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.
A fantastic article published by John Heggestuen in Business Insider reinforces the idea that Social Media Marketing isn’t always about the dollar value returns, but should be focused toward new metrics that evaluate social media strategies in terms of audience-building, brand awareness, and customer relations. It’s important to have clearly defined business objectives and realistic expectations before launching a social media strategy, and the points below really emphasize the larger picture of what marketers should be measuring.
The recent Business Insider report, In-Depth Research On What Matters In Digital reviews how social media strategies are involving:
- The decline of ROI metrics: Between 2010 and 2013, the percentage of marketers using a revenue-per-customer metric on social media dropped from 17% to 9%, according to the February 2013 CMO survey. The percentage tracking conversion rates also dropped, from 25% to 21%.
- Even as the vogue for ROI indicators fades, social media budgets are ballooning. On average, top marketers expect to devote 9% of their budgets to social media spend in 2014, and 16% by 2018, according to the same survey.
- Exceptions: Of course there are exceptions to the move away from ROI. Some social commerce applications and direct response campaigns will achieve measurable results on Facebook, or other social networks. And the end of the ROI-fever definitely doesn’t mean that all metrics can be thrown out the window.
- The metrics to watch are audience reach, engagement, and sentiment. On Facebook, it’s always important to remember that due to algorithmic filtering, brand or business posts will only be seen by an average 16% of their fans.
- Facebook shares are particularly valuable, because normal users’ posts are seen in a relatively high percentage of friends’ news feeds (compared to posts by brand pages); between 29 and 35% according to one study.
- Improving the most common metrics: Insights, Facebook’s built-in analytics tool, offers great basic data for measuring reach and engagement. We show you how to transform those numbers into richer and more valuable metrics.
- Post reach is the most fundamental indicator of reach on Facebook, but it’s important to track it relative to number of page fans and enrich it with complementary indicators. We show you how, and include screenshots.
The report also emphasizes the importance of reach and engagement as well as other benefits of social media below. It’s a great report to reinforce that in order to embrace social media you must see past the immediate revenue and dollar value returns, and see the larger picture!
Please leave a comment below, or tweet me @Marissapick with feedback, enjoy!
Paul and Allan discussed the latest in B2B and Social Media News covering:
1) Recent research from Demand Metric reinforcing the importance of lead generation as just 9% of B2B marketers say they are highly effective at generating leads..
2) A study from IBM which discusses that although CMOs believe that advanced analytics play a significant role in helping them reach their goals, most feel their organizations are not in a position to leverage data to its full extent to gain a deeper understanding of the customer.
3) A new research study of 350 business buyers by the CMO Council and Netline finds that third-party sources heavily influence B2B buying decisions. That’s not surprising, but what’s depressing is that only 9% said vendors are trusted sources of content. “Marketing executives unanimously agreed that a solid content strategy is imperative for building awareness it requires them to position themselves as trusted experts in their field,” the report concludes.
During this podcast we discussed the numerous channels we use at my company Euromoney Institutional Investor to leverage social media across our publishing and events businesses, as well as the power we’ve found through paid advertising on Facebook, and the importance of word of mouth marketing. Click the link below to listen to FIR B2B Show #6 “Marketers Struggle With Reinvention.”
#1: BREAK THE RULES AND HAVE FUN!
- Social media provides a way for marketers to test the waters and try something new. Social media is an exciting and new space to experiment, and see major returns. Break the rules, have a little fun, and as a brand let your corporate hair down. Social media gives a behind the scenes look into a person or brand, and can help to facilitate deeper engagement with your audience.
#2: KNOWING WHAT TO DO IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT NOT TO DO
- Every social media campaign needs a strategy, and it’s crucial to understand your goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish and how you will measure success is crucial before you launch any campaign. All social media platforms are not the same, so leveraging the proper channels, and having a way to measure your campaign is so very important, and sadly often over looked. Think strategically and decide what you’re going to do before you launch, and start small, you can always expand once you have results.
#3: SOCIAL MEDIA ACTUALLY WORKS!
- Natascha shared a great statistic from Forrester Research within her SlideShare deck, “85% of business decision-‐makers said at least one social media channel is important when making technology purchase decisions.” Social Media has the power to influence the decision makers. When leveraged properly social media channels are a great place to share content to help influence and drive decision making at the very early stages. Make sure you have solid content which targets and engages with your audience.
#4: ENGAGEMENT = ESSENTIAL
- Social Media is a platform to drive conversation and any post should always focus around engagement. It doesn’t matter if you have 20,000 or 200 followers, what matters is that you have a captive and engaged audience. I find visual content works well for my account to drive the RTs, Likes, and Shares.
- Quick Tip: Find a quote or stat and download the Quoter App. It’s a great tool to brighten up your content, and quickly share on social media. I shared the quote below from MarketingProfs Ann Handley during the recent NYC Social Media Week. Since posting this to my account it has generated 45 ReTweets and 38 Favorites making this one of my most popular posts to date
#5: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
- Why should your audience follow you, and what’s in it for them? You need to answer this question, and them means the people within your social media community. It’s crucial to wear their hats and build content which excites, engages, and motivates your audience. Know your audience’s needs, and be the source they go to get information and content. This takes me back to the top rule, always have fun and mix it up!
In under a decade, Social Media has become a mainstream channel for consumers. My colleague Anna Lee and I have complied some stats to sway you, and we’ve also shared the below article with Online Marketing Institute as well. We would love to hear your feedback and experiences, please leave a comment below or tweet us @marissapick or @annaleenyc.
As marketers, we must embrace the change and explore this new & exciting channel for communication with our customers. Simply put, if you’re not embracing social media, you’re missing out.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”- George Bernard Shaw [Tweet This]
For some, this change can be overwhelming, time consuming, fast paced and scary. Whilst it’s true that you must invest in this change, with the same time and care you invest in traditional marketing channels, the bottom line we often overlook is simplicity.
Social media is simply a new channel for communication with your audience that ultimately can compliment your existing marketing mix. It’s a place to listen, to learn, to inform, to help and to engage.
The exact same principles you apply to more traditional channels apply to Social Media too.
Send the right message, to the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
Marketing 101, right?
The Right Message
Earn the attention of your audience. Provide valuable content. Be Helpful. Solve Problems. Engage.
The Right People
Social Media is not a mass marketing channel. In fact, I can’t think of one that is. Use hashtags, targeted ads and social media tools to laser in on your audience. Think your audience isn’t on social media? Think again.
The Right Place
You don’t have to be on all Social Media channels, but you do have to be where your audience is.
The Right Time
Is your brand prepared to be spontaneous? Be timely. Respond quickly. Leverage trends and current affairs.
Make sure your brand is ready to send the right message, to the right people, in the right place, at the right time. Our audience is embracing social media. Are you?
- A Day in the Life of a Busy Social Media Marketer [infographic] (marissapick.com)
- Nielsen Includes Twitter in TV Ratings: Impact on Social Media Marketing (hubshout.com)
- 5 reasons white label social media works (hubshout.com)
- The Next Frontiers in Social Media (grasshopper.com)