Marketing automation is currently a “hot item” in the marketing world. For business strategy and working method, it means quite a lot to integrate marketing automation completely and well, and that is still difficult for many organizations. But what if you are not at the level where you want to be and are not yet ready to roll it out completely?
Who marketing automation is for?
Many organizations still think and work from silos where each department has its own objectives. Marketing automation fits well with organizations that dare to look across the various disciplines and set common goals. It is often said that marketing automation is more of a B2B strategy. I do not agree with that! Marketing automation enables you to optimize engagement with your customers through the use of customer data. This is just as applicable for B2C as for B2B. The main objectives may differ.
For B2B organizations it is mainly about:
- Lead generation: attracting potential customers.
- Lead nurturing: further guiding the potential customer in the buying cycle.
- Lead scoring: assigning points to leads based on their behavior.
At B2C organizations it is mainly about:
- Conversion: the scoring of conversions is at the top.
- Branding: building your brand.
- Engagement: building a relationship with your customers.
What are the advantages for you as a marketer?
Marketing automation brings advantages that are relevant to the organization and that influence the work of the marketer. A number of advantages are:
The effectiveness of your sales and marketing strategy is growing through good quality lead scoring models. Points are attributed to the lead due to the behavior and characteristics of the potential customer. This means you know better which leads are ready for follow-up by sales.
Focuses on customer
Traditional marketers mainly segment on firmographics, such as location, company size, industry, organizational structure, etc. Good segmentation goes further and takes into account the phase in which the customer is located and the associated characteristics. Marketing automation helps you so that you can communicate more personally and in a more targeted way with customers and prospects.
Better customer insights
If you do not yet use marketing automation, you will recognize the problem that you have many different tools from which you get all different data back. By clustering this data within the marketing automation platform you get a better individual customer profile. In addition, marketing automation enables you to transform an anonymous online visitor into a good lead based on his behavior.
Time and cost saving
Marketing automation can save a lot of time. Consider, for example, the possibility to set up a campaign and have it repeat indefinitely on the basis of a trigger. You initiate this campaign once. This ensures that fewer man-hours are needed, resulting in lower costs.
What do you need for a good execution of marketing automation?
In order to properly implement and use marketing automation, a number of essential elements are important:
The organizational structure
When the organization still works with islands and does not work together from the marketing automation vision, the approach will soon become stranded.
It is important that the right content is available for each phase of the buying cycle. Because it is an automated process, the content must already be prepared beforehand and it must be thought out which content must reach the recipient at what time. Think also of different types of content for different personas/customer types.
You also need to have (marketing) personnel who understand how marketing automation should be deployed and how a success can be made. In addition, a good cooperation between marketing and sales is crucial.
Is marketing automation still a bridge too far?
Marketing automation is a combination of CRM marketing, lead management, e-mail marketing and engagement management. Since e-mail marketing is an important part of this mix and many e-mail marketing tools become more and more sophisticated, as a marketer you can already make a lot of profit by using it well.
Where previously e-mail marketing focused on the periodic flat transferring information to relations, it now allows you as a marketer to organize complex campaigns. In addition, with state-of-the-art e-mail marketing tools, where data also plays a major role, you can adjust your campaigns completely and real-time based on behavior within the e-mail and your website. For every organization, there are also steps to make when it comes to marketing automation regardless of whether you as an organization are already able to embrace the complete vision.
My advice for organizations that are not yet ready for a complete introduction of marketing automation is to start small and start setting up a number of automatic campaigns in your e-mail marketing tool. Use data collected from your website or webshop and analyze the results with a web analysis tool such as Google Analytics. From there you can optimize campaigns to achieve the desired result. Please note that in advance you think carefully about all possible routes in your campaign to guarantee the maximum return. Let marketing automation (or: automated campaigns) prove itself first and then expand your work in this area. Learn from this and give the organization time to continuously grow to the next level where you migrate to a mature marketing automation organization.