More Than Automating Emails For Marketing Automation

If there was a Marketing Automation soiree, I’d be the host. As a marketing automation consultant and a marketing technologist at heart, I work with technology all day, every day. Although marketing automation platforms (MAP) are not new as of 2016, most of us have been a part of a team or company that does not utilize MAPs to their fullest potential. The platforms today can enable just about any marketing task, including automation.

A web search on marketing automation shows phrases such as “market on multiple channels online,” “automate repetitive tasks,” “increase operational efficiency” and “grow revenue” for some of the functionality and even “associated marketing automation capabilities.” Those terms cover many different aspects of marketing and clearly, marketing automation is more than just automating email sends.

What should marketers think about in terms of the next-level benefits of marketing automation? It’s more than automation, but how much more?

Do More With Less [resources]:
Some teams have 20 plus people working in marketing automation, while others have two people who do absolutely amazing work and get nominated for awards. The beauty of a marketing automation platform is that you’re able to do more with less resources (although an extra headcount never hurts). Each platform is ever-evolving, releasing new functionality and features to address the needs of marketers to better serve our buyers. If you train the right people on your team to master basic marketing automation functionality, you can support almost any Demand Generation Strategy, no matter the size of your team.

Automate Processes:
It doesn’t have “automation” in the name for nothing. To some, it’s a double-edged sword (you can easily automate the wrong things as well as the right things) but there are many programs that can be crafted, turned on, and maintained via the automated capabilities of marketing automation that are hugely beneficial. Think of database standardization, lead scoring, progressive profiling, actions triggered from form submits, multi-touch programs; these are some basic examples of things that can be easily be automated, maintained and optimized for peak performance via marketing automation.

Marketing Driven Revenue:
All marketers want to prove ROI and tie their programs to revenue. However, most marketing automation platforms deliver canned reports that need at least a little customization to really illustrate marketing ROI. Before attempting reporting on ROI, ensure that your MAP is enabled to fully support your Demand Generation Strategy goals and objectives.

This means spending time with marketing, sales and technology teams defining processes, aligning the people, process, technology, content and data around the buyer’s needs. When that is in place, reporting becomes an output of MAP and can help illustrate the effectiveness or deficiencies in your programs. With the reports and data, marketers can identify which areas or channels may need optimization or need to be removed, and shows the marketing contribution to revenue across all marketing and sales initiatives.

Targeting:
Right place right time is often the catch phrase for marketing automation. Once you have your strategy established, and your buyer personas identified, you can technically set up your MAP to identify who is engaging with your organization, where they are in their buyer journey, and what type of information to deliver to them next to guide them down the correct path. Progressive profiling is one way to add sophistication to your targeting and help deliver a more relevant experience for your buyer. The more you can learn about your buyer, the better you can help them because the last thing anyone wants to receive information that isn’t relevant.

Modern marketing is an art and a science and it has a lot of moving parts. With the right strategy in place, marketers can use a marketing automation platform to drive perpetual demand for an organization. Marketing automation is a powerful tool, but automation isn’t its only advantage. It’s much more than that when fully integrated to support a solid Demand Generation Strategy.

Author: Kathleen Hoehn @KathleenHoehn  Marketing Automation Consultant, ANNUITAS