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Five tips for marketing automation mastery

These drive results


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In my more than 20 years in marketing, I’ve seen many companies implement intricate, elegant, dynamic marketing platforms aimed at touching their customers with a total disregard for proper planning, process, metrics, cadence and content. Here are a few thoughtful steps to avoid that precarious methodology.

Successful marketing automation – defined as technologies that are designed for organizations to effectively market digitally via multiple channels and automate repetitive tasks and follow up actions – hinges on these several factors that address customers where, when and how they are interested in your company.  Adhering to these five steps can generate loads of actionable data, build rapport with existing customers and turn prospects into long-term relationships.

Planning

The first step in any effective marketing automation program is identifying your goals for connecting with your customers. Whether via email, social media, websites or a combination of vehicles, think through what you want to communicate, how often, on what platforms, and, ultimately what you want the result or action to be. 

Start by understanding the business case for marketing automation within your company.

For example, are you a B2B or B2C organization? Are you trying to address top of funnel - mainly inbound marketing needs? Is a multi-channel approach part of the organizational needs? Understanding the answers to these questions will help you correctly identify the best platform to address your business needs and your customers’ needs.

A successful marketing automation plan will result in a plethora of actionable data that can change the way your company does business and relates to customers in the future. Before gathering the data, understand what are you collecting, why are you collecting it and how you are going to action against it or direct insight to action.

Process

Developing an initial marketing automation plan for implementation can be daunting, but as I often tell all of my clients it’s like eating an elephant -- one bite at a time – a thoughtful process. The planning process for a marketing automation implementation also gives organizations a good excuse to examine existing processes within the marketing department and across your entire organization, including the sales team.

Lastly, be deliberate. Don’t just set it and forget it. Develop a CRM follow-through process that maps how you will create a seamless, automated hand off of warm, quality leads to your sales team once the marketing automation plan is in full swing.

Metrics

Metrics is all about having the end game in mind.  Be strategic about what data you want to collect, what results you want to direct and how those relate to your bottom line. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Is it moving people quickly through your funnel? Is it helping you collect new leads? Is it helping you qualify leads?

Understand what your click through rate is really telling you. Are your form failures because you’re asking too much or attracting the wrong audience? Can you directly correlate opportunity dollars to your marketing efforts? It is not always about having the right answer but asking the right questions.

Cadence

Cadence or the timing and frequency of your marketing -- among all of your channels -- is critical to the success of any marketing campaign.  Blasting your audience repeatedly will likely result in them unsubscribing from all the noise. Instead, relate to your audience and set expected and thoughtful time frames for communications and then build your engagement to know when the timing is right for certain promotions or offers. In addition, make sure your timing between marketing and sales efforts is matched so that the transition is smooth and promotes a continuing relationship.

Content

The old adage of location, location, location, follows through to marketing automation as content, content, content. Be precise, be personal, be compelling and provide the right information to the right people at the right time. It is imperative to know your audience and/or segment them in order to deliver information that they will find valuable.

 There are countless ways to provide a buffet of content to your end users and, at the same time, engage them for information you are seeking.  Ask your sales team what questions they are wrestling with and look to your customers’ email boxes to find it.

The end goal for any marketing automation process is to create, shape, react, cultivate and lead your customers’ behavior for mutually-beneficial long term relationships that put the customer first and your ROI second.

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Nancy Stillwell

Nancy Stillwell is the Marketing Automation Manager for Tectonic, a Denver-based technology and business services company focused on insight to action automation in the cloud.  She is one of five marketing automation vendor agnostic technology and marketing consultant in the U.S. -- knowledgeable across Pardot, Eloqua, Marketo and Salesforce Marketing Cloud platforms. Contact Nancy at 720.365.4872 or nancy.stillwell@gettectonic.com.

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