The digital marketing industry is full of trends that come and go. Before 2009, most websites were keyword stuffing their meta descriptions to rank higher in search results, but Google stifled the need for that practice with one update to its algorithm. There was even a time when pop-up advertisements were cool – before they morphed into a ridiculous game with a catchy song.
The latest trend in digital marketing is marketing automation, but honestly, we’d be lying if we called it a trend because marketing automation is not going anywhere. This life-saving software changed the way digital marketers connect with audiences, run digital ads and compete in the search engine optimisation (SEO) game.
According to SiriusDecisions’ B-to-B Marketing Automation study done in 2014, there are now 11 times as many companies using marketing automation since 2011, when it first became popular. As more companies are expected to utilize marketing automation software, it is safe to say that this trend isn’t going anywhere.
Need a reason why you should use marketing automation?
We’ll give you five. Here are five solid reasons why your company should be using marketing automation right now.
Applicable to All Company Sizes
Whether you have a marketing team of one or multiple people at your command, marketing automation can make any team more efficient. The software holds all marketing essentials in one place, which means your team won’t have to bounce around between different programs in order to get work done.
With marketing automation software, you can easily clone certain programs, such as landing pages and emails, so you don’t have to start at the beginning every single time you want to launch a new program. This saves your team time and makes it easier to streamline operations.
To really help out smaller marketing teams, marketing automation makes it easier for one person to do the work of many. Aberdeen Group did a study in 2014 (“State of Marketing Automation 2014: Processes that Produce”) and asked marketers currently using marketing automation what they saw as the biggest benefit, and 36 percent said that having the ability to schedule repetitive tasks and focus more on new prospects was by far the biggest asset.
Marketing departments are a notorious grey area. If you take out an ad on a billboard over a highway, can you tell how many of your sales came from that billboard? Can you say how much revenue was generated from a single email marketing campaign? In most instances, the answer is no.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of marketing automation is its ability to analyse metrics and condense them into an easily-readable report that can be translated to ROI reports. Most marketing automation software will track costs per lead, pipeline value, click-through rate and the highly-coveted conversion rate.
In a study done by Marketo & Ascend 2 called “Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success,” 70 percent of those who called themselves very successful marketing automation users said that they valued the ability to track conversion rates above all.
Because marketers can show the concrete benefits of marketing automation with the metrics it provides, marketing budgets have been able to maintain their budgets and sometimes even increase them. A study by Pepper Global, called “B2B Marketing Automation Report 2014,” found that of those polled B2B marketers using marketing automation, 48 percent saw their budgets staying the same while 41 percent saw an increase in their budgets.
Improve Lead Quality
Your marketing department’s main goal is to gather leads, prepare them for sales and eventually pass them through the funnel. Marketing automation makes this complicated process much easier. In the Pepper Global study mentioned above, marketers said that by far, the number one benefit of marketing automation was its ability to generate more leads and, better yet, more qualified leads.
Marketing automation provides enough data to accurate score each lead that comes through the pipeline. Using a scoring based on the actions and behaviours of leads, marketers can see how likely a lead is to buy and see what can be done to nurture that lead. This makes it easy to pass on the strongest leads while nurturing the less qualified leads so that they are soon considered ready to buy.
Creates Personal Communication
Most marketers will tell you that one of the hardest things about marketing is showing sincerity, especially with so many leads. There is no way to send out a customised email to everyone on your emailing list, but sometimes there is no way to avoid sending emails and other promotions that are poorly timed or impersonal or even worse – irrelevant to the consumer’s needs.
With marketing automation, marketers can schedule emails and other promotions to fit in line with their consumers’ schedules, even if those schedules are for people in different time zones. As so many tasks can be done in advance (see “State of Marketing Automation 2014: Processes that Produce” above), marketers can send out larger emails while still having the time to focus on more niche messages for different demographics.
How do you humanize your marketing automation process? Check this three step plan!
Easy Cross-Channel Promotion
Social media, email, direct mail – they’re all different channels with different login pages and designs. What if there was a way to bring all of them together?
This is what marketing automation does. Marketers can coordinate larger campaigns across multiple channels so they can be sure that a demographic on any platform will be able to receive the message. The message itself will remain consistent, no matter what channel a marketer is using.
Marketing automation does so much more than just send a few emails. It’s a multi-functional software that can better illustrate just how essential your marketing team is. If you think marketing automation is for you, check out services from Marketo, Oracle or Adobe Audiencemanager. You won’t believe just how much your business can grow until you see it for yourself.
Mike Bird is CEO of Australian revenue performance management agency, Social Garden. His specialties include data-driven lead generation and enterprise marketing automation.