Even the largest, most experienced, most informed, and well-resourced marketing teams find it difficult to stay ahead of the latest marketing trends and adjust their marketing efforts accordingly. Now, just imagine what it’s like being part of those 1-2 person teams that are simply trying to keep their head above water. If that’s where you stand as a marketer, then you understand what it feels like knowing that something has to change if your organization is to remain competitive, but you might feel like you have very little control or time to do anything about it.
While many articles seem to focus on what you should be doing to enhance your marketing strategy, very few explore the resources available to help you execute these changes without breaking the bank or exhausting your team. With this element missing from the conversation, adopting a different approach and improving your marketing efforts might seem out of reach
However, emerging technologies eliminate traditional barriers to marketing success. Today’s tools are designed to help marketers deliver more targeted campaigns more efficiently using less time and fewer resources. While there are many marketing software options depending on your budget and goals, marketing automation is the one most likely to generate the best return on investment for marketing teams of any size.
The reason marketing automation stands out in the endless sea of marketing technology software is that it enables marketers to do more with less, save money, and generate better results. By investing in marketing automation, companies improve their ability to target their audience, build long-lasting relationships with customers, and equip both their marketing and sales teams with the resources they need to drive conversions.
But that only begins to cover the many ways that marketing automation can drastically enhance your marketing strategy. Keep reading to learn more about how this innovative technology can help you reach your marketing goals.
Improve Your Ability to Meet Your Customers Wherever They’re at in the Customer Journey
Have you ever suffered the embarrassment of chiming in on a conversation with an irrelevant comment at an inappropriate time? It’s not fun having a room full of people stare at you like you’re a lunatic, is it?
Unfortunately, this is a situation that marketers experience time and time again in an effort to get their customers the information they need. When you have a billion customers, all at different stages in the funnel, it can be overwhelming to figure out who needs what and when.
While the obvious workaround is to perform manual segmentation to group customers based on where they’re at in the sales funnel, this process is time-consuming and prone to error. You probably think that segmenting your audience just isn’t worth all the time and effort if you can’t guarantee that you’re going to do it right, but that’s all the more reason to create more effective and accurate processes. Today’s customers expect companies to deliver personalized recommendations at every stage of the buyer journey that inform and educate them about your industry and your products and services. Companies and marketing teams that fail to do this are at a severe disadvantage.
The good thing is that, with marketing automation, the days of spending countless hours segmenting your contacts only to still send some of them the wrong message are over. Features such as lead scoring and website visitor tracking allow you to pinpoint where your customers are in the customer journey and evaluate when it’s time for them to move on to the next stage. Furthermore, adaptive segmentation enables you to automatically group your customers on a wide variety of characteristics so you can deliver targeted marketing and content recommendations that match much more than just their stage in the sales funnel.
Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Sales
Despite marketing’s best efforts to attract prospective customers and nurture them into qualified leads, this work is only worthwhile if sales can convert these leads into loyal customers. The failure to do so often involves miscommunication on both sides. Many times, your marketing team might be attracting a lot of new leads, but they aren’t always the type of leads the sales team is looking for. Or, when marketing does manage to attract better leads, your salespeople might lack the tools and insights they need to close the deal.
Solving this ongoing issue requires much more than weekly check-in meetings. Both teams need to be able to determine whether a lead is a good fit, nurture them through the customer journey, know when a lead is ready to talk to sales, and have more targeted conversations once the decision stage comes around.
Marketing automation gives you the tools to strengthen the alignment between marketing and sales teams so you can accomplish all that and more. Capabilities such as lead scoring enable you to identify your target customer and determine when they are ready to talk to a member of your sales team. Adaptive forms, gated landing pages, and website visitor tracking allow you to gain valuable insights that will help you engage your customers throughout the lead nurturing process and know the right things to say when the time comes to seal the deal.
Of course, marketing automation provides you with tools to bridge the gap between marketing and sales, but you still need to meet with your team to determine how you’ll make it work. Before launching your marketing automation efforts, we suggest collaborating with your sales team to determine which criteria you’ll use for your lead scoring program and what kind of information they need in order to have impactful conversations with customers.
Equip Your Team with the Tools They Need to Do More with Less Manual Effort
Lack of time is usually one of the biggest obstacles marketers face on their quest to improve their marketing strategy. Tasks such as setting up emails, manually segmenting lists, and gathering data from disparate sources can often take up a lot of your time. Not to mention, many of us have to perform these tasks over and over again as we gain new contact information from prospective customers.
The time it takes to handle everyday tasks leaves little room for us to stop and think about whether the tasks we’re executing are effective in the first place. And even if we do have a few moments to spare to identify areas where we can enhance our current strategy, we don’t have the time and resources to implement any changes.
This is one of the many areas where marketing automation stands out from your basic email service provider (ESP). Unlike an ESP, marketing automation allows you to automatically launch essential everyday marketing tasks without the work traditionally required. For example, you can create a welcome email that launches every time somebody signs up for your mailing list or automatically enter contacts into a relevant email nurture campaign whenever they reach certain criteria based on your lead scoring model. Furthermore, if you invest in a marketing automation platform that supports a wide range of integrations, you can improve your ability to launch and measure the effectiveness of your efforts across platforms.
In short, marketing automation allows you to do more with less. It equips you with the tools you need to make the process of executing everyday marketing tasks more efficient and helps you achieve better results. Perhaps most importantly, it frees up time and provides you with the resources you need to get a little more creative and personalized with your marketing efforts, especially if you’re part of a small team.
Test Your Efforts and Gather the Insights You Need to Improve Your Marketing
Even if you have a robust marketing strategy and experienced marketing team, you’ll probably hit a wall with your marketing efforts if you don’t take time to test and measure your performance. While you might have a sense of which efforts perform best with your different audience segments, which subject lines they might find most appealing, and which content is most likely to keep them moving through the sales funnel, it’s always best to gather that information straight from the source and focus on the data rather than your assumptions or intuition.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to invest all your efforts talking to and surveying your target audience. Marketing automation empowers you to A/B test everything from email subject lines to CTAs to design so that you can easily determine which elements are more likely to motivate your target audience to take action. Even better, marketing automation allows you to consolidate data from various sources (including your website, social media, forms, and email) so you can get a more comprehensive view of how you should be modifying your marketing efforts to match the preferences of your target customers.
Marketing Automation Allows You to Maximize Your ROI Like Never Before
Let’s be honest, the main reason that most of us want to improve our marketing strategy and launch more targeted efforts is that it increases our chance of success. At the end of the day, we want to show that the work we do is attracting more leads, yielding better engagement, and driving conversions.
Marketing automation allows you to do just that by equipping you with everything you need to enhance your marketing, optimize the customer journey, and generate the best ROI — all while saving you time and resources. If you’d like a more in-depth exploration of the benefits of marketing automation, please download our eBook, Making Marketing Automation a Reality (also linked below).