We’ve heard a lot about marketing automation in the first half of 2015. In fact, some are calling this the year of marketing automation, marking it as THE way to go for marketers everywhere. But even with all the talk that has been making the rounds about this trend, there are lots of people that are missing it out and are now asking what the heck everybody else is talking about.
Are you among them? Don’t sweat it. You still have time to catch on and reap all the benefits of marketing automation. But first things first – you have to learn the basics about it and understand how you can turn this automation in your favor. Thus, we’ve prepared a brief 5-question questionnaire that should solve any doubt you might have. You’re welcome!
What is marketing automation?
Though not a new concept (it started in the late 90s), marketing automation has changed quite a bit in recent years. Yet it still refers to tracking data for leads, automating marketing-related activities and generating reports about them, all by using just one system. Marketing automation is comprised of three main components: lead tracking, automated execution and closed-loop reporting.
Why should you use it?
It’s tempting to say that everyone else is using it so you should too but that would be ridiculous. Beyond the trend is a sophisticated and truly useful tool that can make the difference in the following:
- Reporting: beyond mail opens and clicks, marketing automation reports show how the visitors arrived to the site and where did they go while on the site and which assets are driving the most actions.
- Tracking: if you can’t prove that what you’re doing is good and worth the money spent on it, then you’re dead. Fortunately, marketing automation allows to track leads and report on ROI of all marketing activities related to those leads, which means you’ll be able to see how your marketing efforts have performed according to the sales opportunities you’ve got.
- Managing: you surely use a funnel to pass your leads to the sales team once they are ready to get there. Marketing automation can do that much easier, thanks to its tracking capabilities that make qualification a far simpler process.
- Cross-channel campaigning: since marketing automation can consolidate various marketing tools, launching a cross-channel campaign will be easier. The same goes to reporting the results of all activities on any of the used channels, since they’ll be tracked by one central utility.
- Generating leads: marketing needs lots of manual tasks to get going. Marketing automation cut the times needed for doing those tasks and gives space to focus on other activities. This is a key advantage for small businesses with limited budgets.
Is time for you to adopt it?
With that list of promising possibilities, it’d be hard for us to believe you aren’t excited by marketing automation yet. But before you jump to that ship, you should ask yourself if the timing is right for your business to adopt marketing automation. If you’re already thinking that marketing automation will relieve you from all marketing duties, perhaps you’re not ready for it.
You should only adopt marketing automation if you have enough resources to attend the marketing automation tool and adjust it according to the larger marketing plan. Additionally, you’ll have to keep doing some things manually, because automation won’t cover all the fronts. Many businesses have already made the change to marketing automation and many of them are frustrated with the results. Why? Because they expected a magic wand that would make it all easier. It surely can but it’ll need a lot of input on your part, so be prepared or start preparing.
Is marketing automation OK for small businesses?
Any business, regardless of how big or small, can benefit from marketing automation. However, only businesses already prepared for it and with enough resources should start using it. Small businesses can save a lot of time by using marketing automation, since it can help them in identifying and nurturing leads throughout the funnel. But that will only be true for you if you have the time to adjust the automation to work in your favor.
What mistakes shouldn’t you make while using it?
If you read this article carefully you can surely anticipate this answer. That’s because we’ve been saying what you should avoid in marketing automation all along. First, don’t just use it because is what’s hot right now – you should understand your marketing plan, your overall needs and how marketing automation can play in your favor in that scenario.
Second, if you are going to use it, then be aware that the staff in charge will have to be trained in order to get all the benefits of marketing automation. After all, marketing automation is done through a software, which is nothing more than a tool that needs an expert to function properly. Finally, you’ll have to forget about the division between sales and marketing – marketing automation unites them both to form a more coherent and solid unit that can convert the leads you get.
Marketing automation is amazing but just like any other tech around, it needs to be properly understood and implemented to provide all of its benefits. If you don’t take the time to do that, then you’ll never get it right and even reading this article will have been a waste.