8 Components to a Strong Marketing Automation Program

If your marketing plan doesn’t measure accountability and a closed-loop delivery system, your program and your results are incomplete. Web-enabled marketing automation is a relatively new methodology that allows marketers to integrate various elements of a marketing program into...

If your marketing plan doesn’t include the tracking and measurement of campaign results, as well as accountability and a closed-loop delivery system, your program and your results are incomplete.

Web-enabled marketing automation is a relatively new methodology that allows marketers to integrate various elements of a marketing program into one synchronized, consistent automation program. A well-designed, well-implemented marketing automation program yields real benefits, allowing you to:

  • better manage demand generation
  • improve sales funnel management
  • deliver tailored, 1:1 messages to specific customer segments
  • track real-time marketing ROI

Marketing automation can be compared to CRM and sales automation tools like Salesforce.com, SAP, and others. As marketing-focused systems emerge, many B2B companies have attempted “a toe dip in the shallow end” strategy. While this has yielded some positive results, full integration among the disparate functional parts has been tough to attain.

It’s like buying a car one part at a time and trying to drive it without the critical piece…like the wheels or the engine.

As a company that implements and manages these platforms, we have been called in on a variety of salvage operations. Many of our customers don’t realize the power of what lies beneath the hood. Rather than leveraging the full breadth of marketing automation power, many clients have been using their software as a basic, manual, mass email blast program. When we are brought in to consult, our clients are thrilled to discover the hot rod features of a system that previously seemed so lifeless. By integrating the right marketing elements into one automation program, everything starts to work together in an end-to-end, closed-loop fashion (think capture to close and deep into loyalty).

Many companies have pieces and parts of this diagram working quite well. But, true velocity really comes to life when parts are integrated and the system begins to hum. It’s a holistic approach to demand generation, with unbelievable insights to your full prospect pipeline. It’s the clean-running sports car versus the pieced-together jalopy.

Let’s dive a bit further in to each of these pieces and see how they fit together:

1. Data Management. Whether your campaign succeeds or falls short, there’s one thing for certain: It begins and ends with your data. With today’s marketing automation technology, you have unprecedented control over your data. Use it to ensure data integrity and segment your data by individual activity, interest, and profile to create breakthrough campaigns.

2. Website Enablement. Your prospects and customers are leaving valuable clues to their interests and readiness to buy. Are you capturing that data and using it to follow up with your segmented customers to convert them to purchase, quicker?

3. Inbound Capture. Take the guessing out of your prospects’ intentions and interests. Gain clear visibility into who they are, what role they play, understand their pain points, and know how you can help. When you know what your prospects are looking for, you can ACT by building a relationship and focusing the conversation with greater precision.

4. External Campaign. Design and message your external communications by customer segment (lead nurturing) to increase your marketing power. Through consistent and relevant contact with your existing customers and prospects, your company establishes an ongoing conversation allowing you to score their every move and determine the hottest, most likely to buy leads. The more they engage in the conversation, the more control you have over the information they receive, increasing the likelihood of conversion to purchase.

5. Content Management. Prospects don’t want to see your sales pitch converted into a brochure, a website, a blog or a webinar. Today’s smart buyers want educational information that helps them learn through the purchasing continuum of awareness, consideration, preference and purchase. Effective content is crisp, targeted and educational. The goal of a solid content strategy is more about establishing thought leadership related to the product and service areas that your company represents. Quality, educational content does not just happen. Nearly 70 percent of traditional marketing materials describe how a product works, rather than what it can do for your known customer needs.

6. Lead Scoring. How can you differentiate the leads that are simply browsing vs. those who are ready to buy? Use automated lead scoring processes to pinpoint hot leads faster. Using scoring methods that track demographics, BANT attributes and behavioral data, you will see who is ready to buy, and who can benefit from a more focused conversation.

7. Sales Integration. Your sales and marketing teams have the same goal: drive revenue. Isn’t it time they worked together to meet this goal? Today’s marketing automation solutions make it easier for them to collaborate, providing valuable insights to your company’s sales pipeline, leveraging most CRM systems, such as Salesforce.com, SAP and others.

8. Measurement Reporting and Analytics. With marketing automation your company can achieve deep insight into the entire lifecycle of your prospects,  from awareness to consideration to purchase. What’s more, your sales and marketing power becomes a well-oiled machine, using data to strengthen customer relationships and to improve campaign effectiveness in real time.

As you can see, closed-loop relationship marketing is a click away…and it’s time for your company to join forces with a very powerful opportunity. While implementing pieces or parts effectively may move your sales and marketing meter upward, the power of a fully integrated program is a no-brainer. If your marketing automation program doesn’t deliver this type of program today, you’re driving below the speed limit.

Consider cranking up the throttle to something more than pieces and parts. The true benefit of marketing automation is through smart, strategic integration.

See how we create, implement, and optimize marketing automation projects and schedule a demo today!

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