In an evolving and extremely competitive digital marketplace, capturing leads can be a struggle. Nurturing those leads (won and lost) into conversions for your business is another different challenge. We’re so used to seeing the sales funnel tighten on us after casting what we believe to be a massive net on our target audience. So how do you make sure your company is staying top-of-mind? Welcome to 2015, the year of Marketing Automation.
Definition of Marketing Automation
“Marketing Automation is software that allows your business to nurture leads and convert them into customers through personalized, behavior-triggered content. It allows marketers to automate tasks to improve efficiency and speed while also measuring results (wishpond).”
Sounds perfect, right?! It would be if businesses
a) knew what to implement
b) knew how to utilize automation effectively.
Automation software is a fancy, and more importantly, effective driver of quality leads…for those who know how to use it. This is likely the reason for the following statistic – 85% of B2B marketers using a marketing automation platform feel that they’re not using it to its full potential. ( SiriusDecisions, 2014).
Complications and Initial Challenge with Marketing Automation
One of the obstacles many businesses run into is the tough learning curve that comes with marketing automation. 86% of marketers said “ease of use” was the most important criterion when choosing a marketing automation platform. ( Regalix, 2014). Many want software that will handle everything for them. But let’s face it, that can be very pricey. Even with the best software available, there is no shortcut to diving into the data to gain valuable insight and make effective data-driven decisions. The capabilities of marketing automation (behavioral targeting, ‘if this, then that’ scenarios, etc.) are exciting and I highly recommend correctly employing them. However, keep in mind that it isn’t a plug-and-play option for your business.
Our advice is to start simple. With automation options that include predictive intelligence and behavioral targeting, it’s easy to avoid what automation was built on: email. For those organizations who don’t want to spend their marketing dollars on paid advertising, an email strategy is still a very high return on investment. Marketing automation through email is as easy as dividing your list, developing suitable/segmented messaging for each audience and executing a thoughtful strategy. The inexpensive email providers all offer some automation features. Test them and find the solution that works best for you.
And if your eyes have already glazed over a few times reading through this and the instructions for your marketing automation software, reach out and we’ll walk you through it.