If you are interested in marketing automation for your business, government agency, or organization, then it is important to have a complete understanding of what is marketing automation, and why it is important, before you start to compare and contrast the different service offerings and prices.
As we defined on our page, “What Is Marketing Automation,” what we are talking about is a form of CRM or customer relationship management.
It is a software tool (typically cloud-based) that allows marketers to better manage their engagement with prospects and customers on communication channels such as: websites, e-mail, social media, online search, and advertising.
Think of it as a way to better optimize your business by adding more efficient processes that help save time, and money, while simultaneously leading to greater productivity.
As the screenshot below shows, one of the core benefits of marketing automation is to automate communication with prospects and customers. When someone conducts some action (such as filling out a form or downloading a white paper), marketing automation is triggered to respond. This is how a company can engage prospects and customers with relevant information, or information that connects to a user’s behavior.
What are some of the core benefits of marketing automation?
There are many reasons why marketing automation is important to your business operations. Take a look at this process chart below that connects stages of lead generation to sale with the technical features of marketing automation.
The Process and Features of Marketing Automation
When the cycle is done, it repeats
to ensure a consistent flow of activity and engagement.
Marketing automation gives you the ability maximize your personnel and productivity by turning over more administrative and technical functions to automation.
This allows you to:
- Get more leads: B2C, B2B and B2G marketers are able to blend their content marketing strategy into an automation system, and generate more leads. Depending on how your content marketing is executed, and the sophistication of your automation software, you may be able to leverage the technology to improve lead quality as well.
- Improve your operations: According to survey results, the biggest benefits of marketing automation for marketing professionals include – saving time (74%), higher customer engagement (68%), more relevant and timely communications (58%) and an increase in business opportunities (58%).
- Integrate with existing software: New automation platforms are designed with integration in mind, while older systems have been updated to make third party software easier to integrate. This is important, because many companies use Google AdWords, LinkedIn, and Facebook for advertising, Salesforce for a CRM, and have a wide variety of content management systems, like Adobe Experience Manager, Drupal, or WordPress. Marketing automation software that has an open API and established integrations is going to make adoption much easier for your business, government agency, or organization.
- Track how your customers interact with your website and company: A good automation platform uses the records you add into the CRM to track your prospects and customers as they interact with your website. This is especially important because it tells you what pages or campaigns are driving leads, and it provides a clear ROI for marketing activities. What’s more, you can learn which leads may be ready to act, or in need of more information to aid their decision-making process.
- Manage your customer relationships: Integrating a CRM with your marketing automation software is crucial, because it allows you to communicate with contacts using the most current data. Dynamic updates to prospect and customer records will ensure that your communication will always be relevant. Whether it is an automated email, or outreach from a sales person, the combination of connected a marketing automation system with a CRM will save time, and improve responsiveness.
Another way to think about why marketing automation is important is to ask yourself some key questions, such as:
- Can you identify, track and, engage individual buyers or prospects online?
- Can you look at a list of customers and prioritize them based on their behavior and likelihood to buy?
- Are you filtering leads based on level of engagement and interest?
- Can you measure the revenue contribution of every single one of your marketing campaigns? And connect your contacts and finalized deals to those marketing campaigns?
- Can you do all of these things without an army of people, and a ton of stress?
If you answered “no” to all or most of those questions, then you understand why marketing automation is important.
What are common features of a marketing automation platform?
Now that we have covered why marketing automation is important, and some of its many benefits, the last step is to look at are the common features within systems, and what they deliver.
When many people often first hear about marketing automation, they think of it as an e-mail marketing tool. However, a complete system will cover all phases of your marketing operations, including content publication, social media engagement, advertising tracking, lead tracking, account management, and more.
Here is a list of common features:
E-MAIL AUTOMATION: Send emails with triggers and build personal relationships with leads.
DYNAMIC FORMS: Capture more leads with forms designed to convert.
DYNAMIC WEB CONTENT: Close more sales with content that is tailored to the interests of your leads.
LEAD SCORING: Prioritize your pipeline and reach out to sales-ready leads.
SALES NOTIFICATIONS: Email or text sales team when a lead indicates they are ready to buy.
VISITOR ID: Triple your leads by identifying anonymous traffic to your website.
CRM / CRM INTEGRATION: Immediately plug your leads into a CRM (internal or third party).
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT: Publish, listen, and track campaigns with fully integrated social media tools.
EMAIL CAMPAIGNS: Manage all outbound e-mails, as well as perform A/B testing to ensure deliverability.
BEHAVIOR TRACKING: Understand your leads by tracking their activity, so you can create one-on-one communication.
WEBSITE AND SALES ANALYTICS: Provide your whole organization with accurate web, campaign, advertising, and sales data.
CREATE LANDING PAGES: Use drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor to build sophisticated landing pages for campaigns.
SALES PIPELINE: Build out your own custom sales pipeline model, and assign managers for specific accounts.
CREATE BLOGS AND MICROSITES: With built-in, responsive templates, you can quickly build a blog and/or microsites for your organization.
OPEN API AND CMS INTEGRATION: Maximize an open API and CMS nuetrality to use third party applications and platforms.