Can Marketing Automation get you what you really want?
Recent research from 165 senior-level marketers and 115 agency executives by RSW provides some valuable insights on the state of organizations and the relationships that they’re seeking with agencies to help them achieve their marketing goals—especially with Marketing Automation.
While many want to become market leaders, generate more leads, increase revenue, or sustain a loyal customer base, this research underscores the importance of defining what exactly you’re looking for BEFORE you turn to professionals outside of your organization for help.
Is this you?
| Do you want someone to instantly walk in and understand your category, your business, your difference, and how to turn all of that unique understanding into marketing magic at the lowest possible price?
| Are you seeking a strategic consultant that will require a lot of your time, cost a lot, and deliver a fancy PowerPoint deck—but has no ability to implement their recommendation into action or revenue?
| Do you just want a digital producer to deploy your content on an email platform?
| Are you looking for an agency that’s figured out the difference between HTML + GRP’s?
| Or do you need a social media guru that promises to make your Facebook page engaging with lots of “likes”? — Please!
How’s your new position in publishing and media going?
In case you haven’t noticed, things have changed. As RSW points out, marketers want partners more deeply engaged with the challenges and opportunities facing their brand, organization, and industry.
Today, if you have a website, you’re now a publisher. And if you’re on any social media, you’re now in marketing—all the time.
Don’t think so?
Here’s the data:
| 86% of consumers use a search engine to learn something new or important to increase their knowledge before purchase | Pew Research Center
Let’s face it. If your marketing consultant/agency/provider knew all of the answers in advance to make you an instant digital success, they wouldn’t be trying to sell the solution just to you. They’d be on a beach, wealthy and not interested in your unique challenge or needs—or how to do all of the heavy lifting required to make you a success.
You may want a guarantee that every dollar invested in marketing will yield huge ROI. But in marketing, no one is standing still. Especially your competitors. As author and co-founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Robert Rose, says in his frequent presentations and book, “Marketing’s not getting any easier.”
No credible resource is interested in dealing with your fire drill or vexing marketing challenge at the lowest possible price. Because if everyone working on your challenge doesn’t have significant skin in the game—think money, time or people—there is no game. At least one where you have a chance of coming out a winner in the marketplace with more customers or revenue.
Why yelling + selling is no longer enough.
Now, more than ever, it’s really not about you. That’s right. Nobody cares. All they want to know is WIIFM—That’s, What’s In It For Me?
Today, if you don’t give them consistent, interesting and relevant answers, wherever they happen to be online, you’re now irrelevant. Because no one has time for your pitch, your ad or your solution’s features. They want value. All the time, every time.
Marketing Automation: A really good tool. Not a panacea.
If you’re not up to speed, it’s time to get introduced to Marketing Automation. As a concept, it’s relatively easy to understand. But its impact is complex and it can affect just about every dimension of an organization. Especially Sales and Marketing—those people in your organization that have the responsibility to grow revenue and increase customer volume.
There are three goals that marketing automation can address more effectively than just about any other solution.
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1 | Increase inbound conversions
If you’ve got a steady stream of inbound conversions coming in each month from paid search, SEO, or data capture forms on your site, you might not realize that there’s room for improvement. Marketing automation can have a big impact here.
According to Forrester Research, Inc., companies that effectively implement lead nurturing through marketing automation “generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.”
So if you’re getting 100 inbound leads per month and only converting 10, wouldn’t it be nice to improve that to 20? Or 30?
By engaging prospects over time with personalized nurturing campaigns, you can realize lots more value out of your inbound marketing efforts. Marketing automation makes this easy by providing the ability to set up custom workflows that automatically and continuously segment and nurture leads.
For example, you can set up a workflow around a high-value piece of content—like a White Paper. You can send an initial email to your prospect + customer list containing a link to a gated page that provides access to the White Paper along with some compelling reasons for downloading it.
If a prospect downloads the White Paper, they can be automatically added to a campaign that will follow up with other similar content and relevant offers.
If a prospect doesn’t download the White Paper from the initial email, marketing automation can deliver a follow-up email reminding them of what they missed and why they should take action to get it. Those who actually download the White Paper can automatically be added to a custom or segmented list. And for those prospects who again don’t take action and convert to get the White Paper, they can automatically be assigned to a long-term “nurturing” campaign that will keep them engaged and receiving similar content in the future on a schedule that you dictate.
Whatever goal you have, marketing automation will provide visibility and insight on how to adjust campaigns and increase inbound conversion rates.
The result for many marketers is less-than-ideal performance on their email marketing investment. The reasons can be many including:
| Producing and deploying email consistently is challenging
| Renting or buying custom lists is expensive + the data is questionable
| Email content quality is generally very poor
Marketing automation, however, offers a range of tools and features that set it apart from just ordinary email service providers or solutions—think Constant Contact, Vertical Response and many others.
Built-in behavior tracking enables marketing automation to set up drip campaigns that keep leads and customers engaged with personalized, relevant content.
By setting up a timeline for the various touchpoints in a customer’s journey from suspect to paying customer, marketing automation provides the ability to customize content delivery based on individual activities and behaviors. The result nurtures each lead until they are ready to take the desired action—including buying.
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3 Increase sales team accountability
The dream of every sales manager and CEO responsible for generating new revenue is a world in which every lead is followed up on in a timely manner. Marketing automation can help turn this dream into an achievable reality by providing insight and actions to help sales reps close more deals.
Sales teams often struggle when a sales cycle is long and they have a high volume of leads to handle. Think B2B solutions with high costs and a highly considered purchase cycle.
With any sales cycle, both speed and persistence are key. According to InsideSales, if you reach out to a lead within five minutes of a given interaction, your odds of contacting them are 100 times greater than if you call after 30 minutes, and they’re also 21 times more likely to enter the sales cycle.
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5 | Use automatic alerts to get results
Marketing automation gives sales reps the insights they need so they can reach out to leads with exactly the right information at exactly the right time. Real-time behavioral tracking allows sales teams to keep track of leads’ activities and interactions, so they can contact them at the optimal moments.
For example, you can set up automatic notifications to alert salespeople whenever a lead visits a pricing page so they won’t miss out on any opportunity to close a deal with someone who’s already in the mood to buy. Other lead actions such as visiting a product page or downloading a case study can also trigger notifications for sales to reach out and contact an engaged prospect.
Marketing automation can also be configured to trigger automated drip campaigns designed to nurture leads with other similar content or related promos and offers. What’s more, marketing automation also provides robust performance analytics with an end-to-end picture of the prospect’s status on the customer’s journey to becoming a paying customer. It also identifies which sales reps are closing the most deals and which marketing campaigns are working most effectively.
Where to from here?
Are you ready to stop guessing about the impact of your marketing investment? Consider stepping up to get yourself aligned with a qualified resource that is immersed in the complex moving target that’s online marketing today.
You better do your homework and find someone who has embraced this challenge and has delivered success to others who are overwhelmed, understaffed, and not skilled enough with today’s requirements for online marketing. What’s more, be prepared to make a commitment to a partner who you will be working closely with for at least 12 months for you to realize any truly sustainable, long-term value.
But if you just want the lowest cost provider or someone who will do OJT with your brand, just click over to one of those ridiculous contest sites to see who will give you tons of bad advice for free. The wasted energy and resources required to dig out from whatever they provide will set you back plenty in lost time and opportunity.
As president and creative director of TeamworksCom, Paul develops brand strategy, engineers content to express customer value and creates integrated online and content marketing solutions to help businesses succeed. Connect with Paul, send an Email, or just call 415.789.5830.
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