Marketing automation is software as a service that enables a marketing organization to automatically execute campaigns and tactics to nurture prospects. These automated campaigns are executed through a variety of ways, but essentially involves delivering personalized, timely and relevant content across multiple channels, such as company website, social media, email, search, etc.
While marketing automation is the machine that allows marketers to do this, it’s not plug and play (as many marketing automation companies would have you believe). Conversely, the best marketing automation solutions require the marketing team to customize workflows. Based on their organization’s unique product or service, target audiences (personas) and sales cycle, the marketing team or agency creates campaigns and messaging to execute intelligent, effective inbound marketing strategies.
“Is Marketing Automation necessary for my business to succeed?”
If your company is B2B (or in some cases, B2C) and the decision process takes weeks or months, you’re likely a prime candidate for using marketing automation to warm or nurture leads. When they’re nearing a decision, your sales team can more efficiently close deals. Marketing technology spend is now higher than advertising spend for companies, with 33% of the total marketing budget allocated towards marketing technologies.
Need more convincing? See 5 Reasons you should adopt a marketing automation software solution in 2017:
Improved usability and functionality
After several years of refining, the industry now offers a variety of platforms, and user experiences are better than ever. Several companies specialize in marketing automation – both niche players and industry or vertical agnostic – so do your homework or enlist an expert to help you find the right provider for your needs.
Crucial to staying competitive in your industry
Eventually, you will be required to have a marketing automation platform to remain competitive in your industry. Today there are 11x more companies using marketing automation as compared to 2011. In 2016, 55% of B2B companies reported using marketing automation software. Adoption will continue to rise, and technology will continue to improve.
As businesses get smarter and faster, the need for automation rises to maximize efficiency and compete with players in your field. Adopting a marketing automation platform can help your marketing and sales teams optimize their time and focus their energies on qualified leads.
Desirable skills for marketing professionals
As adoption of marketing automation continues to rise, implementing this type of solution in your organization will make you much more marketable as a marketing professional. Whether you’re a lifer at your current organization or open to opportunities elsewhere, who doesn’t love it when a recruiter reaches out because you have exactly the experience they’re looking for in their executive search?
Don’t believe me? Google marketing automation jobs and see the opportunity that awaits!
Scoring big for your sales department
As a marketer, you’re all too familiar with the love/hate relationship of sales and marketing. Marketing never provides enough high-quality leads, and Sales doesn’t close the leads Marketing provides. Integrating your marketing efforts with your sales process throughout the sales cycle will enable you to better time your messages and warm your leads before Sales reaches out. It will also lets you prove that the leads you provide are high quality because you will be automatically burying those that are not.
Your marketing team will thank you and your executives will love you
You might be saying, “this all sounds great but we only have <insert too small of a number here> marketing staff and we simply don’t have the resources to implement a fancy marketing automation solution.” If that’s your situation, that gives all the more reason to jump on this accelerating train before you’re left at the station for good. The more your marketing team is overloaded, the more important automation of their efforts becomes.
The same is true for sales. Gone are the days when sales people had time to build and nurture relationships for weeks or months before asking for the sale. Your marketing team and sales team can and need to automate the building and nurturing of leads to minimize the time spent to close sales. Doing this will maximize the revenue* of the organization, likely earning you huge kudos from the C-suite and an opportunity to build your amazing marketing team out further.
*From research by Venture Beat News, they report “almost one fifth of companies adopting marketing automation boost revenue 75% or more”
“I’m convinced, but how and where do I start?”
Fortunately, someone has done a lot of the homework for you. In fact, a lot of someones have done a lot of homework for you. Several great technology solutions are available for marketing automation. A few have risen to own a vast majority of market share, offering broad-based solutions applicable to most industries. But several are tailored to specific verticals, likely alleviating the unique pain points of that market. Marketo, Pardot by Salesforce, HubSpot and Oracle Marketing Cloud (formerly Eloqua) are among the top marketing automation platforms today. In a more niche category, companies like Balihoo specialize in providing hyper-local marketing automation for national brands.
Don’t have the bandwidth or resources to evaluate marketing automation solution providers, develop personas or implement and build automated marketing campaigns? Enlist an agency that specializes in developing these strategies, and they’ll ensure you hit the ground running.