By Chuck Leddy
The 19th Century American philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817-62), who famously built a cabin at Walden Pond to get away from emerging technologies like the railroad and the telegraph, offered a basic truth that also describes the need for marketing automation: “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!”
From automating the lead qualification process to creating a hub for digital campaign creation, marketing automation is all about simplifying. As today’s marketing landscape gets increasingly complex and fast-paced (we’re way beyond the telegraph), marketers don’t need to escape to a cabin. They can simply leverage marketing automation tools to work smarter and simpler, letting technology do what it does best while liberating marketers to do what they do best.
7 Massive Benefits of Marketing Automation
The benefits marketing automation provide will depend upon the complexity of each organization and its marketing resources, but here are some of the more obvious ones:
- More and Better Leads
Leads are what marketing is about, and marketing automation delivers great results for lead generation. According to an eye-opening study by the Annuitas Group, companies that adopt marketing automation see a 451% increase in qualified leads (yes, that’s a 451% increase, not a typo). Not only do marketers generate many more leads, but those nurtured leads actually spend 47% more than their non-nurtured counterparts.
- Workflow Automation Saves Time, Enables Better Planning
Any effective marketing campaign will need a range of assets like forms, calls-to-action (CTAs), and conversion pages, but it’s marketing automation that integrates and coordinates all of these assets. Marketing automation systemizes your activities, processes, and documentation. Manually performing these same repetitive, routinized tasks leads to more human error and wasted human resources, which might better be devoted to activities that require more thinking, creating, and strategizing.
MA also enables better planning, as Rebecca LeGrange, Managing Partner at Sojourn Solutions, explains: “Planning campaigns in advance is one of the major improvements MA offers. When you don’t need to think through a whole campaign ahead of setting it “live” in the automation workflow, you often put it together in a piecemeal way. When you need to design the journey and prepare the content ahead of enabling an automated campaign, you’re forced to get more organized. It’s a paradigm shift for many companies if they’ve not used MA, but it’s also a huge benefit because a piecemeal campaign often doesn’t create a great experience for the prospect or customer.”
- Integration of Tools, Platforms, and Channels
Marketing automation tools are channel agnostic, in the sense that they can be deployed across different marketing platforms that include email, SEO, CRM tools, and social media. Equally important, a marketing automation platform serves as a single, centralized hub for a variety of marketing activities, making the marketing professional’s life a whole lot easier. You won’t need to keep 39 screens open at the same time to gain an integrated sense of what you’re doing. Simplify, simplify.
- Boosting ROI (and Enabling Marketing Attribution)
Investing in marketing automation isn’t necessarily cheap, but its manifold benefits and clear ROI justify the investment. An astonishing 78 percent of high-performing marketers view marketing automation as a key driver of increased revenue. As Marketo’s blog concisely explains it: “marketing automation solutions all but guarantee a positive ROI when effectively implemented.”
Equally important, marketing automation enhances your ability to connect revenue/ROI to specific marketing activities, something called marketing attribution. When marketers have solid, precise metrics that connect their multi-channel activities to revenue/ROI, their credibility within the C-suite gets enhanced, because “proving ROI” is the language of the C-suite.
- Enhanced Customer Experience
Collecting and leveraging marketing and business intelligence (BI) is a key part of delivering better, revenue-generating customer experiences (CXs). BI provides actionable insight into the behavior of existing customers and prospects, which marketers can use to learn and adapt their marketing investments. Companies can even use this in-flowing data to “predict” customer needs and decisions as they evolve.
As Salesforce.com explains it, “using behavioral tracking methods such as following a user’s path through your website, marketing automation software can help your marketing team understand prospects’ interests and where they are in the purchasing lifecycle. . . .Bringing together information from touchpoints — including website visits and downloads, social media activity, and direct marketing — enables automatic scoring, qualifying, and prioritizing of leads.” MA enables you to work smarter, in more precise, data-driven ways.
Buyers increasingly want and expect unique, targeted content at each stage of their journey. Marketing automation tools simplify the personalization process, getting the right content to the right buyer at the right time.
And as Salesforce.com says, “data gathered by a marketing automation system is also super effective for qualifying leads on the marketing side before passing them on to sales. Lead scoring and lead grading are two ways a good automation system captures and processes visitor data to trigger automatic routing of qualified leads to the right sales reps.” So marketing automation supports better collaboration between marketing and sales — no minor achievement, that.
- Tracking and Monitoring of Marketing Campaigns
The effectiveness of any marketing campaign must be analyzed through measurable data collected through precise tracking and monitoring, then evaluated against specific success criteria. In other words, marketers know when things are going well and when they’re not, enabling them to course correct depending on “the story” the customer data is telling them.
As Fortune Belcher, Digital Marketing Lead at Glory Global Solutions explains, “MA has enabled us to track both unknown and known users depending on where they are in the purchase decision cycle and tailor message relevant to their needs.”
Getting Started with Marketing Automation
We asked Karin Pindle, Sojourn Solutions’ Senior Marketing Automation Expert and Guide, how B2B marketers might get started. She suggested the following three steps:
- “Perform an RFP (request for proposal) with detailed questions for each MA vendor to complete. Then have the MA vendor demonstrate for your team. You should also include a certified MA partner to help you evaluate MA vendors.”
- “Ensure various teams are involved in the evaluation process, including web/digital, sales, and IT. Identify who your key stakeholders are, so they can make the best decision for the overall business.”
- “Evaluate a services partner for the implementation of the MA just as you would the actual MA — either include this in your RFP or perform a separate RFP after you select an MA. Don’t assume the MA’s Professional Services team is your best bet.”
Fortune Belcher adds this: “Always ensure that you bring in skilled, knowledgeable and experienced marketing automation implementation partners, who can add value, especially if you have limited in-house resource; don’t sacrifice quality over price.”
If your company is able to achieve even one or two of the massive benefits listed above (and there are far more benefits than the ones listed above), your marketing automation platform (MAP) will pay for itself through costs saved or revenue generated. And your life as a marketer will be far more focused on the activities you dreamed of doing when you originally became a marketer. So if you want to “simplify, simplify” to work smarter, reach out to Sojourn Solutions.