In a recent post we discussed marketing automation—what it is and who needs it. If your organization is considering marketing automation, make sure your solution includes these five essential capabilities that are considered the DNA of marketing automation.
1. Aggregate Information
Marketers collect data from all over the place: websites, social channels, e-mails, registrations, chats, call centers, and more. The challenge is making use of this data by turning it into actionable information. Your marketing automation solution must be able to aggregate information in a way that allows you to segment your customers and prospects into targeted groups based on their actions and defined criteria that fit your business purposes. The path to marketing automation success starts with data and how it is used. Optimally aggregated information leads to more targeted campaigns, accurate lead scoring, and relevant lead nurturing.
2. Automate Repetitive Tasks
Marketing automation allows you to avoid performing routine or repetitive tasks from the ground up each time. Think of how much energy and time you can save if you can automate the sending of a drip campaign to a prospect list: all you need to do is determine the content and create the schedule. Or automatically score prospects and customers based on their online actions, and automatically send response emails when they take a specific action. Or even automatically assign prospects to marketing or sales based on pre-defined rules, such as prospect activity, geography, or other specified criteria. The list goes on.
3. Measure Goals & Objectives
For any campaign, your marketing automation solution should allow you to establish goals and objectives, and define the metrics that will measure how well you meet those goals. For example: number of downloads of your white paper. Number of registrations for your Webinar. Likes on your Facebook status. Comments on your blog post. Re-tweets. Because marketing automation offers tracking tools, you are able to continually make improvements to the way you conceive and execute marketing campaigns. You can see why it’s on the must-have list.
4. Streamline and manage marketing operations
Sales Force Automation, Enterprise Resource Planning, Business Intelligence—why has marketing been left out of the productivity loop for so long? Not anymore. Marketing automation solutions offer functions that allow you to build budgets, track spending, gain approvals, calculate ROI and others essential tasks inherent to managing the operations of a marketing organization.
5. Seamlessly Integrate
No department in your organization operates in a silo, and no executive would sign off on an important software purchase that stands isolated. Look for a cloud-based marketing automation solution with open APIs that easily integrates with the applications used in other divisions of your organization, such as sales, customer support, finance, operations, and others. You will not only facilitate collaboration among departments, but also foster a greater understanding throughout your organization of the importance and value of marketing’s contributions to the company’s growth and bottom line. Must-have indeed.