Marketing automation as we know it has been around for about a decade. Yet despite this, only 49% of companies on average are using the technology, and 85% of B2B marketer believe they’re not using it to its full potential.
Type “marketing automation” into your search engine and you will come across not only a plethora of marketing automation tools (the recent MarTech marketing technology landscape supergraphic shows almost 7000 different solutions), but also countless numbers of articles, blog posts, whitepapers and infographics on what it is, why you need it, and how to start using it. Heck, it may even be how you came across this article.
But despite being told of its many benefits, and shown some impressive stats on its efficacy (like that businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience as much as a 451% increase in qualified leads), you either haven’t implemented it, you’re floundering with the tech you have, or you need guidance on ‘what now’ to take full advantage of it and see those impressive results realised for yourself.
So, today – instead of giving you a listicle on how marketing automation will benefit your company and improve your marketing - we’re going to go over creating an effective marketing automation strategy. And why this may be the missing link to your success.
Qrious and Marketing Automation Strategy
At Qrious we’re big on strategy as a driving tool for successful marketing automation programmes. In fact, our Marketing Automation Consultants (or MACs) are the dream team for helping clients with their strategic planning, and ensuring they take full advantage of our marketing automation platform.
The key? A step-by-step approach that identifies pain points, opportunities and objectives. This then drives recommendations for best-practice programme design and implementation, as well as a robust review and optimisation process. Because despite what many people think when it comes to marketing automation – it’s not set and forget.
The approach includes five integral steps:
A discovery process
This includes looking at current marketing practices, the needs of the customers, and the available actionable data.
Best practice programme design
Ongoing review and optimisation
As you can see from the diagram, it’s not a single, linear process, but ongoing. New opportunities are continuously identified, investigated, and implemented as both your business and/or customer needs change.
The Missing Link
When looking at other resources on developing marketing automation strategies, what seems to be missing is the idea of moving from a campaign approach to a programme approach.
A campaign is typically focused on an event or an asset, and is time specific. Meanwhile, a programme is designed to be ongoing and ‘always on.’
Examples include lead nurture or on boarding programmes, which are an automated series of communications designed to nurture and inform. On a wider scale, it constitutes what’s referred to as ‘lifecycle’ marketing, where marketing messages are triggered based on events, or the behaviour of customers, and tend to be hyper personalised.
Your Marketing Automation Roadmap
So how do you know what to send, when to send it, and which channel to send it through?
Developing a roadmap is the key to helping you get the most out of your platform and gain a high ROMI.
A simple way to formulate this is: what are you trying to say, who are you trying to say it to – and do they want to hear what you have to say - and how are you going to say it to them.
You can then look at whether it fits into the wider business objective and drive revenue, what data or content you have / need to drive these messages, and whether these can be automated.
And don’t forget that this automation doesn’t need to be limited just to email. Utilise TXT, push notifications, and even social to communicate with your contacts in more engaging and innovative ways.
The Low Hanging Fruit
Also known as quick wins.
As mentioned earlier one of the big hurdles is knowing where to start. Marketing automation is huge and the opportunities to use it are endless – but not all are relevant to you, your customers, or accessible for you at this time.
This is where you get to ask yourself questions like:
What data do I have on my customers?
What relevant content could I send them?
Are there processes that are currently completed manually that could be automated?
We encourage our clients to take an agile approach: prioritising the programmes that deliver value fast, and ongoing testing, learning and optimisation. The key is to start small to find out what works and then build on and improve your programmes. This allows you to quickly adapt and grow your marketing efforts, and also means you haven’t invested a lot of time and money on something that isn’t delivering results.
Consumers now expect that the marketing they’re sent is tailored and relevant to their behaviours and preferences. They’re disengaging from generic promotional communications – unless they’re already highly engaged with the brand or product.
A marketing automation strategy which is heavily based on customer data and behaviour gives you a higher chance for cut through, engagement, and building a loyal customer base.