Transitioning From Small Talk To Deep Conversation: The Difference Between Automation Studio And Journey Builder
Solution Architecture
December 7, 2022

Transitioning From Small Talk To Deep Conversation: The Difference Between Automation Studio And Journey Builder

Automation Studio and Journey Builder may seem similar for communication purposes, but there are unique differences between the two.

When you meet someone for the first time — whether it is at a work function, a first date or in a class — you likely ask them some boiler-plate questions. What do they do for a living? Where are they from? What are their hobbies? Did the end of “Game of Thrones” enrage them as much as it enraged you?

These are questions you would ask of any stranger. They are designed to garner more information about the person, to get to know them. Once you have more information, you can jump into more detailed talks, using what you already know to guide conversation in a more personal direction.

In a way, marketing works much the same way. The divide between a stranger and someone you have a bit more detail about is similar to the divide between Automation Studio and Journey Builder. These two suites have different functions and serve different purposes. To get an understanding of when to use each, let’s take a look at what each software does.

Breaking the Ice

Just as small-talk and deeper conversation have similar goals, so do Automation Studio and Journey Builder. While there is some overlap between the two, each has a distinct use. Both have multi-channel communication, sending out messages such as emails and SMS. But whether the marketer wants to send an individual message versus a broad message will govern which of the two they use.

Automation Studio’s main function is to send batch emails. One of the key differences between it and Journey Builder is the timing of when the messaging goes out. For instance, Automation Studio is best used for your daily marketing emails. For these messages, marketers identify an eligible segment of users and set up an automated message using a filter or SQL activity.

To illustrate, every day is someone’s birthday. So, each day, Automation Studio can send a batch email to all customers whose birthday falls on that day. Just like your daily sends, these emails are sent together as part of a mass communication.

In this way, Automation Studio segments customers in a way that Journey Builder cannot.  

Journey Builder, on the other hand, is capable of things Automation Studio isn’t. It can test different strategies. One of the biggest differences between the two is that customer activity triggers activity in Journey Builder. Because it is designed to communicate on a more individual level, Journey Builder can do different engagement splits. For example, if you send out an email, you can tailor what follow-up marketing the recipient gets based on whether they open that email.

Further, Journey Builder has real-time reporting, allowing you to track the progress of a campaign as it progresses. Conversely, if you launch a campaign with Automation Studio, you will need to wait until its completion before you can gain insight into its performance.  

Moving Past Chitchat  

Now that you have an idea as to the differences between Automation Studio and Journey Builder, you need to understand when to use each.

Automation Studio is best used when bringing in data from a third-party site. It can process data and store it in data extensions within Marketing Cloud. Then, you can leverage that data through filter and SQL activity to build segments. Once you have your segments built, you can determine how to communicate with them. If you want to send batch emails at specific times, then you would use Automation Studio to deploy that messaging.

Automation Studio uses batch emails, meaning customers get messages at the same time. However, Journey Builder is better if a customer can enter a campaign at any time. If a customer abandons a cart, for example, they would not be part of a batch email. With Journey Builder, you can send them a message based on that demonstrated behavior, entering them into a custom journey.

“Automation Studio segments customers in a way that Journey Builder cannot.” @Accelerize360

Click to Tweet

Building Intimacy

Whether there are differences in the messaging a customer receives will determine whether you use Journey Builder or Automation Studio. If every customer gets the same messages, you will want to use Automation Studio. If that messaging differs based on behavior, then Journey Builder is better.

Building a journey based on the way your customers interact with your content requires careful thought. Maybe you send out emails with two different subject lines to see how the email is performing  or you want people who open the email to get a followup text and people who don’t to get a push notification.

It all depends on how you want to craft a campaign. If a customer gets a followup email for an abandoned cart then they make a purchase, obviously, you don’t want them receiving emails toward that same goal. They need to exit the journey, so Journey Builder is more appropriate for such a case.  

There is no crisp disadvantage to not making the most of these two pieces of software. Not doing so is simply more of a missed opportunity. Without clear delineation or tracking, you would be hard-pressed to understand when your company has met its marketing goals.

Bolstering Charisma

With so many moving parts to consider, enlisting an experienced partner in the process of crafting journeys can be useful. An experienced partner can help identify which segments of customers need to enter into a journey and when.

A partner can help customize journeys to your company’s goals. They can identify segments and craft strategies to maximize the use of both Automation Studio and Journey Builder by helping you understand when to use each.

So, sharpen your proverbial small-talk game and make your marketing more like an intimate conversation with a friend. Make the most out of Automation Studio and Journey Builder today.

Marketing Cloud
Journey Builder