Marketing Automation Primer
Have you heard about marketing automation but don’t know the first thing about it or the benefits using such solutions can provide to your enterprise?
Review Website Magazine’s Marketing Automation Primer below and you’ll discover why these software offerings have increased so dramatically in popularity over the past few years as well as some practical guidance that can be used by brands both large and small to get started.
Origin and Purpose
Forged in the age of the digital experience and the product evolution of customer relationship management (CRM) and other business-focused technology solutions, marketing automation offerings have quickly become an essential part of the enterprise software stack and are enabling companies and brands to deliver and drive positive results more efficiently and effectively than ever before.
Marketing automation products essentially refer to software platforms that automate tasks associated with the customer journey – the path from initial awareness to the conversions that result over time.
B2B ENTERPRISES WHO USE MARKETING AUTOMATION SEE A 23% PERCENT INCREASE IN LEADS GENERATED AND A 71% INCREASE IN LEAD QUALITY. (SOURCE: Marketing Profs)
Outbound vs Inbound
The primary confusion around marketing automation for many is in the fact they are used so differently by today’s enterprises. Some may focus on the inbound marketing capabilities, while others on the outbound. Inbound marketing essentially refers to the methods used by enterprises to pull users into their presence (digital or otherwise), whereas the focus on outbound marketing is pushing messages out to prospects and leads (say, for example, through email).
The benefit of their use is that they enable today’s enterprises to specify certain criteria and outcomes for consumer tasks and processes (e.g. what happens after downloading a sales brochure, sharing an update on social media platforms or purchasing a product), which are then interpreted, stored and executed by the software. This ultimately increases efficiency and reduces human error, improving the relationship between consumer and brand and accelerates the success (and happiness) of both.
Goals & Benefits
The goals of using marketing automation for enterprises are often to increase and improve lead generation efforts through lead nurturing, campaign targeting, performance measurability, customer engagement and general productivity. Success with marketing automation is not without its challenges, of course. Despite the obvious value they provide, most brands suffer from lack of an effective strategy and struggle with the often complex nature of these systems. They also lack relevant content, have insufficient data, budget constraints and more. These are a few of the reasons adoption has yet to reach critical mass. For example, marketing automation (including CRM and sales automation) is used by 42 percent of companies, while email marketing technology is used by 82 percent according to an Aug. 2015 study from Ascend2.
MARKETING AUTOMATION DRIVES 14.5% INCREASE IN SALES PRODUCTIVITY, AND A 12% REDUCTION IN MARKETING OVERHEAD. (SOURCE: Eloqua)
Success with Marketing Automation
The beauty of solutions that help enterprises automate their marketing is that they are the virtual workhorses of the business software stack (and can even replace other systems). There’s a whole lot more that’s required to achieve success.
Strategy is far and away the most vital component of a strategy to accelerate the success of an enterprise through marketing automation. Without a clear plan which outlines the aims and objectives, selecting a solution and putting that offering to its best use will be incredibly difficult. Say for example that a small business interested in marketing automation has the objective of getting its users to interact – be it through visiting an offline store with greater regularity or simply returning to the website for access to new information. A larger organization, however, might not be as interested in generating in-store or website visits, and are focused exclusively on relationship nurturing with the aim of getting a user closer to an immediate sale over the phone. The former would use more inbound techniques while the latter more outbound processes.
There are, of course, many other factors involved in success with marketing automation. In addition to failures on a strategic level, many enterprises also stumble when it comes to aligning the people within their organization to the processes required for success. When organizations/companies are set up in a way that limits exposure to other key personnel and decision makers, it can make marketing automation processes another line item in an otherwise efficient process. With the right strategy, people and processes in place, however, marketing automation solutions are incredible opportunities to accelerate the success of any enterprise.
77% OF COMPANIES WHO USE MARKETING AUTOMATION SEE AN INCREASE IN REVENUE AND EFFECTIVNESS. (SOURCE: Salesforce Pardot)
For those enterprises looking to optimize the customer journey and maximize their investment in marketing (digital specifically), marketing automation arguably provides the best opportunity to do so today. Keep in mind that marketing automation isn’t just a trend, but a powerful set of tools which can be used to help enterprises close deals and improve ROI.
Explore 50 of the most powerful and popular marketing automation solutions on the market today – via Website Magazine’s March 2016 Issue.