Why is marketing automation a trend that businesses can’t afford to ignore? See the results for your own business. It starts with a marketing automation strategy that addresses the basics—audience, goals, and activities.
Marketing automation is “so hot right now.” According to VentureBeat, “the adoption of marketing automation tools has increased by 50% year over year since 2010, and is expected to keep rising at that same rate at least until 2015.”
For businesses, it has the potential to improve productivity, personalize communications, nurture contacts, close the conversion loop, and more. Take these industry stats as examples of its promise:
- CMOs indicate increased revenue (79%) and higher quality leads (76%) as their most compelling reasons to implement marketing automation (Gleanster, 2013)
- B2B marketers who implement marketing automation see a 10% increase in sales-pipeline contribution (Forrester Research, via Eloqua, 2014)
- Organizations using marketing automation see 53% higher marketing qualified lead (MQL) conversion rates and 3.1% greater annualized revenue growth rate than non-users (Arberdeen Group, 2012)
- Marketing automation high performers (those who rank marketing automation as an asset), have an average lead-to-sale conversion rate 1.6 times higher and a cost of customer acquisition (COCA) 1.4 times stronger than their counterparts (PR 20/20, 2013)
- Organizations using marketing automation indicated better reporting, specifically insight into multi-channel attribution (36%), compared to companies with no automation (11%) (The Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups, 2013)
- Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead (Nucleus Research, 2012)
Yet, to be successful (and to not make a mess of multiple personas receiving automatic workflows, social updates, and emails), marketers must work an airtight marketing automation strategy. Sound daunting? Take a breath. The key is to start simple.
Marketing Automation: Keep It Simple and Strategic
By its nature, marketing automation involves many moving pieces—contact forms, downloadable content, lead scoring, CRM integration, and more. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia, to say the least. Managing multiple campaigns demands a firm grasp on overarching goals, audiences, and activities.
Related Class: Marketing Automation Best Practices
Marketing Automation Goals
Keep end goals in mind when designing automated campaigns—what do you want to achieve and how will you measure success?
In doing so, tie automation strategy to key performance indicators (KPIs). Consider the following to get started:
- Contact volume. Automation ideally helps marketers manage greater lead and customer volume. Therefore, keep a continual pulse on how many contacts, leads, prospects, and customers are at different points in the sales cycle.
- Conversions. If your goal is to better move contacts through the customer journey, track progress to identify accelerators and bumps in the road. Consider how campaigns impact MQLs, sales qualified leads (SQLs), and VIPs. Are campaigns better qualifying leads, improving the marketing to sales handoff, or helping nurture top customers, leads, and partners?
- Engagement. Track engagement (i.e., opens, clicks, shares) to identify the messages and content that resonate best with your audiences, and to identify active contacts with the potential to be brand advocates.
Automate for Audiences and Individuals
Next, using your goals as a guide, determine your most important audiences when it comes to marketing automation. Also, ask honestly, do you know enough about contacts to do a good job personalizing communications?
Automate for personas, and eventually individuals, using the following tips:
- Define an ideal customer journey and end goal for each persona.
- Map content to personas along the complete customer journey. Identify content gaps and optimize your editorial calendar (and automated workflows), accordingly.
- Think about the customer experience—per persona and individual. Determine whether contacts can be enrolled in multiple automated campaigns simultaneously, and if so, ensure it's a seamless experience. You don’t want them receiving duplicate content if participating in more than one campaign.
Buddy Up to Automated Activities
If asked to describe the standard workflow for a new contact, could you explain touch-points, timing, offers, and goals? You have to own this, and know what’s going on.
In tho Online Marketing Institute class, "Building a Digital Persona to Drive Strategy", you will learn how to be the company that you yourself would buy from. It is essential to stay active in educating and empowering your target audience. Enroll today to learn the necessary tools for marketing automation success.