Marketing automation is a set of tools, platforms, systems, and processes designed to provide marketers and marketing departments with greater efficiencies and more effectiveness.
The development of marketing automation has evolved in response to market demands for better yields at every part of the marketing process. The merger of online and digital marketing methods and marketing automation technologies has created significant synergies for marketing and sales organizations.
The data doesn’t lie: Automation can help businesses realize increased marketing ROI and overall growth. More specifically, how can marketing automation benefit your business? Let’s start with lead generation.
There is a direct correlation between the automation of your marketing planning, process and implementation, and the level of yield from those same marketing activities. Areas of increased yield include human resource productivity, the return on marketing investment, core business decision support, sales cost, strategic and product marketing, customer service, and department-wide integration.
Marketing automation is a complicated process to implement and manage. At worst, it can be a nightmare and paralyze a company. I always tell companies to forget about implementing marketing automation until they are ready to make a genuine commitment to the process.
Well, there are many benefits to marketing automation; there is an equal number of pitfalls to avoid. I will explore both the hazards and opportunities when implementing a marketing automation platform. There are also many flavors of marketing automation being offered, including single-function solutions that don’t deserve the name. True marketing automation is a set of technologies integrated with a unique database that automates the marketing process, therefore embracing both effectiveness and efficiency.
Some of the examples of marketing automation platforms would be an all-in-one system like ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, or Eloqua. Other marketing solutions include point solutions like HootSuite for social media marketing or MailChimp for email marketing programs.
The perfect candidates for marketing automation are companies whose marketing departments do not have a developed marketing process that delivers qualified leads to Salesforce or its e-commerce website. If you’re not doing this, you have a disgruntled Salesforce, or you’re missing out on more sales.
The marketing team must consider the sales team as its primary customer, not the end-user of its products and services.
However, unlike the customer service mantra that states that the customer is always right, the sales team is not still right, and you shouldn’t follow their lead. You must learn to give them what they need, not what they say that they want. Marketing automation can help you do this.
Let’s review marketing automation and the best tools for marketing automation for your situation.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.
With marketing automation, businesses can target customers with automated messages across email, web, social, and text.
The Marketing Automation Process
There is no one right way to do marketing, but good marketing programs go through a certain number of steps. I’ve outlined the steps for you below.
- Analyzing market
- Identify your target audience
- Model what-if scenarios
- Launch new marketing campaigns
- Manage your marketing campaign workflow
- Coordinate multimedia marketing campaigns
- Manage inquiries and leads
- Nurture your leads
- Distribute leads to your sales team
- Report on marketing campaign results
The Benefits of Marketing Automation
When looking at marketing automation software, compare each product in terms of how it helps you achieve the following benefits:
Speed up Campaign Creation Cycles
In the inbound marketing era, you no longer have weeks to plan and execute marketing campaigns, let alone months. A sound marketing system and marketing process will allow you to identify your target audience, plan your marketing campaigns create and execute digital marketing campaigns in a few hours with reporting in near time results. These marketing automation systems are perfect for testing marketing campaigns and then scaling them.
Target Prospects More Accurately
The most important part of any marketing campaign is the proper selection of the target audience. Make sure your marketing system information allows you to select prospects based on transaction history, demographic characteristics, psychographics, response to marketing campaigns, what how they interacted with your website, and the likelihood to purchase your products or services.
Customize Information Content
Good one-to-one marketing means that you will send only relevant information to your prospects and customers, and stop sending them anything that is not relevant. To do this, you must have a marketing system that collects data about their likes, dislikes, buying habits, and historical interaction with your brand.
Achieve Lower Cost for Outbound Contacts
With better targeting and customizing content, you will need fewer external promotions, advertising, and the total cost to achieve a specific goal can decrease. You will reduce your cost of customer acquisition. This is true if you cut part of your print and broadcast media to less expensive inbound generated media programs.
Generate Improve Marketing and Sales Metrics
Like the CRM systems that forced greater accountability on sales reps, marketing automation platforms have a similar impact on marketing managers. The effect can be positive. Campaign response rates go up, as do sales conversion ratios. Any part of the marketing and sales process that can be measured can also be improved.
Become the Company Hero
Many marketing organizations own a revenue channel (internet and e-commerce) in the means to measure productivity with marketing systems, their credibility and stature are enhanced. Its accountability has a flip side. You stand out if you don’t do your job correctly and contribute to the overall core permission.
Business Drivers for Marketing Automation
Here is a list of some of the business drivers that have inspired the marketing automation revolution.
Successful digital transformation requires a more focused, interactive, and quantifiable marketing approach. Successful companies are executing marketing campaigns in a way that facilitates more sales transactions outside the direct sales channel. This activity is condensing the sales strategy and process.
Customer Pull vs. Company Push
There is a strong trend toward enabling the prospect or customer to initiate action without prompting from the company. Marketing automation systems must address the ability to manage customer demands as part of the marketing process.
You must map your marketing process to how the prospect interacts with the brand and how they purchase the product or service. Simultaneously participation and tracking in both approaches are essential.
Marketing Automation Integration
Both e-business and customer push/pull imply a faster time-to-market in almost all Industries. A faster time-to-market requires real-time integration and analysis of data and processes.
Regardless of whether this information feeds sales, operations, call centers, customer information systems, or the web, the data must be filtered, blended, in time for useful feedback and redeployment of marketing and sales assets.
The comparative investment of acquiring new customers to keeping and extending your install base is significantly high. As companies become more cost focus, the marketing function must include ways to track the use of expenditures and automate capabilities to customize both new customers and install-based marketing campaigns.
Limited IT Resources and Marketing Control
Given current IT budgets and staffing limitations, marketing automation technology should be operable and maintainable by the marketing operations team.
The marketing process and strategies continue to undergo dramatic changes. As best practices of today approved the best practices of yesterday, products and services that support marketing must adapt and adopt to address these continual transactions economically.
Better results at every stage of the marketing and sales process are the primary issue on every CEO and senior marketing executive agenda. Increasing yield and improving and automating process efficiencies will impact the bottom line.
Capturing Market Intelligence
Marketing executives require better methods to capture marketing campaign results and define and model future programs according to lessons learned. This need demands the use of automated and consistent methodologies and technologies.
With the right marketing technology, marketing teams will become heuristic learning organizations, ensuring more effectiveness and more efficiency over time.
The Internet and Marketing Automation: Match Made in Heaven
The internet is a very important part of most marketing automation systems. It can give you a single dashboard view of everything that occurs in your marketing and sales operations.
Web tools can also provide you with access to analytics, planning, execution, and reporting.
Web-based systems will allow you to control the entire marketing process, external suppliers, prospects in the pipeline, in all your data in a single location. That’s the power of either a best-of-breed solution or an all-in-one marketing automation platform.
Using the new marketing automation tools, accessibility from any web browser, the marketing manager can create, launch, and manage marketing campaigns, testing models an estimate new projects, and view all relevant marketing data.
The modern marketer can communicate with its employees and critical business partners, monitor return-on-investment, issue reports that provide a balanced scorecard of the status of sales and marketing activities. Let’s go through a more detailed list of the marketing functions that can be automated and access with an internet browser.
Marketing Information Database
These information-rich tools give marketers information tailored to their roles and responsibilities. For example, a marketing manager can post documents and data in an information repository and electronically submit relevant information to a personal distribution list.
Would you like to see all your critical metrics on a friendly dashboard? Likewise, creative content can be posted for review or reused and other campaigns, like retargeting advertising campaigns or social media campaigns.
Marketing Campaign Management
Several tasks form the core activities and marketing, one of which is executing targeted marketing campaigns. Supporting the marketing campaigns are marketing and sales activity reports that can be used and transmitted to the appropriate people– electronically Or they can access it with their ID and password. This allows the user to see the data in real-time.
The right marketing technology and marketing technology services allow marketers to start and efficiently track all activities and then generate corrective actions if needed. In the marketing automation software, you will be able to see the full funnel metrics and how your marketing programs are performing in real-time.
Marketing Process Automation
The marketing automation platform supports the concept of reusing useful marketing components (e.g., campaigns, documents, surveys, qualification questions, other CTAs). Rather than reinvent their activities, modern marketers can leverage proven successful programs and select an optimal media mix based on past results.
If you have a staff or outsource it, Hubspot marketing automation paired with marketing automation of Salesforce make a great combination. Sure Hubspot has a CRM but nothing like the power of Salesforce. The CRM and marketing automation platforms must be tuned and managed as new information and products arrive.
If you hire a marketing automation specialist, the marketing automation specialist’s salary ranges between $65,000 to $85,000 per year.
The Marketing Database
So, whether you’re doing B2B or B2C marketing requires the ability to track one-to-one customer relationships. Business-to-business marketing, must maintain and link records at the individual, business site, and enterprise levels.
This gives everyone one view of what is going on at that prospect or customer organization. Marketing automation software also allows full use of all relevant information you are collecting about your prospects and customers.
Marketing automation email workflows will help determine what your audience is interested in, where they are on your website, and lends to a better and clean list and database.
Other Important Uses of Marketing Automation
Besides the uses of marketing automation mentioned above, there are three other important objectives you can achieve with this marketing technology.
Perform Drip Marketing
The best marketing is the process of remarketing to existing prospects and customers based on their purchases and responses to pass promotions. Some marketing automation software enables you to pre-schedule a defined list of e-marketing activities that will be launched without human intervention.
For example, a series of personalized emails can be scheduled to arrive every two weeks from the time of prospect first contact you, and these communications will continue until the opportunity is sold or opt-out of receiving further messages. These are called email workflows.
Manage the lead migration process
Excellent marketing automation software will help you manage your inquiries and leads from the first time someone contacts your company until the person becomes a customer.
The marketing system should automatically score inquiries as they are generated and continue to score leads as they move through the marketing and sales process.
Lead migration or lead nurturing and drip marketing should work hand-in-hand to give you maximum conversion ratios at every step of the process.
This careful attention to getting the most out of your inquiries database can improve your results without spending one more dollar on a marketing campaign.
Manage Channel and Distribution Partners
It’s hard to build and keep a network of distributors, affiliates, value-added resellers, and business partners. Keep a lot of people informed and motivated. Most of the methods that companies use today are analogous to the carpet bombing World War I.
You inundate the target with a vast quantity of expensive, not well-aimed ordinance, and hope that it reaches your intended target. If you don’t see immediate results in the form of activity, sales, and lead generation, you add more ordinance.
This is kind of the ‘spray and pray’ method that most of our clients talk about. And then they wonder why they’re not getting results.
Marketing automation, combined with carefully built workflows, can help you keep in touch, and provide incentives for each reseller to produce more revenue. Channel partners can visit a customized version of a website to learn the latest specifications and pricing information and anything else that can help them sell more of your products.
You can also use the marketing system to automatically route leads to the appropriate channel partner and detractor results each partner achieves with the leads you send them.
Marketing Automation Pitfalls to Avoid
Automating your marketing automation can prove to be a tricky and complicated project. Over the years, Matrix Marketing Group has discovered several pitfalls that, if not avoided, can sabotage any otherwise promising implementation project.
The Internal Implementation Process
This pitfall must be avoided at all costs. It occurs when you add objectives midway in the project and when you tweak product functionality over and over. These are the types of systems where everything ends up 90% done, but the entire system never gets implemented correctly.
That Have it Your Way Vendor.
Some otherwise great systems require you to change your business practices as a requirement of implementation. Because of the built-in inertia at most companies, implementing this type of change is very difficult and costly. It is far better to install a system that allows the best of both worlds: the most up-to-date business practices and lots of flexibility to adapt to your existing business model and rules.
The Proprietary System that Doesn’t Work with Anyone else.
Proprietary systems are close cousins to the have it your way systems. Are based on marketing technology architecture that does not easily plug and play with other systems.
Sure, you can pay expensive coders to write some APIs, but that may fail in the future. If you implement this type of system, you will need costly customization to create specialized data migration processes.
The technology experts who know nothing about marketing
Many of the new marketing automation software suppliers took advantage of an emerging marketplace.
Well, the marketing technology may look good, at closer inspection reveals that the systems were created by the technologist, not by marketing. You must evaluate such systems very carefully to ensure that they deliver the minimum functionality required.
An oversized team or lopsided team
There is truth in the old expression that a committee created a camel trying to design a horse. Too many players on a team that is evaluating marketing automation software can lead to a project that is longer and more costly than expected.
I recommend a small task force approach, with representation from marketing, IT, customer service, and the sales team.
How to Implement Marketing Automation with Minimal IT Involvement
Wrap up on Marketing Automation Platforms
It is not the fact that you have an important database. It is what you do with a database. And the most beneficial thing you can do with a database is to use it to build the relationship you have with your current customers and potential customers. It cost so much to acquire new customers that you need to focus your marketing efforts on care and feeding of your marketing campaigns.
Marketing automation platforms helping the marketing team stay on track. From lead generation activities to lead scoring, to lead nurturing, to lead distribution, and reporting, you must have marketing automation software.
The best marketing automation software is dependent on the organization and goals. So do your homework. A good marketing automation consultant or digital marketing agency can help you with this decision. Once implemented as you grow you might want some of the technical capabilities in-house and you hire a marketing automation specialist to manage the systems.
If you run an ecommerce website, you will need a robust ecommerce marketing automation like Drip, Mailchimp, or ActiveCampaign.
Have something to say about your thoughts on marketing automation platforms?
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What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is a technology that manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically. .Marketing and sales departments use marketing automation to automate online marketing campaigns and sales activities to both increase revenue and maximize efficiency.
Why is marketing automation important?
Modern marketing teams use marketing automation to test, scale, and make their marketing campaigns and achieve higher ROI. Using marketing automation, marketers are better able to qualify leads, nurture leads, and pass them onto sales, resulting in higher revenue and higher growth.
What is a marketing automation platform?
Marketing automation platform helps small businesses stay relevant and competitive while it enables large companies to keep up with the demands of their many customers within their respective industries. Omnichannel or Multi-channel campaign management – Keep track of all your campaigns across all your marketing channels from one platform.
What is marketing automation software?
Marketing automation software is 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 automate repetitive tasks.