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Wouldn't it be nice if your marketing process was on auto-pilot? If one platform could link up your sales, online and offline databases, as well as figure out purchase habits the instant customers make their first purchase?
That future is now, that future is marketing automation.
In order to help marketers understand this technology, we recently released our Marketing Automation Best Practices report. The following is a brief outline of some of the main topics covered in this report.
At its most basic level, marketing automation technology has been around for years. A great example can be seen in mail merge software, with functionality which pulls information from a database and dynamically inserts personalized content into the email.
Marketing automation has a heritage in B2B (where a longer sales cycle often increases the focus on lead nurturing) but much of its current usage is in the B2C world, for example where e-commerce retailers are trying to cultivate prospective customers and guide them to relevant products.
The latest marketing automation programs can store a near infinite amount of data, across multiple digital and analogue media vehicles.
Over the past few years, a new breed of vendor has emerged which offers marketing automation as software-as-a-service (SaaS), offering seamless integration with their clients' data sources and back-end infrastructure.
Virtually any business can use this software, with companies no longer requiring a huge financial investment to automate their marketing processes. The tough part is getting started.
How to get started
Before investing in marketing automation, a company should ask themselves a few questions.
1. Who will be in charge of this process?
2. How long will it take your company to approve your plan?
3. Is marketing automation right for you?
Marketing automation tactics
Once these questions are answered, the following tactics may be of some help in your marketing automation journey.
Listen and learn.
Understand about individual consumers in order to better
understand their needs, based not only on what they are telling you, but
the behavior they exhibit.
Figure out what the most relevant information is for each customer and use that to drive your communication strategy.
Time delivery to
Find out when different types of information are relevant, and when they are not, and make sure each individual gets the right information at the right time.
Ensure that each prospect gets the right amount of communication, with the right spacing between messages (cadence).
Measure and optimize.
Understand which programs and tactics are driving qualified leads into the funnel and converting into revenue.