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Marketing Automation Made Easy? 5 Key Steps for Successful Marketing Automation

As marketing channels and platforms continue to proliferate, the need to organize and automate inbound marketing campaigns has taken on a new urgency for many of our clients, both large and small. Furthermore, smaller sales forces and increasing numbers of “no see” customers have made it increasingly difficult to break through today’s overall communications clutter using traditional outbound marketing and advertising.

In this challenging environment, marketing automation is often seen as a potential panacea for building market presence and ultimately gaining sales traction. However, it’s not always clear what the overall benefits of marketing automation are, and the best steps for implementation. In order to help you cut through the clutter and get the most out of your marketing investment, here are five key steps for successfully implementing marketing automation in your organization.

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1). Stay Focused on the Actual Customer Journey
At the highest level, marketing automation is a systematic process that nurtures your leads through the entire buying process by delivering targeted, personalized messages. Over time, these targeted messages should help reduce barriers to purchase and lead to conversion. At least that’s the theory! In reality, many marketing automation efforts fail because they don’t truly understand the customer journey from consideration all the way to purchase. Not only is it important to create customer journey maps, but your definition of the customer journey needs to be based on research and observational feedback, not on intuition or assumptions. The more true and accurate your understanding of the customer journey is at the beginning of your marketing automation efforts, the stronger foundation you will have for success.

2). Use Marketing Data to Get Closer to Your Customers
You cannot successfully implement marketing automation without a deep commitment to becoming a data-driven marketing organization. Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, recently explained that Under Armour has become a “math house.”  “A math house uses data to shorten the distance between a brand and consumers.” Not only does being data-driven require a different mindset for getting closer to the customer, it also requires that you be prepared to change direction based on new data. If you aren’t ready to change your marketing approach based on new information, then all your hard won and valuable market insights gleaned from automation will be useless.

3). Don’t Ignore Customers that Are Targeting You!
While there is a great deal of power in orchestrating and streamlining all of your messaging and content, one of the biggest benefits of marketing automation is often overlooked – namely, the ability to see which customers are actively pursuing you rather than the other way around. It’s very easy for teams to become so focused on the results of their own messaging that they miss people who are reaching out to them, visiting properties, and working their way down the funnel on their own motivation. Keep your ears open, and use your marketing automation platform as a listening device to hear the “weak signals” from what might potentially be very interested leads. Don’t ignore prospects knocking on your own door!

4). Feed the Beast, and Nurture the Leads
The technology and engineering behind today’s marketing automation platforms requires that you find skilled team members who can master all the nuances and power of the system in order to launch and maintain your campaigns. At the same time, it’s critical to remember that at the other end of the whole process are actual human beings who typically don’t respond well to robotic sounding copy and impersonal bludgeoning from ceaseless messaging. In other words, don’t get so caught up in your automation flow charts that you lose focus on what customers actually respond to. For example, after creating a great lead nurture flow, don’t make customers fill out endless forms, or plan for them to plow through endless and confusing amounts of content. They won’t do it! Start slow, and provide little bits of information one step at a time. Customer relationships, like any other relationship, take time and understanding, and all the automation in the world cannot change that.

5). Marketing Automation Takes a Village: People, Process, Plan, Platform, and Sales
The reality is that successful marketing automation requires a range of distinct skillsets, technologies, project planning, content specialists, and far-reaching coordination across many parts of the organization. Simply buying a platform and turning it on does not mean you will be doing marketing automation. To be successful, you will need to look very broadly at all of your various marketing components, content, and stakeholders and orchestrate them in an ongoing customer-focused process. It takes sustained effort to put this type of system in place, but once you have succeeded, it will become an enduring asset that generates ongoing results for you and your organization.

 

Conclusion
Remember, marketing automation is not an end in itself! The goal of marketing automation is to help you more efficiently and effectively serve customers with valuable information while also providing you with a much clearer, data-driven picture of their actual market needs and preferences. To recap, the 5 Key Steps for Successful Marketing Automation are:

1). Stay Focused on the Actual Customer Journey
2). Use Marketing Data to Get Closer to Your Customers
3). Don’t Ignore Customers that Are Targeting You!
4). Feed the Beast, and Nurture the Leads
5). Marketing Automation Takes a Village: People, Process, Plan, Platform, and Sales

If you have questions, or found this article helpful, please reach out and let me know.

 

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Chris Mycek

Chris Mycek

Having worked on both the client and agency sides, Chris is recognized as an expert in his field. His experience in developing category-leading brands within the pharmaceutical, biotech, and consumer healthcare categories has paralleled his ability to integrate new channels and technologies into the marketing mix. When added to the depth of commercial innovation expertise that Cadient has formed across its teams, Chris’ experience and team represent an important bridge to help both existing and future clients achieve unprecedented success.
 
 Chris, along with his team, partner with Cadient’s Commercial Innovation and customer engagement divisions to help life science companies optimize the marketing performance of their brands and marketing initiatives.

Chris Mycek

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