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What Is Marketing Automation?

Specifically, Marketing automation is a category of software technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.

What this means for you in reality, is that Marketing Automation is the solution to amplifying and streamlining one to one relationships with existing and potential customers at scale.
It allows you to walk the line between sales and marketing and bridge the gap that can traditionally exist between these business units.
A Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) can empower your organisation to do the following:

  • Organise and categorise customers and prospects through common interactions, behaviours and interests. These will be dimensions for segmenting your customers.
  • Based on an individual’s specific user profile, show content that dynamically changes to give them information about what they want to see.
    For instance, you can send targeted offers based on their website traffic patterns and geographic location.
  • Develop and refine optimal marketing patterns.
    It can help your company test different variables like email send times, subject headings, landing page layouts and ideas for personalisation.
  • Integrate marketing and sales channels to deliver a comprehensive user experience.
    Make sure that every touch point in the sales pipeline is carefully planned for optimal conversion.

What Should Marketing Automation Do For Your Organisation?

THE most important item that Marketing Automation should do is support your business goals and growth. Without this core functionality, it is a waste of time and money.
Any company that properly implements a MAP can expect some core benefits:

  1. more pipeline
  2. more productive Sales reps
  3. higher revenue
  4. Sales & Marketing alignment

What Are The Common Features And Functions?

Most MAPs will have common features and functions.
These features include:

  • email marketing
  • email template creation and landing page development
  • development of interactive forms
  • campaign management
  • email auto-responder drip programs
  • prospect scoring and segmentation
  • customer lifecycle management
  • CRM integration
  • social marketing capabilities
  • marketing analytics reporting

Many MAPs will also include other unique features and integrations with 3rd party platforms, in order to increase their usefulness.


How Does Marketing Automation Work?

Marketing Automation works by:

  • Adding Tracking data (a cookie) for a user when they click on a link in your site or piece of content such as an ad.
  • Future visits and activity are then logged and tracked, providing customer intelligence and information to a sales team.
  • When the user finally converts and provides you with their contact details, by filling in a form attached to a piece of your content, their business or personal information is added to the MAP database and/or your CRM.
  • Past and future activity will continue to be logged, so that as the prospect continues through the customer journey, the prospect is supplied with email, personalised content, ads and other useful information to engage the prospect correctly and move them to a point that your organisation has identified as a positive buying phase.
  • When the prospect completes a purchase, the revenue can be allocated backed to the source campaigns and the tracked customer journey activity will provide insights for refining future communications to make them more effective in the future.

What Is The Value And ROI Of Marketing Automation?

After implementing a MAP, Organisations can expect three core benefits: more Pipeline, more productive Sales reps and higher Revenue
(as found in the Marketo Benchmark on Revenue Performance – Sept 15, 2012 n=489).

One survey, by Nuclear Research, found 95% of companies reported some benefit from marketing automation. Their research showed an increased productivity in sales staff averaging 4% and marketing staff between 1.5% and 6.9%.

89% of marketers said email was their primary channel for lead generation. (Forrester Research)

Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Gartner Research) 

Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (The Annuitas Group)

In a benchmark study by eMarketer, research found that B2C marketers who use marketing automation- including everything from birthday emails to cart abandonment programs – have seen conversion rates as high as 50%.

Marketing automation brings ROI to your marketing efforts, enable your organisation to maximise email marketing processes and effectiveness and to to connect the dots between that promotional email you sent last month, that webinar you hosted last year, and the revenue your CEO sees this week or can expect to see next quarter.


How do you know if it’s time to invest in Marketing Automation?

Don’t fall into the trap of purchasing a MAP for your organisation, just because everybody else is doing it.
Any solution you implement in your business needs to be right for your organisation.

Below are some good questions to ask when deciding if Marketing Automation is the right move for your business.

  • Are you generating a steady flow of new and qualified leads?
  • Do you get lots of leads, but your sales team complains that they are poor quality or tyre-kickers?
  • Do you sending your email newsletter to your entire database without targeting people and conversations?
  • Do you know your customer’s journey and have a content plan mapped to it?
  • Are you tracking your leads across every online touch point and marketing channel (not just email)?
  • Do you have a proven lead nurturing strategy that you want to scale but do not have the resources?

These are all good signs that marketing automation could work for your business.
The key here is understanding that marketing automation does not do marketing for you, but can help scale your successful efforts.


How Can I Maximise My Success

While there are important differences between different MAP vendors, success is often primarily determined by three things:

  1. Your strategy and process
  2. Your content and lifecycle
  3. Your people

By investing in these areas, you can achieve solid ROI from marketing automation.
The key is to “think big, start small, and move quickly”.
In other words, the best results usually come from getting started with what you have today, and then incrementally investing over time to move up the curve.



Need To Know More?

After years of using and implementing most of the major marketing automation tools available in the marketplace, featurist has a firm understanding of their individual advantages and disadvantages.
We’re not advocates for any one tool; instead, we serve as champions for your organisation’s interests, helping you select tools based on the skill sets you have and the objectives you want to accomplish.

If you would like to explore Marketing Automation options and determine the right solution for your organisation, then get in touch.

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