Marketing is the lifeblood of any business. You may have a breakthrough product or service, but if your target consumers are oblivious to it, your business will probably not achieve its fullest potential. Worse, expect it to soon die a natural death.
As it stands today, business competition has reached cutthroat levels, and the marketing landscape is no exception. As marketing professionals strive to keep their brands on the forefront of their consumers’ minds, data management through marketing automation technology makes perfect sense.
What is marketing automation?
Here are some definitions we’ve collated from around the web:
SearchCRM: Marketing automation is the use of software to automate marketing processes such as customer segmentation, customer data integration, and campaign management. The use of marketing automation makes processes that would otherwise have been performed manually much more efficient, and makes some new processes possible. Marketing automation is an integral component of customer relationship management.
HubSpot: At its best, marketing automation is software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon – that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required.
Salesforce: In its most basic form, marketing automation is a set of tools designed to streamline and simplify some of the most time-consuming responsibilities of the modern marketing and sales roles. From automating the lead qualification process to creating a hub for digital campaign creation, automation is all about simplifying a business world that is growing far too complex, much too quickly.
Marketing automation – the benefits
There’s a reason why the marketing automation industry is growing. Marketing automation tools provide sales and marketing benefits that marketing professionals can only dream of some years ago.
Below are seven reasons why companies must consider looking into marketing automation to grow their businesses:
One important function of marketing automation is simplifying routine organizational and marketing tasks. It effectively eliminates repetitive manual processes by substituting automated solutions. This, in turn, increases productivity as marketing department personnel are able to put increased focus on tasks that require more stringent manual monitoring.
2. Workflow automation
A successful inbound marketing campaign will need a range of assets like forms, calls-to-action (CTAs), and conversion pages, but it’s the automated workflows that tie all these together, says Matthew Buckley in an article on the New Breed Marketing blog.
When manually performing repetitive, routine tasks, human error can get in the way. Marketing automation systemizes activities, processes, and documentation, allowing for a smoother marketing workflow. The more advanced software platforms include automation of internal marketing processes such as budgeting and planning, approval, workplace collaboration, and other related processes.
3. Channel agnosticism
Marketing automation tools are channel-agnostic in the sense that they can be used in different marketing platforms that include email, SEO, CRM tools, and social media. Additionally, the platform serves as a centralized hub for a variety of marketing activities, making the marketing professional’s life a whole lot easier.
4. Increase in revenue
Investing in marketing automation – or any software, for that matter – isn’t necessarily cheap. But the benefits of the tool, if properly utilized, can justify the upfront investment.
Here are some statistics to consider:
- B2B marketers with successful lead-nurturing programs reported, on average, a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads.
- 78 percent of high-performing marketers identify marketing automation as a key contributor to improved revenue.
- Between 2012 and 2015, 84 percent of top-performing businesses use or plan to use marketing automation software.
- By 2020, 85 percent of customer relationships with businesses will be managed without human interaction, says Gartner on their Gartner Customer 360 Summit.
- In a VentureBeat article, Mike Templeman, CEO of Foxtail Marketing, says that one of the reasons why he sees 2015 as the year marketing automation finally catches on are the cheaper, even freemium, alternatives to the more high-priced solutions.
5. Customer retention
For a company to continually grow, there has to be a balancing act between customer acquisition and retention. While the prospect of acquiring new customers is an exciting one, it costs a lot less to keep existing customers.
One effective use of marketing automation in retaining customers comes in the form of marketing intelligence. It provides relevant insight into customer (both existing and prospective) intent. With this information, more and more companies are able to “predict” customer needs and decisions, enabling them to act accordingly without unnecessary waste of time.
6. Relationship marketing
Relationship marketing, in a nutshell, is a form of marketing with a focus on achieving high customer satisfaction scores, hence better retention rates. Customers’ lasting relationships with a brand engender repeat sales and word-of-mouth promotion, which, in itself, is a powerful marketing tool.
Marketing automation tools allow businesses to personalize their relationships with every customer, every prospect, and every lead through relevant strategies that include lead qualification, nurturing, trigger campaigns, digital footprint analysis, lead scoring models, and sales and marketing alignment.
7. Tracking and monitoring of marketing campaigns
Determining the success of any marketing campaign will have to be supported by measurable data, data gleaned through precise tracking and monitoring. Marketing automation software not only helps in tracking marketing expenditures but also in monitoring responses to marketing campaigns based on specific parameters of success or failure.
Marketing automation provides businesses with customer profile and data management capabilities to help them serve their markets better. Successful customer acquisition, conversion and retention are, for the most part, a product of a holistic marketing strategy, a strategy that most marketing automation solutions are fully equipped to support.