Marketing Automation is a pretty new concept, so it is not too much of a surprise that only 13% of surveyed marketers in 2014 reported using it. This means that 77% of marketers are missing out! We think that marketing automation is the bee's knees for businesses of any size and will be one of the greatest tools available to marketers in the coming year. But what is it all about and why will it be your best friend in 2015?
What is marketing automation?
Simply put, Marketing Automation is a component of customer relationship management (CRM). It is the strategies, tactics, technology and software that work together to automate and streamline repetitive tasks, while measuring and monitoring the effectiveness of marketing initiatives. Phew!
Software vs Strategy
The Marketing Automation sphere is largely being driven by software companies, such as Marketo and HubSpot, and the software you have under the hood plays a significant role in marketing automation. But strategy and tactics are also incredibly important. Strategies make up your marketing framework and help marketers see the big picture, and tactics are the implementation of marketing techniques. All of these aspects need to work together for marketing automation to be effective.
What are the aims of marketing automation
There are many aims of marketing automation, which may vary a little bit depending on individual marketing strategies, company size and the nature of the business you are in. But there are some common key aims including:
- Generating high-quality leads.
- Turning leads into sales.
- Increasing revenue.
- Connecting multiple touch points and marketing channels.
- Personalising customer experiences.
- Nurturing prospects for the long-term.
- Focusing beyond direct sales.
So is marketing automation just inbound marketing?
No. However, Marketing Automation and Inbound Marketing are terms that are often used together. Inbound marketing is the practice of attracting users through quality online content. This content is designed to draw people toward your company and product without the need for paid advertising to direct people into your conversion funnel. In other words, Inbound Marketing can be thought of as Content Marketing. This means that Inbound Marketing is in fact an integral component of Marketing Automation strategy, and when it is combined with analytics, it assists with personalisation in the automation process. Thus Marketing Automation is a much more complex beast than just Inbound Marketing alone.
Why should marketers use it?
In a world where 1:1 marketing seems to be dwindling, some people may think that Marketing Automation will exacerbate the problem. That is, interactions with prospects and customers will become "cold", irrelevant to their needs, or spammy, but in fact the opposite is true. Below are four of the ways Marketing Automation can help develop the human relationships that are central to effective marketing.
More personalised contact
Marketing Automation is predominantly built around feedback loops: with every action, there's a consumer-driven reaction. Through automated tracking and monitoring of individual prospects on your website, the marketing team is able to collect data on a prospect's interests, needs and goals. This means that there are greater opportunities for marketers to create personalised campaigns based on user behaviour. It also means that future offers can be made more relevant to each individual prospect.
More effective grouping
The ability to collect data also means that prospects can be grouped according to common interests, demographics or behaviours. The ability to segment customers easily and more effectively saves time and takes some of the guesswork out of larger marketing campaigns. Marketing Automation makes for easier campaign management in general.
Marketing Automation connects multiple customer touch points and marketing channels. This means that systems can be integrated to give a cross-platform user experience. Every touch point can then be carefully constructed for better lead nurturing.
It can help out with monitoring social media campaigns, emailing new customers, sending email notifications when you post a new blog article and managing online CRM campaigns. This means that instead of time being spent on grunt work, time can be spent on making higher-quality marketing campaigns.
Why Marketing Automation is your friend
Far from being the strange new kid on the block, Marketing Automation is your new best friend! Not only does it reduce the time taken to do the dull, head-desk inducing, repetitive tasks that no one really wants to do (hallelujah!), but it also helps your sales guys be more productive and your marketing team to be more efficient – all of which help to boost your bottom line. As well as this, Marketing Automation allows you to deliver more effective marketing and lead nurturing campaigns while providing a better, more personalised user experience for those who visit your website site – what is not to love?
Want to know more?
If you would like to know more about Marketing Automation and how it can help you, contact us or if you would like to learn more about the results from our 2014 Marketing survey you can download it here.