What is marketing automation?
All organizations have the same desire: higher revenue and faster growth at a lower cost. But many companies struggle to align their people, processes, and technology to achieve these goals.
Marketing automation solves this problem. It enables companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster. This category of software tech is designed to allow organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels and automate repetitive tasks. Marketing automation enables many modern marketing practices, including lead generation, segmentation, lead nurturing and scoring, relationship marketing, cross-sell and upsell, retention, return on investment (ROI) measurement, and account-based marketing.
According to marketing expert John McTigue, without the use of marketing automation, you are just guessing and hoping that people will take the bait and be ready to buy your products. “Statistics show that buyers don’t do that,” he says. “They want to learn at their own pace and be reached when they need more information or are ready to buy. A well-constructed marketing automation strategy makes that a reality.”
Marketing automation is one of the fastest-growing technologies out there, according to Forrester’s Marketing Automation Technology Forecast, 2017 to 2023. Initially used for large enterprises, marketing automation tools have become more prevalent and scalable for small and mid-sized businesses. No wonder marketing automation is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.
Marketing automation technology is expected to show a 14% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years. The highest growth for “through-channel marketing automation” platforms will reach 25% annually, with “lead-to-revenue automation” platforms at 19.4%.
Common problems that automation can solve
Many marketers today are overworked, dealing with issues like being unable to track engagement and chasing unqualified leads, just to name a few. Automation can assist by helping you scale your programs, delivering more personalized and targeted communications, aligning with sales, and measuring effectiveness. Below are some common problems that marketing automation can help solve.
- Problem: I need to do more with less. In a fast-paced digital environment, marketers feel pressure to do more with less: They need to generate more leads, grow revenue, and close deals faster. Once one program is finished, another follows immediately. Marketing automation frees up marketers’ busy schedules with automated tasks, so they can focus on more strategic work and let the software do the rest to manage leads.
- Problem: I don’t have a way to track or optimize user engagement. Tracking user engagement is essential, and marketing automation allows you to capture, track, manage, and score leads coming in the funnel environment for the creation, management, and automation of marketing processes and conversations across online and offline channels. With this in place, you’ll be able to better optimize your programs and better demonstrate the ROI of your efforts. Utilize retargeting and recirculation to optimize engagement and connect with the buyer. Marketing automation provides an easier way to provide the right content to the right person on the right platform, where they are open to engaging with you. MarketingSherpa says 68% of B2B companies will use landing pages to nurture new sales leads for future conversion.
- Problem: My leads aren’t converting, or I have a leaky sales funnel. 61% of B2B marketers say that generating high-quality leads is their biggest challenge, according to the B2B Technology Marketing Community. Dealing with leads that aren’t converting or a leaky sales funnel is frustrating, but can be fixed. Marketing automation allows you to nurture prospects with relevant and useful information across multiple channels until they are ready to buy. Done well, nurturing can result in 50% more sales leads at 33% lower cost per lead.
- Problem: My leads aren’t qualified. Marketers can’t focus on just top-of-funnel lead generation and awareness-building strategies—they also need to make sure these leads are a good fit for the company. There’s no point in increasing lead generation if the leads have no possibility of converting to sales. Marketing automation helps you better understand your prospects and buyers. You will be able to personalize each individual buyer’s journey from the first touch to the sale and beyond, with marketing data and analytics, lead nurturing, and lead scoring capabilities.
- Problem: I’m experiencing marketing inefficiencies and tech gaps. If you are experiencing marketing inefficiencies, marketing automation can help. By automating certain manual workflows, your staff is free to focus on more strategic work that will help to improve overall processes, innovate marketing campaigns, and boost the bottom line. The automation of marketing communications like email and mobile makes sending targeted messaging quick and simple. With buyer personas, you can ensure you deliver personalized messaging at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Learn more about the Top 10 Reasons to Consider Marketing Automation.Download Now
Components of marketing automation
Marketing automation has many useful features and capabilities that allow marketers to deliver results that prove ROI, including:
A central marketing database: A place for all your marketing data, such as detailed prospect and customer interactions and behaviors. You can segment and target the right message to each customer. Think of this as a “system of record” for all your marketing information.
An engagement marketing engine: An environment for the creation, management, and automation of marketing processes and conversations across online and offline channels. Think of this as the “orchestra conductor” for your customer interactions.
An analytics engine: A way to test, measure, and optimize marketing ROI and impact on revenue. Think of this as the place you go to understand what worked, what didn’t, and where you can improve.
A MarTech stack: A collection of all of the effective, collaborative, and scalable marketing applications that you need to help you achieve your goals. Think of this as the main place where you can use tech to stay connected to your buyers and deliver marketing-sales alignment.
Learn more about what marketing automation can offer in our Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation.Download Now
ROI of a successful marketing automation program [Evaluation]
The ROI of marketing automation is clear. It allows organizations to save money and time, reduce marketing resourcing efforts, and grow revenue efficiently.
- Marketing automation optimizes marketing investments. Reduce administrative overhead to a savings of 3.4% (on average), with most companies saving between 1.5% and 5.2%.
- Marketing automation contributes to faster revenue growth. Companies that implement this kind of lead scoring enjoy 28% better sales productivity and 33% higher revenue growth than companies without lead scoring.
- Marketing automation saves money and time. Done well, nurturing can result in 50% more sales leads at 33% lower cost per lead.
Learn more about how marketing automation contributes to the bottom line in our Buyer's Guide to Marketing Automation.Download Now
Planning, implementing, and optimizing your marketing automation program [Decision]
To get started, you need to think about your goals and how you will achieve them. Determine what you want marketing automation help you do. Getting your marketing automation going can be achieved in three steps:
Step 1: Plan. If you can lay out exactly what you’re looking for and what you’re trying to accomplish, it will be easier for you and your stakeholders to evaluate and select an automation platform. Make a list of needs and wants and see which solution matches the most essential criteria. Ensure cross-functional alignment—sales and marketing need to work together in order to deliver results.
Step 2: Implement. Once you have chosen the platform, figure out who on the team needs to use the system and have them trained accordingly. Someone needs to be the owner of the technology and the point person for questions.The right marketing automation solution helps unite all the people, tools, and processes on your marketing and sales teams. To that end, it should be a solution that integrates your CRM system, lead scoring, sales insights, and cross-department workflows. Once the marketing automation is up and running, check in frequently to ensure it’s working as desired.
Step 3: Measure. Reporting and analytics help you prove the impact of your marketing efforts, making sure you measure all necessary data, account engagement, and the combined impact of sales and marketing activity. Understand which key performance indicators (KPIs) are the most important to track, and which areas of marketing provide the best ROI.
Step 4: Optimize. Once data and KPIs start coming in, you will have the opportunity to optimize for better results. When you are able to spread the revenue over multiple activities, you know which marketing activities are effective for top of the funnel versus bottom of the funnel. For example, you could determine that trade shows are great for getting leads, whereas webinars are more effective for pushing leads through the funnel. Without multi-touch attribution, it’s hard to learn this information, and your campaigns may not be as successful. You should know your audience and what works for them.
Learn more about how to get marketing automation working for you here: https://www.marketo.com/worksheets/your-marketing-automation-checklist/.