Successful marketing automation enables cost efficiency and improved conversion rates, but requires a skilled marketing team and dedicated use of CRM tools and integration.
Marketing automation primarily focuses on the lead to qualified lead stage of the sales funnel. Hence, it is important to recognise that it does not do lead generation, but it can help scale marketing efforts. Yet, many automation investments fail due to lack of marketing skills and CRM integration. Moreover, consumers have shown a great ability to get unwanted marketing out of their lives through ad blocker software, spam filters, caller ID, etc. Therefore, it is essential to target relevant marketing messages around the consumer.
Engagement Marketing and Real-Time Personalisation
As one-to-one marketing strategies start to become more informed by CRM data, marketers are able to better understand consumers and create relevant dialogue in terms of engagement and sales.
On the one hand, traditional marketing automation focuses on triggering emails based on time delays or actions such as email clicks. On the other hand, inbound marketing automation uses all the information available to understand consumer wants and needs, and delivers the information the consumer needs to make a purchase at the right time, in the right place. For instance, marketers can gain insights through anonymous identifiers such as Internet cookies. Thereby, purchase history can guide ad selection and browsing data can inform email content.
Improving CRM Metrics
Effective marketing automation not only collects data from multiple channels, but also uses those various channels to distribute marketing messages as well. This requires a skilled marketing team, sufficient leads to feed into automation processes, products/services that do not require lead nurturing, and dedicated use of CRM tools. Moreover, it demands integration between the website, CRM, and marketing automation platform, as well as clear definitions of the stages in the sales process.
To manage a marketing automation program, marketers track several metrics.
This leaves us with five ways to improve marketing ROI (Qaqish, 2012):
1. Target High-Value, High-Potential Leads: Marketing automation allows segmentation during any and every stage of the client buy cycle through lead scoring and personalisation.
2. Improve Conversion Rate In the Funnel: Using marketing automation, marketers can effectively nurture the shopping experience and do it dynamically based on response and use.
3. Reduce Leakage with Better Integration: By understanding where and why leads are leaking out, marketers can plug those leaks with automatic nurturing, especially when it is integrated with CRM.
4. Accelerate Leakage of Low-Potential Prospects: By working on data quality and instituting a highly effective lead scoring program that takes out the trash early, marketers can diminish this noise and profit drainer.
5. Gain Efficiency and Eliminate Low-Impact Media: Efficiency and spending money on high-return marketing programs is the ultimate outcome of an effective marketing automation program.
Marketing Automation Tools
Evaluation of a marketing tool requires understanding of whether it fits in with currently used tools, whether it has the flexibility to suit workflows, and whether it is too complex for the marketing team to set up. At large, four marketing automation tools are commonly used:
- Mailchimp: Apart from creating email lists and campaigns, marketers can use Mailchimp to create autoresponders, which send follow up emails to prospects who complete an action.
- Marketo: One of the most well-known and mature marketing automation tools. It not only helps marketers manage email campaigns, but also provides great tools for sales teams.
- Hubspot: This tool does a little bit of everything as it offers a variety of tools such as optimisation of landing pages, lead management, forms and opt-ins, SEO, and blogging tools.
- Infusionsoft: Whereas Hubspot takes an all-in-one approach, Infusionsoft goes in depth on landing pages and specialises in tracking how people get to a website, which ones are buying, and assists in determining which promotional efforts work.
Challenges of Marketing Automation
The more important the website is to the overall marketing, the more leads it drives, the more you can benefit from automation. However, marketers need to consider:
· Technical difficulties: Maintaining a stable connection among multiple digital devices used by a consumer continues to be a challenge. This requires attribution modelling.
· Regulatory obstacles and ethical dimensions: Laws emphasise that everybody has the right to data protection and companies should beware of the potential drawbacks of discriminating against customer segments.
· Organisational silos: Putting data and data-driven leadership to use in conversations, meetings and interactions may assist in overcoming organisational silos.
Clearly, I. (2014). Marketing tech: How to make or lose money with marketing automation. VentureBeat.
Hubspot (2015). What is Marketing Automation? Hubspot.com.
Lloyd, R. (2014). Blurred lines: Direct marketing and digital advertising. Mediatel.
Qaqish, D. (2012). 5 Ways to Boost Marketing ROI via CRM-Integrated Marketing Automation. DestinationCRM.com.