You’re not quite ready for marketing automation

Just because you need marketing automation software doesn’t mean you are ready for it.

It is easy to think of marketing automation as a tool, but in reality it is a complete philosophy; a new approach to marketing focused on behavioural cues, quality and results. While you certainly can go out and purchase your favourite platform, this would not be the wisest or most effective approach. You cannot buy your way to marketing success- most businesses could benefit from organisational changes before leaping into a technology-driven solution.

The key to success with marketing automation is an overall inbound approach. This, when combined with quality content and behaviour-based marketing will lead to more, better quality leads. The software provides the tools you need to implement this strategy, but the tools are only as good as the brains behind them. Preparing your entire team for this new approach to marketing is critical to your ability to determine the best software platform for your needs and, more importantly, to your success with marketing automation post-implementation.

Before you start comparing vendors,we recommend that you should take a look at these basic requirements before purchasing marketing automation software.

Four requirements:

  1. Steady, reliable lead flow. Sure, marketing automation will likely increase your lead flow, but the focus is on quality not quantity. The software will help you effectively monitor and interact with your highest quality leads so your team spends its time efficiently. But if you’re having trouble with lead flow, the software won’t fix that problem. It’s awfully difficult to determine an increase in the value of your leads if you don’t have many leads to work with so be sure to focus your efforts on establishing a good volume of leads for your marketing automation engine.
  2. An inbound marketing approach. This is a foundational requirement for marketing automation software because its capabilities are built around inbound practices. If your organisation is still marketing with an outdated approach then no amount of features will improve prospect receptiveness. Your messaging needs to focus on content prospects actually want to consume.
  3. Content. Marketing automation will help you master the art of getting the right content to the right people at the right time, but it all hinges on a solid base of quality content. If your team is struggling to create content now, it will only become more difficult as demand increases. The marketing automation engine needs quality content to operate. A lack of this will handicap your marketing efforts.
  4. Familiarity with email marketing. Most organisations start with email marketing and realise some success with it before they become interested in a more powerful solution. Marketing automation software can do everything your ESP (Email service provider) can do but that is only the very tip of the iceberg and calling it the next step up can be misleading. There is more to marketing than email. Marketing automation is significantly more robust and the features beyond email marketing should not be taken lightly. You should already be familiar with email marketing so you can quickly move beyond the foundational email capabilities to using the features that will catalyse growth, such as lead scoring, CRM integration, behaviour-triggered campaigns, progressive profiling forms, social media scheduling, etc.

Don’t invest in marketing automation prematurely. Make sure your organisation is ready for it before you commit. A little extra planning up front will have a huge financial impact down the road. If you’re having trouble determining if you’re ready, we can help. We can assess your organisational readiness and help you close any gaps that need filling pre-purchase and we can help you choose the best platform and implement a strong strategy from the very beginning. Contact us today if you are ready for MAP and want to know more.

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Defining your customer machine

In this digital marketplace, many businesses grapple with how to equip themselves so they can confidently meet revenue and sales objectives as well as delivering the optimal customer experience. There are various approaches to aligning your teams and technologies to achieve this but what it comes down to is understanding that we all have a unique customer machine that needs building, tweaking, oiling, testing and re-starting. Once you have identified your ‘machine’, identified the components that need attention and the components that need overhauling, you will be on the way to delivering on the business vision and demonstrating tangible results.

Simplistically, your customer machine consists of five components that are all interrelated and require management in totality:

  1. Data optimisation
  2. Content
  3. Technology and automation
  4. People and process
  5. Customer engagement

These five components consist of behaviours and knowledge from within and outside your organsiation. In the marketing department of 2015, there are competing and conflicting demands, numerous technologies, multiple competencies and talent, plus a plethora of customer data and organisational information to consider. When crafting the ultimate customer strategy it is in many cases, a journey with a starting point defined by the most pressing or troublesome issue.

It is easy to lose sight of how to make the biggest impact when being pulled in various directions. It is important to recognise that no one aspect of the customer machine will deliver on your organisational objectives in isolation. Focus on preparing yourself for long term success by working on the machine’s foundations and that will help align you to the most important aspects.

To assist in making sense of your customer machine, we’ve developed a workshop to highlight some of the aspects to focus on – through a range of questions and exercises.

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Five common mistakes in optimising marketing automation software

For those marketers already on their journey using marketing automation software, many are seeing positive and tangible results. However, a number of organisations still aren’t optimising their use of their software. Through my experience in providing services to other companies struggling with marketing automation,I’ve noticed some common misperceptions about marketing automation. Below I’ve listed five important misperceptions and how to avoid making the mistakes associated with them:

  1. Marketing automation is not a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ solution. Simply put — it takes planning, focus and work! It also means you must reevaluate your existing marketing team to discover what skills and competencies your team is missing.
  2. Marketing automation is not a fancier email service provider (ESP). This is a huge handicap to using the software correctly. We often encounter organisations who are brand new to the software and spend several months only sending batch-and-blast emails like they did with their ESP. If that’s how your organisation uses the software, you’ve essentially purchased the most expensive ESP available and you’re wasting money, time and critical opportunities.
  3. Marketing automation involves much more than just your marketing team. It requires expertise from your sales, data/insights and IT teams too. Analysing user behaviours, visitor patterns, opportunities for growth, demand for specific types of content, etc. is a task that relies on multifaceted knowledge. Diverse backgrounds with experience across these four areas will be beneficial for every member of the “marketing” automation team.
  4. Cross-functional cooperation is imperative. Siloed organisations will have a harder time using the software. As workflows are automated through the software platform there needs to be a mutual understanding around the best ways to do it. Cross-channel goals need cross-channel cooperation.
  5. Marketing automation can be used to automate internal processes, not just campaigns. So much focus is on the automated campaigns part of the software that organisations often forget about the internal efficiencies marketing automation platforms can set up. “Campaigns” are really just automated workflows, and nothing restricts them to user behaviour – you can set something up based on internal logistical needs too. For example, lead stage determination can be automated so that no employee (whether in marketing or sales) needs to manually set it. Through a CRM integration it can be automatically determined based on preprogrammed patterns in behaviour or from filled out forms.

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Do you know the formula for effective B2B content marketing?

You’ve probably heard the marketing mantra, “right content, right person, right time”. But have you applied that concept? Applying it correctly can make or break the success of your demand generation/sales activity and greatly influence your customer’s experience with your brand.

Quality content isn’t enough (although it’s a great start). Marketers need to provide that quality content to the right person at the right time in order for it to be successful. Effective content marketing tailors every piece to a buyer persona/target segment group and their stage in the buying cycle. According to the Content Marketing Institute, “the most effective B2B marketers tailor content to the following categories: decision maker profiles (59%), company characteristics (52%), buying cycle stage (42%), personalised content preferences (23%).” (1)

Well-researched buyer personas provide an actionable starting point for content strategy and can help drive decisions about which content will be most effective when applied to your demand generation activity. Even identifying target market segments is a great starting point if you have not yet developed buyer personas.

Start with your target markets and add in behavioural data to build a definition of an individual and their defining characteristics. Demographics such as job role are important, but so is more detailed information such as geographic location, preferred methods of communication, and favoured message delivery timing for example. These insights allow for a better understanding of the persona and more effective marketing customisation.

True marketing synergy is achieved through a combination of messaging, medium and timing. You can build the best buyer personas imaginable, but if you cater your content to them at the wrong time or via the wrong channels you will still miss the opportunity to resonate with them. Understanding a persona’s stage in the buying process is the ultimate key to leveraging buyer personas effectively.

Let’s consider the basic B2B buying cycle:

  • A person becomes aware of an important business problem and the impacts on their business (troubling). A blog or infographic can be useful to highlight a trend/problem.
  • A person looking for a way to solve their business problem is just becoming aware of the various options to fill their needs (awareness), and would be would be interested in
  • information that illustrates how your type of product can help resolve their issue. Case studies work well for this.
  • A person who is researching software options (consideration) would find a competitor comparison chart to be very helpful.
  • A person who already knows what software they need and has decided which two are their favourites (between consideration and purchase decision) is likely to appreciate a free demo or a promotional offer.

Notice the last example. The strongest content is not merely relevant, but also acts as a trigger to the next stage in the buying cycle. This is the philosophy behind lead nurturing. Having content available to cater to the needs of those potential buyers as they progress through the buying cycle is critical to being front-of-mind when they are ready to purchase.

SOURCES

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/b2bresearch2013cmi-121023151728-phpapp01-1.pdf

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  • phone

    1300 440 444

  • Brand Identity

    support@microchannel.com.au

  • Advertisement

    14/213 Miller St North Sydney
    NSW 2060