What is transformational about marketing automation technology?
Marketing automation is a technology that evolved to grow businesses in an era of educated buyers and overwhelmed marketing and sales professionals. As traditional, outbound marketing lost its effectiveness and began to repel buyers, innovative organisations began to embrace an inbound marketing approach. Leads and customers responded well when they were catered to with relevant information instead of shouted at with pitches, and marketing automation software provided a streamlined way to meet the needs of modern marketers. By automating repetitive processes, marketing automation technology liberates employees from menial tasks and enables a focus on creative intelligence, strategic thinking and growth.
Drip vs. nurture
One revolutionary element of marketing automation technology is the nurture campaign. Email marketing with an email service provider (ESP) is limited in scope because ESPs evolved as a tool for businesses to send email whereas marketing automation evolved as a platform with a suite of tools to support an inbound marketing approach. Most organisations invest in marketing automation after some experience with an ESP, so they begin their introduction to the software with the email feature and start by building nurture campaigns. The ability to have a campaign branch in multiple directions based on open and click behaviour is powerful and an immediate upgrade from traditional email marketing.
Better contact management
Key behaviour can indicate where a lead or contact is in the buying cycle, giving your marketing and sales team the intel they need to decide what interaction and messaging is best. This behaviour-based approach to marketing is one of the hallmarks of marketing automation’s effectiveness. Instead of guessing where a contact is in their decision process, you can know and respond appropriately based on their behaviour.
Comprehensive approach to marketing and sales data
Internally, marketing automation software serves as a single location for housing marketing, service and sales data. By offering multiple tools within one platform and integrating with complementary software like CRM systems and social media, this database can help the marketing, sales, service and IT teams work together to draw useful cross-platform insights.
Relevance and one-to-one marketing at scale
Email marketing allows you to communicate with leads and customers at scale and even offers a certain degree of personalisation with data fields. This one-to-many interaction is a valuable tool for touching leads, but it falls short of the email capabilities within a marketing automation platform because it can never be one-to-one. With marketing automation, you can branch emails so what is sent next is a response to recipient behaviour. They will only see the content that is most tailored to them and their current phase in the buying process. You can personalise with data fields as well as content.This level of personalisation increases relevance and ensures the right message is delivered at the right time.
Proactive vs. Reactive
The biggest transformation marketing automation offers is more abstract than the addition of new features. It’s the profound shift from reactive thinking to proactive thinking. Without visitor tracking and behavioural data, marketing and sales teams would take action based on what was happening currently or what had happened in the past. A marketer might launch a discount offer campaign to encourage quick closes at the end of a low performance quarter for example.
With marketing automation, it becomes possible to focus on the future instead. Predictions are more accurate because leads can be reliably tracked throughout their buying cycle and campaigns can launch themselves based on predetermined behavioural criteria. That discount offer campaign can be programmed to launch automatically if analytics are showing a low performing quarter, leaving the marketing team some creative time to brainstorm preventative measures and the sales team with a list of high-potential (high lead score) prospects to follow up with quickly.
Marketing automation is not just another marketing tool, it’s an entire platform built to facilitate an inbound marketing approach. While the software is the key to implementing inbound marketing successfully, it’s the philosophy that makes this technology truly transformational. Contact us discuss your marketing automation journey.