We have been talking about data-driven marketing strategies for so long now, it’s become a buzzword that’s at risk of losing its buzz factor. What does it mean when we talk about data-driven marketing campaigns for example? What data are we collecting, how are we collecting it and how is the data informing our plans, our activities and overall, our business’ future?
If we don’t know what we want to learn from the data, there’s no driving involved. What we do know in this age of permission marketing however, is that the customer is king and how, when and what they want to consume from you will determine your company’s success. So how can you deliver a personalized service at just the right time on just the right channel to every single person in your huge database? With the help of marketing automation tools.
So what is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation describes a new crop of tools that capitalizes on the use of a huge database that intelligently segments, streamlines, and automates marketing tasks - both digital marketing activities and direct marketing activities alike.
Marketing automation helps marketers navigate through different channels, such as Social Media, Website, Events… via a single platform. They can compare and contrast different behaviors to create meaningful and suitable campaigns for different segments. They can also design and implement a lead scoring system to enhance the lead generation process that’s tied in with any inbound marketing initiative. Most marketing automation tools also support dashboards, reports, analytics, etc. on different scales for marketers to review and to optimize their operation.
Traditionally, some of these practices are possible on a smaller scale without software, but technology becomes essential when the number of channels marketers are required to manage, together with the size of their customer database, increases. In particular, these processes all require:
A central marketing database. A place for all your marketing data, including detailed prospect and customer interactions and behaviors, so you can segment and target the right message to each customer. Think of this as a “system of record” for all your marketing information.
An engagement marketing engine. An environment for the creation, management and automation of marketing processes and conversations across online and offline channels. Think of this as the "orchestra conductor" for your customer interactions. A marketing automation leader such as Marketo is a good example of this.
An analytics engine. A way to test, measure, and optimize marketing ROI and impact on revenue. Think of this as the place you go to understand what worked, what didn’t, and where you can improve.
Who Should Use Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is effective, if used correctly, for any company, big or small. Large corporations such as Microsoft, Adobe, IBM have been using marketing automation for years for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t mean Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can’t use this technology too. The truth is, for small and medium companies, marketing automation could be a smart solution if they want to scale up their operations. In the modern day of e-commerce, marketing automation has become an essential part of any “smart system”, whether that system is for B2B or B2C.
CMS and E-commerce giants such as Episerver or Sitecore integrate marketing automation into their systems with Episerver Campaign or Sitecore Marketing Automation. However, fully deploying a cross channel marketing campaign on these systems often requires heavy support from developers so independent marketing automation platforms such as Marketo, Hubspot, Pardot… are more suitable for non-technical marketers.
Does your organization need Marketing Automation?
The process of assessing whether or not your organization is suitable for marketing automation is complicated, but you can start with some simple questions:
Do you have a centralized database?
Can you identify, track and, engage individual buyers online?
Are you using too many channels to identify, track, and engage with your customers?
Are you looking for flexibility in segmenting and building campaigns based on segmentation?
Are you generating meaningful leads for your business?
Can you calculate your ROI effectively with all your tools, for each individual campaign and the whole marketing operation?
Contact us today to see how you could use marketing automation to leverage your business better.