More and more companies are deploying marketing automation. Should yours? The need has never been greater. Campaigns cross multiple channels, customers learn about products and companies in a variety of ways including social media, marketers face pressure to track results and demonstrate ROI—marketing is a lot more complex in the digital age. Therefore: marketing automation.
Marketing automation is a process and engine by which all aspects of marketing are integrated, allowing you to automate repetitive or routine tasks, prioritize and manage leads, collaborate across departments in real time, and create and execute data-driven campaigns. While lead management is an integral part of marketing automation, most solutions include functions for strategy development, budgeting, content creation, approvals, digital campaign management, and analytics.
Successful marketing automation also establishes communication channels and workflow with sales, executives, IT and other stakeholders so that the organization can act as one, leveraging lead data, campaign collateral and coordinated scheduling to drive sales.
Another often misunderstood aspect of marketing automation is that it’s only for big companies. In fact, the largest growth area for marketing automation is with smaller and medium sized businesses, and many vendors create solutions specifically targeted to this market sector. In addition, cloud-based solutions offer practical, elegant, and cost-effective deployment options for companies of any size.
So does your company need a marketing automation solution? Your organization is a good candidate for marketing automation if you would like to achieve these goals:
- Gain efficiencies—many tasks once performed manually can be streamlined or automated, such as defining campaigns, pulling lists, creating messages and content, scheduling outreach, aggregating data, alerting reps, and analyzing results. Marketers can now spend more time on strategy and less time on routine tasks.
- Integrate departments—marketing automation tears down the silos that often exist between sales and marketing departments. Data on customers and prospects is seamlessly shared between marketing and sales, along with information on campaigns, new collateral and more. Prospect scoring and prioritization systems ensure that only sales-ready leads are passed to sales reps, who can also be notified in real time of prospect or customer activity. Approvals and budgeting issues get into the right hands.
- Increase accountability—Determining ROI is easier with a central dashboard and advanced reporting that allow marketers to continuously calculate resources invested, track campaign results, and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) in one central location. A trail of activities such as email transcripts can be stored and tied to the marketer, sales rep, and prospect involved, giving managers information they need regarding quality and performance.
- Maintain marketing consistency—Templates for collateral, landing pages, and email messages ensure consistency in marketing and preserve brand integrity by enabling users to adhere to corporate guidelines. Approved graphics and logos are always on hand.
- Optimize the use of data—one of the biggest challenges marketers face today is optimizing the use of all the data they collect from customers and prospects—via social, websites and search engines. Marketing automation allows you to aggregate data and initiate rules-based actions to respond faster and smarter to customers and prospects, helping to increase sales.
2013 is just around the corner. If any of these goals are on your list for next year, now is the time to consider a cloud-based marketing automation solution.