Marketing as an activity itself comprises various multidimensional tasks, plans, and campaigns, all of which have to be carried out with increasing finesse and creativity every day to keep up with the competitive industry. As such, there are so many things you, as a marketing professional or as a company, might want to achieve through marketing- a primary goal of which is to increase sales and build a rapport with the customer base.
But sometimes even the most detailed marketing campaign falls short of this. That’s where marketing automation can actually step in and fulfil not just this goal, but further make the marketing process easier for you, your marketing team, and your business.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation, simply put, takes the early leads of potential customers, nurtures and builds these leads, converting them into actual customers by presenting them with content that is informative and appealing to them so that they feel inclined to purchase. Even if marketing automation cannot directly lead to a sale as such, it can bring the lead to a stage where you and your team can reach out to the potential customer with specific sales intent, and then convert them. As such, marketing automation can be seen not as much as a means to an end, but as a very important component of the larger picture, which paves the way for your success in marketing.
You can also choose which stages of marketing you’d like automated- it could be as simple as automating regular tasks such as sending promotional emails, putting out certain ads, making standard social media posts, or you could take it a notch higher and have the software help with lead generation and tracking. At the end of the day, the very idea behind this software is to increase the efficiency of your marketing tasks and to simplify matters as much as possible.
However, don’t be misled- marketing automation isn’t just some software you push info and leads into, for it to mechanically churn out results. Most marketing automation software today is quite intuitive, though it does need to be guided a bit. To that end, you get to use Marketing Automation Platforms, better known as MAPs, which use intelligent technology that customizes its approach for every consumer based on their online purchase behaviour. Thus, marketing automation is a great tool for businesses and marketers who wish to craft long-term, meaningful, and mutually beneficial relationships with their customer base.
B2B Marketing automation and its uses
Marketing automation in B2B (Business to Business) environments and industries has risen particularly.
- This is because the B2B chain is typically a much smaller group of people than a B2C (Business to Consumer), and the consumers in this chain mostly make well-thought-out, pre-decided purchase choices rather than impulse buys (these are more common in B2CC). In B2B however, one needs to use marketing automation more strategically.
- Thus, the marketing automation software is equally important here, although differently- it helps consumers by furnishing important information that will over time, lead them to the next part of the purchase process, and will ultimately trigger their purchase decision.
- The process of lead generation and nurturing after that, in B2B, is much longer than that in B2C, so this is where marketing automation actually comes in very handy. It is in place to ensure that the potential customer gets all the necessary details and information to complete their research so that in the end they are willing to speak to the sales team for a possible purchase.
Advantages of using marketing automation
Marketing automation really has several benefits for any marketer or business. The following are some of the major advantages-
- Saves time and effort- Ordinarily, your marketing team would spend a fair amount of time generating and following up on all the leads you get. With marketing automation in the mix, you can leave most of the leads to its control, and can instead go after high priority leads you’d like to invest time in yourself. This way you aren’t crowded by too many unfiltered leads and can make better, more significant decisions in the long run.
- Helps build a closer relationship with customers- With marketing automation software, you don’t have to worry about having forgotten to send certain emails, messages, CTAs, or reminders to customers at a certain time. The software will do it for you and you can set it to send out personalized emails, messages etc according to the customer’s name and purchase details. This way, the software is already working on a more personal relationship between you and the consumer, and the rest you can do as per your wish.
- Understanding customer behaviour- Marketing automation is fantastic at helping one understand customer purchase behaviour and trends. The software used in marketing automation can track your customer’s movement through the site and provide insight on which stage of purchase the customer is likely at. You can use this to decide if it’s time to reach out to your customer, or make some changes in the overall strategy so that the customer makes the purchase unprompted.
- Better indicator for progress- Through marketing automation, you will be able to understand better the progress you have made or are yet to make in terms of influencing consumer purchase decisions. This will also help you strengthen internal decision-making between your marketing and sales team, as they will be able to understand at which point either of them should take over the process.
Tips to remember while using marketing automation
- While marketing automation can be truly helpful and a game-changer for your sales, be careful not to rely too heavily on it. You will still need to invest effort and time in your regular marketing efforts, and in streamlining relevant leads. Leaving everything to the marketing automation software will create fissures in the cyclical operation of your marketing, sales, and customer support team. So, while you should indeed take the help of marketing automation, be sure to oversee and guide it at all points.
- Marketing automation can really help boost your sales and improve customer relations when done right, but it can’t save a sinking ship. Only consider using marketing automation when your business is doing fairly well, is stable, and you are able to generate new leads organically because then you will be able to make good use of such software.
- To ensure that marketing automation works optimally for your business, you will need to have a few things in place beforehand, such as a lead generation and growth strategy, a clear idea of what your customer’s journey is like, and what goals you want the automation software to achieve for you. Only then will it be truly effective for you.
Thus, you see that marketing automation is in general a very good component to add to your overall marketing strategy and tasks, since it saves time, effort and simplifies lead procurement, leading often to higher sales and conversions. However, marketing automation alone cannot do wonders for your business if other aspects of marketing aren’t aligned. If you have been considering getting marketing automation software for your business, now you know all you need to.