Marketing has often been tarnished with the stigma of being “fluff.” Until marketing automation came along, marketing programs were executed based on art, gut instinct and limited metrics. We made due with clicks, opens, and projected exposure numbers because that’s what we could get. Boy, have things changed. Constrained budgets have sent up rallying cries across enterprises for every department to do more with less. In addition, we’re all expected to prove our contribution toward helping the company meet objectives. But perhaps the biggest change for marketers is that their buyers are now firmly holding them at arm’s length. They’ve taken back control and are choosing to remain elusive as they self-educate and “socialize” their way through the buying process.
The secret sauce to marketing to these now-in-control buyers is through the provision of compelling content. But content alone won’t get us far in the accountability department. Fortunately, marketing automation can help us solve that dilemma by providing insight about how our prospects react to, and engage with, our online content and company presence. With the ability to track, score and respond appropriately to behavior, marketers can now entice prospects to pro-actively engage with their companies.
Marketing automation affords the following improvements to accountability:
- Increased visibility. We can see our database reflected by segments and review dashboards that showcase our marketing programs at the aggregate level. We can now identify patterns and as we review individual campaigns or content for levels of engagement and see trending for our lead scores over time. Improved reporting affords us the ability to improve the decisions we make about how best to market to our leads and develop repeatable processes that produce the desired results.
- Intelligence at the individual prospect level. With the ability to drill down into individual accounts when a trigger event happens or a score is incremented appreciably, we now have the insights we need to build deeper relationships. We can use progressive profiling techniques to increase the quality of our leads as well as our insights. If activity falls off, we can either reach out to correct it, or know to direct our attention to other, more interested leads.
- Tuning on the fly. With the visibility and intelligence from the above two factors, we also have the ability to react in near real time to improve our content, nurturing sequences or messaging while a campaign is in progress. There’s no more waiting until after the total program has been executed in order to evaluate its success.
- Holistic integration with CRM. The ability to push prospect information to the sales side through integration with CRM helps to streamline how leads progress through the entire buying process. Not only can the system automatically move a lead to the CRM when the appropriate score is triggered, but a salesperson can return the lead to nurturing should that reaction be premature. The ultimate benefit of this type of closed-loop feedback is being able to track leads through to the purchase, thereby proving marketing’s contribution to downstream revenues.
When getting your budget approved is based on accountability and contribution to business impact, marketing automation platforms can not only provide proof, but support the strategic processes you rely upon to turn objectives into realities.