Marketing Automation in Japan — An Industry Overview

Posted By Jim Kersey

Japan’s marketing automation landscape is still being shaped by advancements in technology and changing consumer behaviors.

At its core, it offers businesses and the marketers that serve them the opportunity to automate repetitive or formulaic marketing tasks, allowing them to make improvements to their processes, such as increased productivity, personalization and audience targeting accuracy.

Operating across various channels, from emails to social media and beyond, we outline the major providers of marketing automation tools in Japan and how companies are leveraging their services.

Table of Contents

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Marketing Automation Usage in Japan (In Billion JPY)

As it is in other nations, Japan’s marketing automation sector is highly competitive with a few international players leading the pack. This includes the popular Pardot Salesforce, with a detected usage on over 14% of Japanese websites, followed closely by Hubspot.

However, although increasing rapidly, adoption has not always been widespread as in some Western markets. This may partially be due to traditional business practices and communication styles in Japan, which often prioritize personal relationships and face-to-face interactions.

It may also be influenced by a conservative approach to adopt third party technologies (with Japanese businesses often preferring to develop in-house software); privacy and data security concerns (which are extremely high compared to many nations); the complexity of Japanese as a language; and a shortage of professionals with the necessary skills to implement and manage these tools.

Yet, the market is expected to grow steadily with many businesses recognizing the potential benefits of marketing automation tools.

Top 10 Marketing Automation Services in Japan (2023)

Technology Websites (%)
Pardot Salesforce 14.34
Hubspot 13.92
BowNow 10.01
Omniture SiteCatalyst 8.96
Adobe Marketing Cloud 5.8
AD EBis 5.33
Adobe Analytics 4.23
Klaviyo 3.87
Karte 3.45
Marketo 3.23

Source: BuiltWith

Forecasted Market Growth (2019-2025)

2019 40.2
2020 44.74
2021 51.1
2022 58.3
2023 63.55
2024 68.9
2025 73.7

Source: Statista

Marketing Automation vs CRM Software

Marketing team using marketing automation in Japan

Many businesses often confuse CRM and marketing automation solutions because both let you reach out to customers and cultivate connections with them.

Put simply, a CRM is primarily sales-focused, and marketing automation software is typically marketing-focused.

The distinction is in how each tool assists you in meeting specific client demands and building relationships with customers at various phases of the buying journey.

Marketing Automation — Focuses on automating and optimizing marketing processes, delivering personalized content, nurturing leads, and coordinating multi-channel campaigns.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) — Centers on managing customer interactions, storing customer data, tracking sales opportunities, and providing insights to enhance customer relationships and sales management.

How Are Businesses Leveraging Marketing Automation Services in Japan

Businesses leverage marketing automation services and AI driven programs in various ways to optimize their marketing efforts, enhance customer engagement, and drive growth.

Lead Generation and Nurturing

Businesses use marketing automation to capture leads through various channels such as websites, landing pages, and social media.

Once leads are captured, automation tools can automatically segment them based on demographics, behaviors, and interactions. When set up right, automated nurturing campaigns can deliver targeted content and messages to leads, guiding them through a predefined sales funnel.

HB Pro Tip: Design a marketing sales funnel that will actually work for your Japanese leads and customers is key. Content must be fully localized and adjusted for the needs and preferences of the local market before automation tools have a chance of working.

Personalized Communication

Marketing automation allows businesses to send personalized messages and content to their audience based on their preferences and behaviors.

By analyzing customer data, businesses can tailor their communications to resonate with individual recipients, increasing engagement and conversions.

Multi-Channel Campaigns

Marketing automation services enable businesses to coordinate and execute campaigns across multiple channels, including email, social media, SMS, and more.

In Japan, consistent brand messaging across various channels is important for reassuring that your brand is reputable and worth investing in—especially if you are a foreign entity that is new to the market.

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Segmentation and Targeting


The interests of the Japanese population can different widely based on demographic factors like age. While younger audiences may have more time for global trends and communication styles, older customers and clients will be more traditional in their taste.

Automation tools can help to facilitate audience segmentation based on various criteria, such as demographics, interests, purchase history, and engagement level.
Businesses can create targeted campaigns that resonate with specific segments, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

HB Pro Tip: Marketers can control marketing automation tools by first defining clear campaign objectives, understanding their audience through detailed segmentation, and crafting personalized content for each segment. They should set up automated workflows that guide segments through personalized journeys, continually test and optimize campaigns based on data analysis, ensure compliance with privacy regulations, and stay agile to adapt to changing market dynamics. This strategic approach ensures that targeted campaigns resonate effectively with specific segments, driving engagement and conversions.

Behavioral Triggers

Automation allows businesses to set up triggers based on specific customer behaviors, such as abandoned carts, website visits, or clicks on certain links.

When these triggers are activated, automated responses such as follow-up emails or special offers are sent to the customer.

Drip Campaigns

Drip campaigns involve sending a series of pre-scheduled messages to leads or customers over time. Businesses often use drip campaigns for onboarding new customers, nurturing leads, and maintaining engagement.

Lead Scoring

Automation services often include lead scoring, which assigns points to leads based on their interactions and behaviors. Higher-scoring leads indicate stronger interest and engagement, helping sales or marketing teams prioritize their efforts.

Analytics and Reporting

Automation platforms provide detailed analytics and insights into campaign performance. Businesses can track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and more to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Workflow Automation

Beyond customer interactions, automation can streamline internal processes such as lead assignment, task notifications, and data synchronization between departments.

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Automated Social Media Management in Japan

Marketer preparing strategy for marketing automation in Japan

Marketing automation tools can schedule and publish social media posts across platforms. Automated posting ensures consistent online presence and engagement with the audience.

Marketers relying on marketing automation in Japan for social media must carefully consider content relevance and engagement.

Tailor automated posts to each platform’s format and audience expectations. Maintain authenticity by adding a human touch to interactions and responses.

Regularly review and adjust automated content to align with real-time trends and news. Monitor analytics to measure engagement, reach, and conversion rates, adapting strategies based on performance data.
Balance automation with genuine engagement to ensure a consistent, effective social media presence that resonates with the target audience.

Read Our Annual Review of Japan’s Social Media Landscape!

What to Consider when Using Marketing Automation in Japan

While marketing automation offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to acknowledge potential risks when relying on them in a market as unique and complex as Japan.

  • Cultural Nuances — Japanese consumer preferences and cultural norms often required tailored messaging and approaches. Localizing content and understanding cultural nuances was essential for successful marketing automation campaigns.
  • Data Privacy — Data privacy regulations, such as Japan’s Act on the Protection of Personal Information (APPI), required businesses to be cautious about collecting, storing, and using customer data for marketing purposes.
  • Loss of Personal Touch — Over-automation can lead to impersonal interactions, affecting customer relationships.
  • Initial Complexity — Implementing automation requires time and effort for setup and integration.
  • Technology Dependency — System malfunctions or downtime can disrupt communication and campaigns.
  • Content Quality — Automation requires well-crafted and localized content to maintain engagement.
  • Integration Complexity — Integrating marketing automation platforms with existing systems and data sources could be complex and time-consuming. This challenge was particularly relevant for businesses with legacy systems.
  • Skills Gap — As with many emerging technologies, there was a shortage of professionals with expertise in marketing automation. Companies had to invest in training or seek external assistance to maximize the benefits of these tools.

What’s Next for Marketing Automation in Japan?


Despite several reasons contributing to a slower adoption of marketing automation in Japan compared to other nations, many businesses recognize the benefits it offers.

Efficiency, data-driven decision-making, and personalized customer experiences are all a major pull towards the use of marketing automation and AI in marketing and advertising today.

However, successful implementation requires a strategic approach, an understanding of local customer needs, regular optimisation based on data-driven insights, and the skills to use these tools in the right way.

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