Why Is Marketing Automation A Must-Have for Modern Marketing?
In 2019, email will continue to remain a crucial marketing channel for many businesses. Regardless of the increase of communication methods, email retains the highest ROI of any marketing channel. Additionally, marketing channels such as social, mobile messaging, apps, paid advertising, websites, and even bots can also impact your marketing strategy.
With the myriad of tools available, how do you choose the right ones? How do you know which channels will be the most effective and make a positive impact on your marketing goals? Glad you asked: this is where marketing automation gallops in to save the day.
What is Marketing Automation?
According to Salesforce, marketing automation is the “technology that manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically.” To incorporate marketing automation into your strategy you need to understand how marketing automation platforms work.
The three main components of a marketing automation platform, laid out by Marketo, are:
- A central marketing database
- An engagement engine
- An analytics engine
To understand how these components manifest into a project, let’s look at lead generation forms. An organization will create a form and place that form on a landing page (engagement engine). Once the form is submitted, it triggers a response email and adds the new contact to a list within the marketing database. The contact then goes through a pre-determined, automated email journey. During the email journey, the marketing automation platform tracks and reports on the actions the user takes (analytics engine).
Simply put, marketing automation platforms enable you to maintain all of your contacts, content, and assets in one place while tracking performance and engagement.
Finding the Right Marketing Automation Platform
When selecting a marketing automation platform, you need to do your research and identify the one that works best for your business. Most platforms have the same core features, typically an email marketing focus, but each platform offers different key benefits, like ease of use, control, capabilities, scalability and even integrations (particularly when it comes to your CRM).
Assess your current team’s skill sets and draft a game-plan for how you want to see your marketing efforts grow. If you are a small team and don’t have great technical skills, then a tool like Hubspot could be the answer for you. If you are a large organization and have a deep understanding of database structure and web/email development, then a platform like Eloqua or Pardot might be your best option.
Know the Channels That Are the Most Effective
Meet your customers on the channels they use. While this may seem like a simple task, it can stump even the largest organizations. When you understand your audience and the problems they are trying to solve, you can begin to identify which channels they use to search for solutions.
But how do you distribute your content and know it is working? Marketing automation to the rescue! Marketing automation tools enable you to place tracking tags, forms and use other techniques to generate data on how your audiences are performing, where they are coming from and even what they are saying about you — yes, “social listening” is available in some marketing automation platforms. Being able to identify all of this engagement and interaction with your brand in one tool will empower you to focus on building more qualified leads.
Making an Impact on Your Marketing Goals
Successful marketing automation strategy isn’t simply choosing a platform and then just blasting your audience with content on their preferred social channels. You must create an attainable plan or goal, work on achieving that goal, and then move onto a bigger goal.
In software development, many teams use an agile approach, which is essentially an iterative approach to building software to optimize development and build the best version of that software. The same concept can be applied to your marketing automation efforts.
For example, let’s say you create a goal to have a 10% spike in sales next month. The original plan to accomplish this might be through organic posts on social channels, but that doesn’t work. Then you might create an email to push your audience to a landing page…. but still nothing. Your next steps could include: testing your emails with A/B tests, using video to drive the product, deploying special promotions, and/or advertising on social channels.
The point is, there are many different ways to improve upon your digital strategy. Marketing automation tools help you by gathering the information you need to make timely decisions based on real numbers, customer interactions, and conversations.
As Hubspot says, “there’s a better way to grow.” Utilizing a marketing automation tool that combines all of the information and resources needed by marketing, sales, and service teams in one place will help your organization grow without limitations. With numerous options available, knowing your audience, choosing the right tools to engage with them, and making an impact on your marketing goals quickly is more important than ever before.
But wait! There’s more!
If you are interested in getting started with marketing automation or have questions for our experts, we would love to help. Let’s chat!