After the success of the Optix Solutions annual event I feel it’s time to expand on one of the areas of digital that was discussed: marketing automation. It’s something that I’ve had a lot of experience working with over the past few years working in Marketing. In this post I’ll aim to teach you why marketing automation is important, the differences between automation in B2B and B2C and provide advice for when you’re choosing which platform to go for.
Why is Marketing Automation important?
Marketing automation, ensures that you never miss a chance to connect with someone who’s interacted with your business in some way, prior to conversion. As soon as data has been captured marketing automation can commence.
No matter your demographic, the ability to reach potential customers is becoming increasingly difficult. The marketing landscape (primarily digital) is ever expanding; new technologies, theories and frameworks are constantly being introduced making your marketing efforts that bit more difficult to execute (or at least execute well). Marketing automation is just one contributing factor to this and if you haven’t already, it’s something that you should consider adopting.
What’s right for you?
First and foremost; I think there’s room for elements of automation in B2C but the need for complex campaigns often isn’t required if your product is relatively inexpensive. In these scenarios your money will probably be better spent boosting posts on social, creating content or increasing your PPC budget.
Make sure you check the platform your website is built on, you may find that there are opportunities for simple automation (such as cart abandonment emails) are built right into your CMS or available through a plugin.
If you’re conversion process is a bit more of a slower burn (for example if you’re selling property, bespoke holidays or large motor boats). Then there’s probably scope for more complex campaigns; and the information below (under B2B) may be relevant to you.
There are four prime reasons why marketing automation software works really well for B2B companies:
- The Slower Burn
Conversion generally take longer in B2B, so the ability to hold your prospects attention is a must.
- Human interaction
Unlike B2C, sales people are often involved in a B2B conversion. Marketing automation provides sales people with an overview of all of that prospects behaviour, what emails they’ve received, what content they’ve downloaded and what webpages they’ve visited. Before picking up the phone, the salesperson can gauge how far along that prospect is in the customer journey and where to pick up the conversation. Ultimately making for stronger relationships and less time wasted.
- Strategic Content Distribution
The constant tracking allows you to distribute content when you deem it appropriate. Rather than sending mass emails to all prospects at random hours of the day. The content can be distributed based on the prospects actions. This also allows for your marketing efforts to expand past the 9-5 parameters of most businesses.
- Lead Nurturing
In more complex pieces of software (for example Act-on, Hubspot and Marketo which I’ll discuss in further detail below), lead scoring is a major component. This essentially allows you to gauge a user’s activity by giving them a score for each of their actions (e.g. opening an email [1 point], clicking through [3 points], Signing up for a live demo [10 points]). You can set thresholds and set up rules for example, ‘If a prospect gets a score of 80, they’re considered ‘sales ready’ and are automatically passed to the sales team for a phone call.’
If the above four points are all areas you feel will positively impact your marketing efforts then it’s a no brainer, Marketing automation is for you.
“So Marketing Automation is right for my business, but what Tool should I use?”
I’m not going to be able to tell you out right which tool is right for your business. But here’s some advice I often provide to businesses that are thinking of delving in.
The decision should all be based around your objectives. Every business is different and like with everything else; you need to do your research and shop around. It’s easy to get sucked in by a friendly sales person (and believe me they will hound you). But you must read reviews, watch videos, arrange demos and ask questions prior to purchase.
And a little WARNING… The problem I see with so many businesses is that they rush into adopting complex platforms (like Marketo) without having dipped there toe into the most basic marketing automation programmes. Remember that perhaps one of the most expensive parts of adopting more complex marketing automation software is the training. I know of businesses that have paid over £1,000 a day for training; with several weeks required to get fully up to speed. These costs combined with the fact that several team members will not be focusing on there main role can make adopting marketing automation software VERY expensive.
Before committing to purchasing a complex tool, have a go with more inexpensive options. Setup some basic automated programmes, test different ideas, map out a plan, identify what content you need (testimonials, case studies, video tutorials etc.) and expand from there.
If you’re not sure where to start, here’s just a few tools that I’ve worked with over the years that I would recommend…
If you have any questions or want some advice feel free to contact me – Chris@christhewriter.co.uk