What is Marketing Automation?
This is the definition you can find by one click on Wikipedia.
Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automates repetitive tasks.
Marketing departments, consultants, and part-time marketing employees benefit by specifying criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes which are then interpreted, stored and executed by software, which increases efficiency and reduces human error. Originally focused on email marketing automation, marketing automation refers to a broad range of automation and analytic tools for marketing especially inbound marketing. Marketing Automation platforms are used as a hosted or web-based solution, and no software installation is required by a customer.
The use of a marketing automation platform is to streamline sales and marketing organizations by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions.
Marketing automation is a platform that marketers use to plan, coordinate, manage and measure all of their marketing campaigns, both online and offline.
Why Marketing Automation? I am Small but Great!
Modern marketing is organized around campaigns, and marketing automation manages those campaigns, such as welcome campaigns, nurture campaigns, event reminders, and onboarding campaigns. Sometimes, they are simple and follow a linear course of action. … That makes marketing faster and easier. Below are 7 proven benefits that you can see easily.
One important function of marketing automation is simplifying routine organizational and marketing tasks. It effectively eliminates repetitive manual processes by substituting automated solutions. This, in turn, increases productivity as marketing department personnel are able to put increased focus on tasks that require more stringent manual monitoring.
- Workflow automation
A successful inbound marketing campaign will need a range of assets like forms, calls-to-action (CTAs), and conversion pages, but it’s the automated workflows that tie all these together, says Matthew Buckley in an article on the New Breed Marketing blog.
When manually performing repetitive, routine tasks, human error can get in the way. Marketing automation systemizes activities, processes, and documentation, allowing for a smoother marketing workflow. The more advanced software platforms include automation of internal marketing processes such as budgeting and planning, approval, workplace collaboration, and other related processes.
- Channel agnosticism
Marketing automation tools are channel-agnostic in the sense that they can be used in different marketing platforms that include email, SEO, CRM tools, and social media. Additionally, the platform serves as a centralized hub for a variety of marketing activities, making the marketing professional’s life a whole lot easier.
- Increase in revenue
Investing in marketing automation – or any software, for that matter – isn’t necessarily cheap. But the benefits of the tool, if properly utilized, can justify the upfront investment.
Here are some statistics to consider:
- B2B marketers with successful lead-nurturing programs reported, on average, a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads.
- 78 percent of high-performing marketers identify marketing automation as a key contributor to improved revenue.
- Between 2012 and 2015, 84 percent of top-performing businesses use or plan to use marketing automation software.
- By 2020, 85 percent of customer relationships with businesses will be managed without human interaction, says Gartner on their Gartner Customer 360 Summit.
- In a VentureBeat article, Mike Templeman, CEO of Foxtail Marketing, says that one of the reasons why he sees 2015 as the year marketing automation finally catches on is the cheaper, even freemium, alternatives to the more high-priced solutions.
- Customer retention
For a company to continually grow, there has to be a balancing act between customer acquisition and retention. While the prospect of acquiring new customers is an exciting one, it costs a lot less to keep existing customers.
One effective use of marketing automation in retaining customers comes in the form of marketing intelligence. It provides relevant insight into customer (both existing and prospective) intent. With this information, more and more companies are able to “predict” customer needs and decisions, enabling them to act accordingly without unnecessary waste of time.
- Relationship marketing
Relationship marketing, in a nutshell, is a form of marketing with a focus on achieving high customer satisfaction scores, hence better retention rates. Customers’ lasting relationships with a brand engender repeat sales and word-of-mouth promotion, which, in itself, is a powerful marketing tool.
Marketing automation tools allow businesses to personalize their relationships with every customer, every prospect, and every lead through relevant strategies that include lead qualification, nurturing, trigger campaigns, digital footprint analysis, lead scoring models, and sales and marketing alignment.
- Tracking and monitoring of marketing campaigns
Determining the success of any marketing campaign will have to be supported by measurable data, data gleaned through precise tracking and monitoring. Marketing automation software not only helps in tracking marketing expenditures but also in monitoring responses to marketing campaigns based on specific parameters of success or failure.
Why Does Marketing Automation Fall Short?
When there’s no top-of-the-funnel foundation put in place to support the middle of the funnel marketing automation. Many marketers invest in marketing automation before they have fertile ground for advanced lead nurturing campaigns to blossom. Marketers won’t have the ingredients they need for effective marketing automation until they have both a steady flow of organic leads coming through the funnel. Too many marketers without inbound lead generation strategies spend their time figuring out how to take the tiny fraction of the market they already have in their database as leads and squeeze more out of them. While they’re doing that, their competition is figuring out how to get more out of the 99.99% of the market that’s still out there. Do you have all the existing leads needed to hit your revenue goals in your database already? Are you getting your fair share of the available market
It’s ineffective given the effort required to see meaningful results. When done correctly, effective marketing automation takes time, effort, and resources to implement and maintain revenue growth. Even if your database is currently filled with top-notch, quality leads, how effective will your marketing automation be when you’ve either converted all those leads into customers or when your database begins decaying at the rate of 23% / year (via unsubscribes, job turnover and a variety of other factors.)
How do you know if it’s time to invest in marketing automation?
If you’re producing effective marketing contents, you’re generating a steady flow of new, organic leads, and you’re ready to scale your successful efforts, chances are it’s time to focus your efforts on a marketing automation strategy that will nurture those quality-leads into paying customers. Below are some good questions to ask yourself when deciding if marketing automation is the right move for your business.
- Are you generating a steady flow of new and qualified leads?
- Is your sales team overwhelmed with the number of quality leads you’re passing along to them?
- Has marketing and sales agreed on what conversations should happen with marketing and which with sales?
- Do you have an effective content strategy mapped to your buyer’s journey?
- Are you tracking your leads’ digital body language across every touch point and marketing channel (not just email)?
- Do you have a proven lead nurturing strategy that you want to scale?
These are all good signs that marketing automation (when done right) could work for your business. The key here is understanding that marketing automation does not do marketing for you, but can help scale your successful efforts.
What are the keys to successful marketing automation?
Though there are many pieces that must be put in place to establish a successful marketing automation strategy, there are two extremely key principles to keep in mind when developing a strategy that scales and evolves with your customers.
(1) Recognizing that marketing automation does not do marketing and lead generation for you, but can help scale your successful efforts.
The first step is building a pipeline of good fit leads by generating relevant, optimized content that speaks to your prospect’s needs and challenges. This is where inbound marketing becomes the building blocks of your marketing funnel.
(2) Centering your marketing messages around the real, live person at the receiving end of your campaigns.
That means we should treat them like a real person, not a fragmented self across different tools like email, social media, etc. If we can leverage all the marketing tools, channels and behavioral data possible to paint a complete picture of a person, we can nurture them based on their unique challenges and interests, not based solely on the emails they open or click through.
How do I choose the best marketing automation provider for my business?
When considering a marketing automation provider, it’s important to choose the software and company that best suits your business and your unique goals. Don’t focus on the individual features, but focus on the business results and the long-term partnership.
Here are some resources to help you make your strategic decision. The ranking top is my loved platforms and going down as the least favorite ones. Of course, you may have different opinions and you are free to choose the most suitable one for your business.
- Dynamics Marketing
Read this relevant post to get more ideas: Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation: What is in it for a Start-up and how it works to generate sales
If you are so headache with the above picture or the complication of the article, or wondering what action to take, let’s get in touch for a discussion. I am here to help.