Today’s consumers demand that companies respond faster than ever and with more relevant, personalized content. That’s why many brands use marketing automation to meet these demands. And if done well, the consumers aren’t the only ones experiencing the perks of automated marketing — the brand can benefit as well, seeing improved lead generation, lead qualification, and sales conversion.
Marketing automation allows brands to become more efficient and productive. It can reduce costly human errors and take repetitive tasks out of marketers’ hands. This frees up time to focus on strategy and other projects that provide increased value.
Navigating the marketing automation world can be tricky, so here are answers to four common questions.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation refers to software platforms (such as HubSpot, Salesforce Pardot, Marketo, etc.) that can automate repetitive marketing activities such as emails, lead scoring, and internal team member notifications to help nurture new and existing leads within an organization. Automating these activities maximizes productivity by decreasing the amount of time spent on them by marketers.
What’s driving marketing automation?
The way people interact with brands has changed. According to a 2018 Nielsen Report, consumers are spending approximately 43 percent of their time-consuming media on digital platforms, giving marketers the opportunity to engage in relationship-building dialogue with consumers anytime and anywhere.
All of this time spent online also means consumers are more informed. According to a report by Forrester, 62 percent of B2B consumers say they can make informed product/service purchasing decisions based solely on the digital content gathered through their online research. And because consumers are more in charge of the media they consume, it’s increasingly important to improve relevancy. Today’s consumers want brands to “know them,” and they have higher expectations of personalized content as they form relationships with brands, bringing us to another big driver of marketing automation — data.
Over the past few years, companies have invested in consolidating once-fragmented customer data using customer relationship management (CRM) tools. More and more data is being captured and integrated into a single customer record for improved profiling, segmentation, and targeting of communications. Marketing automation allows marketers to put this data to work, creating a highly individualized and relevant experience for each customer.
What does the time and cost investment look like?
It’s important to keep in mind that marketing automation doesn’t happen automatically. Effective automated marketing requires significant planning and content strategy to optimize the effectiveness of a brand’s communications to various customer segments. Automation supplements, not replaces, human interactions required to successfully market and sell products and services. It’s intended to support the sales process and help nurture customers along the path most relevant to their individual journey when exploring brands and making purchase decisions.
The investment in time and cost required to launch an automated campaign is completely dependent upon the amount of content creation and optimization needed, campaign objectives, and the overall complexity of the workflow. Once a journey is mapped out, the development of several assets — such as emails, landing pages, forms, banners, etc. — will be required to support it.
What are the key components of automated marketing?
There are several strategies and tactics that can tie into an automated campaign, but there are six key components that should be considered when planning for automation:
- Marketing and sales team collaboration
- Content strategy
- Lead scoring
- Asset and workflow development
- Inbound campaign promotion
- Ongoing optimization
Interested in taking a deeper dive into marketing automation and the components mentioned above? Check out our blog post, “The automated advantage: 6 key components of marketing automation.”