Marketing Automation 101: An Overview

What is Marketing Automation?
It seems like there should be a simple, straightforwa...
The Promise and the Reality
The promise of marketing automation is that it will help achieve targeted, highly successful,
...
Marketing Automation Sounds Great. What Can I Do With It?
Email Campaigns
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Email templates
Pre-val...
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Progressive Profiling: Collect new data from prospects every time they fill out a form.
Prospect De-duplicati...
Hubspot: www.hubspot.com
Marketo: www.marketo.com
Eloqua: www.eloqua.com
Act-On: www.act-on.com
Silverpop: www.silverpop.c...
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Marketing Automation 101

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If your company is considering investing in a marketing automation system but you're not sure where to start, this article will give you a top level view of some key functions, opportunities and questions to ask . It can also prepare you for a client meeting when digital, social, mobile and email marketing will be discussed. It can also provide tips to help get your marketing automation research rolling.

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Marketing Automation 101

  1. 1. Marketing Automation 101: An Overview What is Marketing Automation? It seems like there should be a simple, straightforward answer to this question, but alas, that is not really the case. A Google search on “what is marketing automation?” yields a plethora of hits, most from the big marketing automation software companies. Each tends to answer the question based on their products and services. Essentially, marketing automation is about using software to automate certain marketing processes, such as customer segmentation, lead management, list segmentation and campaign management. It is a tool, a support technology and a potential productivity enhancer. Marketing automation software also serves to collect data on prospects and customers. The software uses some of this collected data to trigger processes such as automatically sending targeted emails. The data can also be extracted into reports, and these kinds of reports are far more useful when data across many marketing tactics and channels is consolidated by the marketing automation software. In addition, marketing automation software consolidates many tools into one program, which can be integrated with other enterprise software packages, including CRM systems. In fact, marketing automation is often considered a subset of CRM. Marketing automation can integrate email marketing, search marketing, lead generation, social campaigns, CRM and web analytics into one system. Lead generation efforts such as paid search campaigns, display advertisements, landing pages, web forms, email campaigns and more can be monitored through a single interface and data can be accessed with a few clicks. So marketing automation is a software tool for sales and marketing that allows automation of processes; it yields data on prospects, customers and campaign effectiveness; and it integrates many tools into one. Sounds perfect, right? Marketing Automation 101 by Sharon Moore, 2014  1 
  2. 2. The Promise and the Reality The promise of marketing automation is that it will help achieve targeted, highly successful, data-based marketing that will generate leads, convert leads to customers, build loyalty, decrease sales cycles, increase revenue, and decrease the cost of sales. However, the promise is frequently not achieved. According to G2 Crowd survey findings, only 55% of marketing automation users rate themselves as proponents, while 29% are neutral and 15% are detractors. A common issue for buyers of marketing automation software programs is that they rarely use the full system – never setting it up fully, using all of the features or fully integrating it into other enterprise systems. Of course, this a common issue with many enterprise software systems, which overwhelm users with complexity and too many features. Another issue is that results derived from marketing automation systems may not justify the expenditure of both time and money involved. The Ascend2 and Reach Partners Inbound Marketing Strategy Report, 2013 found that blogging and SEO are both easier and more effective than marketing automation. Evaluating the Marketing Automation Investment Question: Do you currently have sufficient leads and traffic to need automating? If not, you will not derive much return on your investment. Question: Are you augmenting light organic traffic and leads with list buying? If so, you will likely be dissatisfied with results because you will be marketing to cold leads and your email campaigns could easily be perceived as spam by recipients who have not opted in.. Question: How many of the features in the marketing automation program are you really likely to set up, learn to use and integrate into your existing sales and marketing processes? Studies by Holger Schulze, Aberdeen, Winsper and Gleanster show that many marketers are only implementing basic email functions in the marketing automatic software programs purchased. Question: Do you have the leads you need to generate your target revenue today? If not, how will you generate those leads? Marketing automation software canʼt deliver revenue if you donʼt have the leads to focus your marketing efforts on, so if your content marketing and other lead generation tactics arenʼt delivering yet, automation isnʼt needed.
  3. 3. Marketing Automation Sounds Great. What Can I Do With It? Email Campaigns • • • • • • • • • • • • Email templates Pre-validation: HTML, image, links Email Preview: How your emails will render across different browsers and devices. Offer Optimization: Tailor promotions to data gathered on prospect. Certified Email IP: Get your email IP address certified by 3rd party. Email Release Scheduling A/B Testing: Compare two different variables, such as email templates and subject lines, and see which is more successful. Blacklist Monitoring: Find blacklisted IP addresses and remove them from your list of sending IPs. Delivery Tracking: Notification when emails are delivered to recipients and when they are opened. Drip Email Marketing: Send automated messages to a set of recipients based on their preferences, needs and interests. Spam Analysis: Conduct spam analysis on your emails before sending them. Triggered Emails: Assign certain data-driven conditions that cause real-time email is sent to the person with the appropriate message. Campaign Management • • • • • • • • • • • • • Blogging Tool: Create and post blogs. Campaign Diagram: Create a flowchart of your campaign. Landing Pages: Templates and page creation. Mobile Alerts: Real-time alerts and updates sent to mobile devices via email or SMS. Personalized Content: Select fields to personalize. RSS Message Creation SMS Message Creation URL Customization: Customize URLs for your landing pages. Web Form Design: Create forms to collect information about site visitors. Web Form Templates Dynamic Content Creation: Send customized content by selected criteria. Event Scheduling File Hosting: Store and track white papers, images, and other files. Lead Management • • • • Behavioral Scoring: Assign positive/negative score to prospects based on designated behaviors (e.g. opened emails, viewed webinars). Custom Scoring: Set your own parameters, for instance page views, form submissions, email clicks, etc. Demographic Scoring: Assign positive/negative scores to prospects based on relevant demographics: location, business size, industry, etc. Product-based Scoring: Assign positive or negative scores to prospects based on the number of times they have viewed your product. Marketing Automation 101 by Sharon Moore, 2014  3 
  4. 4. • • • • • • Progressive Profiling: Collect new data from prospects every time they fill out a form. Prospect De-duplication: Check email addresses, phone numbers, or mailing addresses to eliminate duplicates in your database. Prospect Routing: Automatically route prospects to a sales representative based on preset qualifiers. Prospect Segmentation: Categorize prospects by geographic location, industry, job title, company size, age, etc. Time-based Degradation: Deduct points from prospects who have not recently visited your website. Trigger-based Actions: Trigger messages based on actions prospects take on your website. Social Media Marketing • • • • • • • • Shortened Link Generation Facebook Publishing Poll Voting Referral / Sweepstakes Offers Social Post Scheduling and Tracking: Schedule posts to appear on multiple Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts and track the results. Social Profile Data: Check for social data about prospects and find their Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles. Social Sharing Widgets: Allow customers and prospects to instantly share your posts or pages with their social networks. Video Sharing Keep in mind that this is by no means a complete and exhaustive list of all functionalities in any given software automation package or platform, and that offerings vary by vendor. At a glance, you can see that software automation offers a veritable treasure trove of tools and options. In addition to the functionalities covered here, marketing automation software also collects and reports data from your website. Of course there are tools, such as Google Analytics and others, that may be sufficient for your needs and can be used for free. In fact, many of the tools bundled into software automation systems are available online for free or at low cost, so it pays to be very clear on what tools you will be using. This is particularly true if managing email marketing is a primary functionality you are interested in for your marketing organization. What Are the Next Steps? You might want to research some of the well-known companies providing marketing automation today. They all have blogs, plenty of content to download and likely webinars you can sign up for and videos to watch. They may also have risk-free trials that would allow you to try things out. Most of all, evaluate if your organization is ready to deploy, integrate, create business processes around and use a complex new software system.
  5. 5. Hubspot: www.hubspot.com Marketo: www.marketo.com Eloqua: www.eloqua.com Act-On: www.act-on.com Silverpop: www.silverpop.com Pardot: www.pardot.com How to Find the Best Marketing Automation Software Marketing Automation User Survey Findings Is Marketing Automation Worth the Hassle? New Data Raises Questions Marketing Automation 101 by Sharon Moore, 2014  5 

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