Marketing Automation – Benefits and Pitfalls

By David Waldron, Guest Blogger | 8.23.16

One of the things marketers need to know about to be most effective in their work with clients is the strategy and use of marketing automation as a part of an omnichannel marketing effort.

Marketing automation pertains to software platforms that allows a digital agency to automate some of their marketing tasks, and also can be much more effective in creating deeper relationships with clients in all phases of the buyer’s journey.

Most marketers today automate tasks that are repetitive in nature, which include social media, email, and other online actions. These automated tasks can also be timed to be delivered and interacted with at the most optimum time based on data gathered in previous marketing activities.

With the use of marketing automation, marketers are able to streamline their segmentation, lead nurturing and scoring, lead generation, marketing ROI measurement, customer retention, customer lifecycle marketing, and a lot more. It can be used for all types of businesses, whether it is a B2C or a B2B company.

Marketing Automation Graphic

Below are some of the main benefits (and a few pitfalls) of using marketing automation:

Better Lead Generation
Marketers attract people to the brand through an overall brand strategy, including both outbound and inbound marketing and lead generation. However, the effort will be wasted if the people are not interested in buying or are jarred or alienated by the marketing touch. With the use of marketing automation software, marketers can reach out to more people during the exact right time in the sales funnel.

That exact time is when consumers have expressed interest in what was written in a newsletter, signed up for a content offer,  or have been browsing a blog for a long period of time. The lead list will be more targeted, and useful, instead of using a list of random (or purchased) email addresses. This is one of the main reasons why thousands of B2B marketers use automation for their digital marketing campaigns.

The data collected by platforms such as Hubspot, Adobe Marketing Cloud, or the IBM Marketing Cloud include open rates, delivery times, visitor engagement times, pages and features viewed, and conversion rates from visitors to leads to customers to brand evangelists.

Nurture Potential Customers
Leads are nothing if marketers can’t convince them to buy something. That’s why one of our main tasks is to nurture leads and existing customers. A marketer must know how to keep potential customers interested in their clients’ products and/or services, and make them ready to take action towards a purchase.

Nurtured leads often make larger transactions compared to leads that were not nurtured. With the use of marketing automation, you will be able to nurture the leads without the need to personalize the emails manually.

Instead, the software will do all the work for you. The marketer can focus on making the content of that outreach engaging, immersive and remarkable.

Convert Consumers Faster
There are instances in which there’s a gap between the time when a person shows interest in the business and the time one decides to buy something. Our prospects lead busy lives, and they deal with many distractions. Whether it means an abandoned shopping cart or suspended product research, these gaps can easily be created during all stages of the conversion funnel. Marketing automation can help decrease this gap.

Automation software can convert leads faster than any other digital marketing tool, through the delivery of great content at the perfect moment. This will help boost the revenue of your or your client’s company without having to greatly increase the effort of the marketing department.

Improve the Company’s Bottom Line
One of the objectives of running a business is to make money. And marketing automation can help companies improve their revenue by ten percent within six to nine months. Users of marketing automation software have reported that they improved their sales by an average of 34 percent.

Get Maximum Results from Digital Marketing Strategies
Another benefit of using marketing automation is that it can be integrated into the company’s CRM platform. That will allow you to check whether the digital marketing strategies are working or not. By monitoring the progress of the campaign, you will be able to tweak it in a continuous improvement cycle so that you will be able to get more leads and conversions.

Pitfalls of Using Marketing Automation
Most marketers think that the software can provide an instant solution to their lead generation and email marketing needs. That’s why they use marketing automation without a clear goal in mind. To get the job done, they need to have an effective strategy in place. They should understand that the system is just a tool that will be used to implement their strategies and not the other way around.

Some marketers buy marketing automation software to use for their email marketing campaign with very little thought as to its integration. These are very complex systems. Before purchasing the software, be sure to know what its capabilities are, if it fits into your overall strategy, workflow and team, and if you really need it for your company.

Another problem that companies face is that they don’t have team members that have the required technical skill sets to run the marketing automation systems. Some platforms require people who have a background in development, data architecture, and IT instead of pure marketing skills. The company may need to hire a marketing technologist to maintain and implement the platform or would be better suited to outsource the work to a qualified digital agency.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Investing in marketing automation can greatly help the profitability of your company. It is important to find the right software or the right digital agency that can handle all the requirements of your marketing campaigns. That way you can drive the best quality leads to your sales team by targeting the right market, at the perfect time.

 

David Waldron

David Waldron is a digital marketing and website development veteran with 18 years of experience in the field. He is a partner with Darkstar Digital, a digital marketing agency specializing in inbound or content marketing and website development. He is also a foster parent for Tennessee Scottish Terrier Rescue and is also a beekeeper in his spare time. Contact David at david@darkstar-digital.com.