5 Steps for
Sean Cushing, Director
Product and Vertical Marketing
Marketing automation isn’t a new concept — it’s been around since the 1990s. Over the past few years though, it’s begun to reach its full potential. Marketing automation streamlines marketing activities and processes that normally require manual intervention, freeing up staff to focus on business-critical responsibilities.
What may have started as simply putting a campaign on autopilot has evolved into a strategic application of technology and omnichannel marketing that enhances the prospect and customer experience. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.
5 steps for success
First things first: In order for marketing automation to be successful, your sales and marketing teams must be aligned. Both departments are on the front line with prospects and customers and have valuable insights on product positioning and marketing messages. Your marketing automation program should be specific to your buyer’s journey and where recipients are in the sales funnel.
Next, understand and segment your audience. After defining your ideal customer and developing personas, consider how messaging would differ by industry, company size, job title, life stage or other criteria relevant for your business. Take channel preference into account, as well.
Expectations are higher than ever before to deliver content that is relevant and timely. Marketing automation allows you to deliver personalized, optimized content based to specific segments or to each individual. Use available tools to gather information on website activity, social media behavior and buyer intent, as well as previous purchases from customers.
4. Omnichannel Approach
Another phase of marketing automation evolution is branching out beyond email. What used to be called integrated marketing is now omnichannel marketing which leverages digital, social, video and traditional offline tactics like direct mail. This is key because 55 percent of senior decision-makers look to their social networks before making a purchase, according to an online study from IDC.
5. Lead Scoring
The goal of most marketing automation programs is to generate better qualified leads in the shortest amount of time possible. Lead scoring can help determine where people are in the sales funnel and how engaged they are with the content your company is sharing. To build your database, track behaviors such as visiting your website, returning to your website, extending the length of time per visit, downloading content, attending a webinar, watching a video and completing a contact form with additional information.
Why marketing automation matters
In 2013 Walker released an eye-opening preview of B-to-B customer experience in the year 2020. In their follow-up report, they boldly state customer experience will be the number one differentiator from businesses, beating both price and features as the most important factor used to make purchase decisions. Marketing automation lets you proactively present timely, relevant content that provides true value to your target audience, making their lives easier. At the same time, it improves the productivity of your own staff, stretching your resources to deliver more.