Marketing Automation - Fundamental to Your Success!
Marketing automation is an integral component for any company that is looking to obtain digital marketing success.
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As an agency, our job is very straightforward. It is to obtain marketing/sales success for our clients. Marketing/sales success is always defined as substantial increases in customers, revenue, and profitability.
To accomplish marketing/sales success, we must bring together foundational elements that are at the heart of any successful program. This includes:
An Unparalleled Discovery and Assessment Process
Well Defined Marketing/Sales Strategy
Proven Implementation Processes
Best in Class Team
Comprehensive and Transparent Reporting & Analysis
Software and Service Tools
Remove any of these elements, and the chances of achieving marketing/sales success diminish dramatically. That is why it still surprises me when a company wants to engage in our results-driven approach to marketing/sales success, but balks at the use of the right software or tools. It is akin to hiring a world-class athlete but requiring them to compete without shoes. It can be done, but the performance will be affected.
One of the most foundational pieces of software necessary for a successful marketing program is a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP). We will examine the use case for a MAP and discuss several of the options. We will be sharing why a marketing automation platform is important over three blog posts. Part 1 will be about why you need a MAP, and Part 2 will discuss MAP options and what to consider when selecting a MAP. Part 3 will focus on which marketing automation platform is the best and why.
Prevail Marketing is truly agnostic with respect to our use of marketing automation platforms. We usually work inside whatever systems our clients already have. We have experience with all the major platforms. Each one requires its own methodologies, and we have learned to tweak them for optimization and best practices for each. Do we have favorites? Of course. When the client is not currently using these tools, we are happy to recommend what we believe will give them the best chance to achieve success. Since we can work on them all, our observations and findings are based strictly on what we found to be best in class and which will achieve the best results.
The MAP is a marketing tool that helps drive top-of-the-funnel leads down through the buyers’ journey to the point they are handed off to Sales as a sales-qualified lead (SQL). The customer relationship management platform (CRM) then takes over and is the Sales Department's tool to track all interactions with the SQL, until such point they become a customer and the Customer Relationship Department takes ownership.
In an upcoming blog, we will be discussing why every company needs to use a CRM. Why? Because, every business needs both. It is like having a PB&J sandwich but only using one of the ingredients. You can do it, but why bother? Both the MAP and CRM are critical for any company serious about its growth.
What is a Marketing Automation Platform?
There are dozens of definitions for marketing automation software across the internet. Not surprisingly, each software manufacturer of the service has its own definition that best suits its functionality and use case. In very general terms, they all can be described as tools where manual marketing tasks that are time-consuming are replaced with an automated system that streamlines, standardizes, and optimizes marketing tasks and workflows.
That sounds simple enough, but what is the actual functionality that marketing automation provides? Again, each of these platforms is different, but their core marketing automation platform should provide the following components:
Centralized Database of Contacts and Companies
Landing Page Creation
Cross-channel Marketing Campaigns
Lead Nurturing and Scoring
Cross-sell and Up-sell
Prospect Activity Tracking
Reporting and Metrics
The more sophisticated Marketing Automation Platforms may also contain:
Content Management System
Social Media Marketing
Competitive Analysis Tools
Blogging Tools and Optimization
Site Keyword Tool
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools
AI Component for Content Creation or Code Generation
Records of all Interactions With Prospects
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
Sales Enablement Tools
What are the Benefits of a Marketing Automation Platform?
Efficiency & Productivity: One of the primary benefits of using a marketing automation platform is the increased efficiency and productivity it brings to marketing and sales teams. These platforms automate repetitive tasks, such as email marketing, social media posting, lead nurturing, and campaign tracking, freeing up valuable time for marketers to focus on more strategic activities.
By automating these tasks, marketing teams can streamline their workflows, reduce manual errors, and ensure consistent messaging across different channels. This not only saves time but also improves overall productivity, allowing marketers to accomplish more in less time.
Lead Management and Nurturing: Effective lead management means getting the right information to each prospect when, where, and how they need it. Marketing automation platforms allow marketers to track and analyze lead behavior, segment leads based on their interests and engagement levels, and deliver personalized content and messages to nurture them further.
Without an automated system, it would be virtually impossible to ensure that the leads are properly nurtured and guided through the buyers’ journey. Marketing automation allows for lead scoring, lead qualification, and lead segmentation to happen seamlessly. The net results are improved lead conversion rates, shortened sales cycles, and ultimately, more revenue.
Customer Personalization: Personalizing the message, and how it is delivered, is critical to connecting with your targeted buyer personas. A marketing automation platform allows marketers to segment their audience based on various criteria, such as demographics, behavior, and preferences, and deliver tailored content and offers accordingly. Personalization can significantly improve customer engagement, build stronger relationships, and increase customer loyalty.
Data-Driven Marketing: A marketing automation platform can provide detailed insights into marketing metrics that will tell the marketer how to optimize or improve overall performance. At Prevail Marketing, we track over 400 key performance indicators (KPIs) for every client each month. Without a marketing automation platform, it would be virtually impossible.
A marketing automation platform provides real-time reporting, allowing us to track campaign performance and make necessary adjustments as necessary to improve results.
Marketing and Sales Alignment: Communication between Marketing and Sales is critical to achieve growth. Information pulled from a marketing automation platform can tell Sales what are the principal concerns of a prospect and how to approach them to win the sale.
Do You Need a Marketing Automation Platform?
What is the ROI of a Marketing Automation Platform?
That really depends on how you implement the software. We have found that without the proper setup and optimization, a marketing automation platform only causes frustration to the users.
There are lots of studies that have reported the ROI they have obtained. We will share a few of them here, but the ROI you will obtain is completely dependent on how well it is set up and operated.
Companies realize an average return of $5.44 for every $1 invested over the first 3 years of implementation. So that’s 544%. (Nucleus Research)
HubSpot found that marketing automation had an ROI of 129% in the first year and 505% after three years. (HubSpot Annual ROI Report 2023)
Marketing automation is an integral part of any company that is looking to obtain digital marketing success.
If you are new to marketing automation, it might serve you well to engage a third-party expert to help evaluate your needs and recommend a solution. All too often, companies are penny wise, pound foolish by failing to seek help and then saddled with a platform that does not meet their needs.
We would be glad to discuss your use case and offer our recommendations.
For many a small business, I am sure that seems like “just a whole lot of stuff,” and you question whether you need all that capability. Nothing like a “really bad” metaphor to demonstrate the importance.
Think of marketing as a cross-country journey. You know that it takes time and effort to reach your destination. You have many options for getting there. If you decide to walk (no marketing automation) across the country, it will be a long, slow slog. You will eventually get there, but by the time you do, you have lost the sale. Your competitors will most likely take a car (basic) or maybe a plane (sophisticated version) and get there much sooner.
For a mid-size company or larger, it shouldn’t even be a question. If you want to be competitive, you need marketing automation.
We sometimes find Fortune 500 companies that still have not adopted a marketing automation platform or created their own version. Even more, companies simply have a marketing automation platform but have not taken the time to properly implement it.
This is surprising, since 91% of users who have adopted marketing automation believe it is “very important” to the overall success of their online marketing activities. – Marketo and Ascend2