these steps will help you approach your marketing strategy with a different perspective, and set you on a course to iterate processes with useful integrations.

Conclusion

Throughout this article, we’ve seen that marketing integrations can facilitate your work by connecting applications with each other, allowing them to communicate and run operations on their own.

Beyond the sheer practicality integrations bring to daily operations, you can see that they also enable a radical shift in the way you approach marketing and business in general.

In his “The World Through an API” talk, Andreessen Horowitz partner Martin Casado highlights the opportunity APIs present to stand on the shoulders of existing services to build your own.

In the context of marketing integrations, this statement can be materialized by never having to copy and paste records from your CRM again, or by automating report creation at large.

At the end of the day, it’s all about improving your work, and focusing your energies on what matters the most.

Happy integrating!

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