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Marketing Automation: Is Your Organization Ready?

Marketing Automation: Is Your Organization Ready?

Is Your Organization Ready for Marketing Automation?

Let’s first acknowledge my bias. I help companies implement and improve Marketing Automation, Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing strategies. I’m pretty passionate about why companies should be leveraging technology particularly, if they operate in a B2B environment.

But often I surprise companies that get in touch with me when I tell them they aren’t ready yet. As much as I’d like to work with them and help them get value out of a Marketing Automation, they don’t have the prerequisites in place to see an ROI and over time they’ll waste money on it (which is ultimately bad for my reputation).

Food for Thought

Before making any investment, consider the following:

1. Have you outgrown your existing email marketing solution?
By this, I mean does your current solution lack the technical capabilities? If your issue is with lack of effectiveness such as high opt-out rate, low click rate, no measurable impact on sales, difficulty attracting subscribers, etc., “automation” isn’t going to solve your problems, just add a costly expense.

2. Is your sales process complex and lengthy?
For environments where prospects require multiple touches before coming to a buying decision, marketing automation can play an essential role, supporting both efficiency and effectiveness. If however, you’re in the business of selling low-cost widgets, the hefty investment in Marketing Automation may not be necessary.

3. Do your buyers require nurturing (engaging and relationship-building with prospects that aren’t yet ready to buy)?
Marketing Automation can support lead nurturing in a way that allows you to allocate high-touch resources (sales personnel) on the most qualified of leads while the needs at the top of the funnel are managed through automation.

4. Does your marketing team make data-driven decisions?
Perhaps you’ve noticed the ever-increasing number of job posts for “Marketing Analysts.” Traditionally dependent on communication strategies, creativity and PR, Inbound Marketing is driven by data analysis. If you do not currently have a data-driven marketing organization, an investment in marketing automation will fall flat.

5. Does your department have the necessary resources to support Marketing Automation and Inbound Marketing?

  • Content – develop ebooks, blogs, social media
  • Engagement – consistently drive social media engagement, brand advocacy, and relationship-building
  • Design – create landing pages, emails, compelling graphics
  • IT/Development – manage integration with CRM and Web assets
  • Operations – create and manage workflows, analyze performance, report outcomes.

If you can answer yes to the above, the next step is to ensure you have commitment from the Senior Leadership Team because marketing automation will impact all areas of the business. Get the buy-in and include them in the process before actually investing.


Marketing Automation: Drivers and Benefits

Marketing Automation: Drivers and Benefits

The Drivers and Benefits for Implementing Marketing Automation

There are many reasons for an organization to investigate marketing automation and generally, the decision entails a variety of factors and considerations. Assuming are already familiar with the concept of Marketing Automation, let’s look at the common drivers and benefits for investing in an automation platform.

Common Drivers:

  • The need for sales and marketing reports that provide data for analysis, planning, and determination of return on investment.
  • The need to simplify the management and coordination of activities, such as marketing campaigns, channel management, reporting, and analytics.
  • The need to manage and coordinate multiple point tools such as email and webinar management applications, and/or the need to integrate such tools with contact management and CRM platforms and programs.
  • The need to manage lead generation, lead nurturing, and the transfer of leads to sales in an organized, time-sensitive manner that enhances conversion and closing rates.
  • The need to use time strategically: e.g., reduce the time needed to create and deploy campaigns, or respond to sales-ready leads in real time.

Key Benefits:

  • Automate and accelerate email marketing: Easily create and manage email, optimize when you send it, create segments with targeted, dynamic messages, and track responses such as opens and clickthrough rates.
  • Capture lead information using forms: Create and manage the registration forms that collect information (and sometimes, augment it) from your buyers.
  • Create a marketing database: Manage leads and contacts, and develop a complete record of when and how you have interacted with each lead over time. (Sales can find plenty of useful information here, too.)
  • Track and analyze online behavior: Monitor online behavior to find out about a potential buyer’s interests, preferences, and readiness to buy. Use that information to deliver targeted offers and messages.
  • Manage and optimize campaigns: Automate marketing programs that send multiple messages – through different channels – and make sure they adapt based on when and how buyers respond.
  • Score and manage leads: Build models that assign points based on certain behaviors and spot hot leads faster so they can be passed to sales.
  • Visualize and monitor results: Dashboards and drill-downs will identify the campaigns and channels that do (or do not) deliver.

Feel free to submit your questions and in the meantime, stay tuned for a follow-up post – Evaluating Readiness.

Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Automation

Beginner's Guide to Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation 101

Anyone that spends time online has been exposed to marketing automation. So let’s take a minute to look behind the curtain to understand what it is, what it does, and whether it’s something you should implement for your organization.

Marketing Automation Definition

Marketing Automation software is used by Marketing (and sometimes Sales and Customer Service) to automate tasks and provide business intelligence. In its most basic form, it involves creating rules to automate communications (generally email) and handle online form submissions.

User Experience

As an example, let’s say you did a web search for “Marketing Automation Tips” and you found the following ad:

Digital Advertising

You click the link and reach a page that succinctly describes the key benefits of the ebook. To download it, you’re presented with a simple form. Upon completing and submitting, you immediately receive an email with your ebook – you may also be redirected to a new page, providing you with a suggestion for what you may want to do next.

The embedded form and subsequent delivery of content was managed through a Marketing Automation platform. A few of most popular platforms include HubSpot, Pardot, Eloqua and Marketo. Over time you’re likely to receive a series of emails from 360 Reputation, asking if you enjoyed the ebook you downloaded and offering you an opportunity to speak further about the topic and how it applies to your business.

Marketing Automation – Background Activity

Concurrent with the delivery of your requested ebook, an automation platform is preforming a variety of operations in the background. For example:

  • Checking to see if you exist in 360 Reputation’s CRM yet and if not adding you as a new lead.
  • Checking online to see if it can verify your email address against any Social Media profiles (and adding those if it can).
  • Checking your IP to determine your location (Country, City, State).
  • Assigning a lead score in the CRM system, indicating the likelihood of you making a purchase.

As you revisit the 360 Reputation or click on follow-up emails, your CRM profile is updated and over time, 360 Reputation gets a better picture about what interests you and which offering may be best suited for you. If you take certain actions such as visiting the pricing page, the Marketing Automation platform might signal the sales team that you are in “buying mode” and alert them to contact you.

Creepy? Or Cool!

All these marketing and sales actions are “Marketing Automation.” Whether you find this to be creepy or cool, this is occurring on almost every business-oriented website you visit. Which begs the question, should your company invest in Marketing Automation?

Interested in learning more? Click here to get in touch.

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