World wide web marketers face a constant struggle for Leads (people who left their data on the website) and potential customers. They search for future clients in all available channels. People are caught while searching for items (SEO + AdWords), according to social media activities and researching company webpages (forms, download centers), in brick-and-mortar stores (surveys, loyalty programs), and in the mobile channel (apps, search). Unfortunately, a single action of getting someone’s email address is just the beginning – according to statistics, only 1-2% of freshly acquired leads are ready to purchase as they visit the website for the first time. The rest of them require a considerable amount of work, that consists mainly of education and not-getting-in-their-way during the purchase process before they transform from random internet user into loyal customer.
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Today’s customer is a person with access to an incredible amount of information processed at tremendous pace. This constant information bombings accompany all parts of our lives. :
- mass media, i. e. radio and TV,
- urban landscape covered with advertorial banners,
- internet – full of pop-ups and banners,
- commercial emails
- smartphones – our faithful companions in everyday life.
As a resultant of the above factors a completely new type of customers has evolved. They are called prosumers and are immune to spam, independent and proactive. Prosumers read labels, look for information on their own and go almost 90% of the buyer’s journey on their own. They know what they want and they know their rights.
New challenges for marketers
To meet the expectations of this specific client and not sink in such crowded a market, the modern marketer should master the art of message personalization as well as matching the pace of their activities to audience’s requirements. To achieve this, one must know the needs and expectations of consumers and learn how to integrate data from multiple channels.
Contrary to appearances, in a digital environment, it is not as hard as it may seem. While browsing the internet, users leave enormous amounts of digital footprints that allow to trace behavior and, with proper software, indicate general and individual trends. Of course, not manually – no man is able to process such a huge amount of data and tasks, nor to respond to them in real time.
That’s how the idea to create marketing automation software was born. These platforms monitor the actions of individual users, identify them, and provide accurate targeting of specific marketing activities to the individuals, as well as to entire groups of them. Additionally, some of them can integrate data from different platforms and different channels. This feature is quite valuable in the environment where users often switch between channels throughout the whole purchasing process. An additional advantage of using these platforms are built-in analytical panels that investigate both customer activities (behavioral, transactional, and demographic analysis) as well as company’s efficiency (the effectiveness of campaigns, website marketing, email reactions, dynamic content tests, etc.).
How to pick a Marketing Automation Platform?
The main criterion when choosing a platform should be the needs of the enterprise. It depends on multiple factors:
- profile (B2B, B2C, Ecommerce),
- audience type,
- database size,
- used communication channels,
- marketing goals.
After listing required features look through what market offers and pick a few possible solutions. The next step is to analyze the financial aspect. What model of using the software is most favorable – SaaS, On Demand, Private Cloud? What payment model – license, subscription? Developers offer various combinations and everyone is able to find something that will suit them best.
The final touch – check whether the developer offers knowledge and support during the implementation and further stages of using the platform. Each company has a different policy of customer support. The perfect solution would be to find someone who provides not only the product that has an excellent quality, but also:
- free access to training, webinars, and e-learning,
- developed knowledge base,
- unlimited access to educational materials,
- support during the first few weeks when you start using the system,
- dedicated account manager,
- well-functioning support 24/7,
- set of free integrations with other systems,
- free access to the API and documentation.
Setting up the above criteria, help you significantly reduce the cost of implementation – a major part of it will be done by the developer which should be guaranteed by signed agreement. Most Marketing Automation platforms are cloud-based and offered as a SaaS. For example, to use SALESmanago you have to simply register the account on the website, copy the generated monitoring code and paste in on the website. In practice, this means that the costs of technical implementation decreased in a visible way.
How to implement Marketing Automation?
To get the most out of the platform, you should emphasize the initial preparations.
The first step shall be naming the measurements of success. This step is absolutely necessary because without defining a purpose you won’t be able to tell which platform features are crucial and which areas you need to automate in the first place. Going through this stage, you can not only optimize costs but also develop a solid and profitable long-term strategy.
The next step will be learning how to use the new tool. All changes you have to make methodically, constantly testing their effectiveness and slowly increasing the complexity of solutions. Determining this pace allows you to look at your actions through the eyes of customers and to verify the effectiveness of applied methods.
It is also important to learn how to walk before you learn to run. Start with a simple (and very effective) solution, before you swim into deeper waters. It is understandable that the advanced features look way more attractive, tempting and promise amazing results, but it’s the foundation that guarantees success. Setting the complete process, with all fireworks and fountains at the beginning will lead to frustration rather than a spectacular success. Obviously – the desire to make a full use of the tool for which you paid is absolutely understandable, but everyone should start with small steps, for example:
- transferring email marketing to the platform,
- setting alerts for sales and call center,
- integration of existing salespeople mailboxes and contact forms,
- preparing autoresponders,
- setting the welcome message for new users,
- preparing the lead nurturing cycle,
- segmenting the database.
Perks of using Marketing Automation
The marketing automation platform solves many problems typical for marketing departments. These include lack of in-depth audience intelligence, low efficiency of email marketing, weak conversion of website traffic to the number of leads, or even the lack of marketing costs optimization. The first visible benefits of the platform implementation are undoubtedly:
- increase of the acquired leads’ quality – through better personalization even for anonymous recipients. This was proven in The Annuitas Group research: “Companies using Marketing Automation and Lead Nurturing experience a 451% increase in the amount of qualified leads”;
- improving the quality of the database – the platform makes it easy to update data in real time, spot inactive and erroneous contacts that artificially increase the database volume while lowering its quality;
- increase campaigns’ efficiency – higher quality of leads and databases has a significant impact on the final effect of all marketing campaigns. Adjusting the marketing message to each of the recipients increases the chance to interest him with your offer.
The decision to implement the software and its choice depends on the business profile, the size of the company, and the industry in which it operates. The offer is so diverse that everyone can choose something that will suit them well. The implementation process brings tangible results to the company and since the first day significantly improves comfort and quality of work in most departments.
Maja Kowalska – Content Manager at SALESmanago Marketing Automation – the fastest developing Marketing Automation Platform in Europe, #1 Marketing Automation Platform for Ecommerce, B2B and B2C.