I recently was asked to be a contributor to a post by Marketo discussing the Dos and Don’t of Marketing Automation in their Marketing Automation 101 blog. The full article is posted below and can be found by clicking on the Marketo image, please let me know what you think of my feedback within the comments section, or by sending me a tweet @marissapick. Enjoy!
Dos and Don’ts of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is a powerful tool with the ability to greatly increase your conversions. However, in order for marketing automation to be effective, there are certain do’s and don’ts that you should understand, including how it fits into the larger context of your business. Based on information collected from experts in the marketing field, let’s look at the specific do’s and don’ts for marketing automation
“Marketing automation plays a key role in the customer/client acquisition process as it automates lead scoring, routing of qualified leads, nurturing those that are not ready to buy, and greater transparency into prospect/customer behavior on its own. It is important that a CMO and his/her team understand that marketing automation, as with any technology solution, is an enabler to their business strategy vs. a strategy on its own.
DO FOCUS ON YOUR TARGET
Unfortunately, marketing automation does not automatically recognize your best target audiences. As a result, it is important that you are knowledgeable in regards to your personas. If you are not 100 percent certain who you are targeting, there is a good chance that your efforts will not reverberate with anyone. Obtaining well defined personas gives you the chance to create more concentrated campaigns through careful segmentation and targeting. When segmenting and targeting are done correctly, it will lead to increased engagement, as well as more conversions over time
“Do personalize your B2B (business to business) marketing. The last time I looked, buildings and factories don’t process PO’s and write checks. People do. Use marketing automation to build segments to provide the right content, and the right time, to the right people. An IT director for a $50 million financial services company will have different needs and interests than an IT network administrator at a $200 million medical device manufacturer. Share stories with people that matter to them. Don’t talk AT them. Use marketing automation to personalize content based on buying stages, roles, companies, industries, and regions.
DO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CANNOT “SET IT AND FORGET IT”
While it can be easy to simply set everything up and move on to something else, this is not effective. You will gain the most from marketing automation by frequently revisiting, reevaluating, and adjusting your settings based on their performance. This also applies to social media. It can be very easy to schedule tweets ahead of time that are completely irrelevant when they are finally published. Keep track of what is coming up and readjust messages if needed.
“Do take the time to create your content strategy, and assess your people and the process changes that will be needed prior to investing in marketing automation. Marketing automation is a must-have technology for digital marketing programs, providing the visibility and automation necessary to execute on strategy, and the lack of it can result in failure. Given the functionality that marketing automation makes available, it’s also critically important to determine goals and how you’ll measure them to set up the appropriate lead-scoring scenarios and progression planning that gets contacts to a qualified state that your sales team will appreciate.”
DO URGE YOUR MARKETING AND SALES TEAMS TO POOL THEIR RESOURCES
In the past, there has been some tension between these two teams, but marketing automation should reduce that. Using marketing automation, your marketing team should be able to provide higher quality leads to the sales team. In addition, it provides integration and analytic features to help the teams work together to identify certain business opportunities to follow.
“It’s critical to come to an agreement with sales on lead definitions and process steps. Working with sales can provide feedback and data on lead quality and opportunities for future campaigns, which marketing automation can support.”
-Brian Hansford, (@RemarkMarketing)
Don’t Think Marketing Automation Will Create Your Content For You
While it does not create content for you, it will point you in the right direction as to how to push your content. Essentially, it acts as a delivery system between your audience and what you already have in place. Use data analysis to make automation benefit your business.
“Do leverage data and analysis to make automation work for your brand. Review, revisit, measure and adjust to understand the full range of data triggers from your campaigns and get the most out of your automation. Take advantage of the rich behavioral data provided by marketing automation to create more focused, personalized, and successful campaigns.”
DON’T USE MARKETING AUTOMATION TO CREATE SPAM MAIL
Marketing automation has numerous email capabilities that can potentially be used to spam prospective and existing clients with unnecessary and unwanted emails. Do not give in to this temptation. It will only backfire! Instead use it to your advantage, as well as that of your current and potential clients. Examples include using marketing automation to create a monthly newsletter or any number of follow-up actions based upon how a lead reacts to an original email.
“Don’t commit email spam by merely automating the recipient’s first name, you must step up your game and deliver more personalized and engaging content. You must ensure emails sent through automation are customized for the individual reader, and leverage the sophistication of your platform. Your clients must feel as though they’re receiving communication from humans, not robots.”
-Marissa Pick, (@MarissaPick)
DON’T ALLOW MARKETING AUTOMATION TO LET YOU BECOME LAZY
In order for marketing automation to truly work, you have to come up with something to automate. Simply utilizing the extra time you have to think about other initiatives, such as how to effectively reach clients in a more personalized way. When content is personalized and tailored to meet a client’s specific needs, they are more likely to convert. By spending your extra time getting to truly understand your audience, you have the potential for even bigger payoffs.
“Over the past few years, marketing automation has rapidly evolved and has enabled marketers much needed ease in performing daily tasks at work. One of the most important things to remember before embarking with marketing automation is that it’s a technology not a strategy. It’s simply a tool available to help leverage the desired results from a more cohesive and planned strategy. Marketing automation should allow your brand and people to take advantage of the efficiencies gained by focusing times and efforts on other parts of the business, by automating otherwise time-consuming tasks.”
-Marissa Pick, (@MarissaPick)
“Do not ‘set it and forget it.’ The beauty of marketing automation is that it can relieve marketers from manual tasks. This ‘freed up time’ should be redirected into monitoring and refining, to continuously improvement the programs run by your marketing automation platform. Even if you’ve done the research and groundwork to create your content strategy, it’s still a ‘best guess’ until it’s in execution. With continuous improvements, marketing campaign performance can reach heights you might not have thought possible. Don’t settle for good enough when you’ve got the potential for greatness.”
Marketing automation has proven to be very valuable for both marketers and clients. Businesses will appreciate the increased lead conversion rate, while clients and customers appreciate their improved online experience. By taking the following tips into account, you can ensure that marketing automation works most effectively for you.