Marketing is an intensely competitive industry. And it seems like there is always a new feature, strategy, or channel that will make or break you. Email automation, direct mail automation, social media, ABM, CRM, AI – the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder that 42% of retail executives spend almost half of their marketing budget on omni-channel initiatives. And yet, only 16% feel that their marketing strategies are actually aligned with their business strategies, and half aren’t even sure that those investments are producing tangible results.
Let that sink in for a minute.
That means that half of the companies pouring their budgets into marketing tech can’t identify existing gaps within their campaigns and can’t even measure their own effectiveness. Their campaigns have effectively become a money pit.
Now, to be fair that constant pressure to never fall behind the competition makes it really easy to throw good money at popular solutions (especially when experts are throwing statistics at you). But the next big thing won’t help you if you don’t know where you are already failing.
Here are the things you should know about marketing automation solutions and how to start closing some of those gaps and seeing real returns on your tech investment:
1. Marketing Automation Keeps You Consistent
If you aren’t already engaging your customers across multiple channels, then now is the time to start! With so many consumers using mobile devices to shop and surfing across several media channels a day, it is unsurprising that multi-channel marketing has become essential to effective campaigning. But for every consumer there is one thing that is key – consistency. 90% of customers expect consistency across channels and half are less likely to use a company based off of a bad mobile experience.
One major benefit of utilizing marketing automation is that it makes maintaining consistency that much easier. Even the most basic automation systems offer features for designing your digital presence across multiple campaigns. Major players like Salesforce, Marketo, and HubSpot can offer a wider range of features and even more opportunities for lead generation. And with a free trial, you can give them a look before you commit to anything.
2. Investing In Yourself Saves Time and Money
People list a lot of reasons as to why they are not engaging in a multi-channel campaign. It’s too expensive, they don’t have time or resources, or just no one seems to know where to start. But with marketing automation software, you can have the multi-channel campaign of your dreams and even smooth out any bumps along your sales cycle while you are at it.
To start with, automation takes the grind out of marketing by making it easier to schedule, prioritize, and unify content. Even the most basic automation software for email, follow-up, and appointment scheduling significantly increases the amount of time available for small businesses to dedicate to CRM. Take that a step further with the more advanced, multi-use platforms on the market, and you can run a fully-automated, multi-channel marketing campaign from the comfort of your desk. And with the wide range of quality freemium, open-source, or cost-effective platforms with high-end features, your budget doesn’t have slow you down.
3. Consolidating Your Tech
One of the continually growing trends in marketing automation, platform consolidation allows you to create consistency throughout your entire digital presence. With Salesforce’s acquisition of Pardot in 2013 and Adobe’s more recent purchase of Marketo, the practice of larger platforms merging with popular systems means that companies can now go almost entirely with a single provider and never lose web traction. Instead of a patchwork of integrated tech, your marketing needs can be covered across email, web, mobile, and social media channels with a single established platform. Many systems also include CRM and sales enablement features as well, so creating that tight-knit dream team of sales + marketing takes a lot less effort.
4. Develop Those Social Skills
Grabbing consumer attention requires more than just making your website mobile friendly. Social media is quickly growing into the channel of choice, with over 3 billion people on some form of social media. That’s about 40% of the global population. With an average of 5.54 social media accounts per person, systems like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are the new marketing frontier. Which is probably why over 80% of marketers are actively engaging content via social media. The good news is that marketing automation is way more than just email these days. Even if you aren’t investing in a consolidated platform like Salesforce or Marketo, there are plenty of easily integrated systems to develop and manage your media presence and automate your prospect generation.
5. Keep Things Moving
These days, the web is for more than just for cute cat videos. Fluffy media may be out but despite the array of marketing options available, most consumers still love moving pictures.
- Conversions increase by 86% when a video is included on a landing page
- Emails with video have a 2-3x higher click-through rate
- Product videos increase sales by up to 144%.
How is that for some WOW factor? With that in mind, it is unsurprising that video is the top form of digital advertising for the big corporate dogs (91% of companies with revenue over $500 million use it. Woof!)
Want to know more? Check out this digital guide to successfully include video in your automated marketing campaign, courtesy of Marketo and Vidyard.
6. Leave the Guesswork to the Amateurs
Unifying your campaign with marketing automation software not only saves you time but also smooths over those holes in your existing campaign. Gaps in channel coverage means that qualified leads could be falling through without you ever knowing about them. And, with 67% of marketers using automation software, chances are your competition will capture them. Automation software gives you the benefit of a tight campaign with personalized content and unified branding, while tracking every gain you make in ROI and (more importantly) how it was made.
7. Artificial Intelligence
When you were a kid, did you ever wish that you had a robot to do chores? Like, cleaning your room or say, sorting prospects? How about a whole army of highly trained robots to pinpoint and segment new leads with laser-like accuracy? Well, AI-enhanced marketing automation software is basically your own personal robot army. (you can stop high-fiving your inner child now.)
Predictive lead scoring is the way of the future. A tireless force to manage your contacts and prospects and to slog through masses of data on demographics and web activity, finding the right leads can help you save time, money, and effort. By identifying, scoring, and segmenting fresh targets, you can track hits and misses on your email campaign, landing pages, or CRM, and develop performance assessment reports. Predictive lead scoring finds and segments targets at the earliest possible opportunity for a list of qualified leads that are funnel ready from Day 1. Throw in learning-capable software that gets smarter and more attuned to your brand needs the more that you use it, and you are one step close to world domination.
AI-based features are growing in popularity and it is easy to see why. After all, a Chatbot feature tuned in to an automated marketing system can clock visitors to your website from the second that they arrive. Added benefits from additional traffic, frequency, and distribution information being gathered in real time makes having a chatbot a smart move. From answering basic questions to triggering an email follow up, Chatbots allow your sales team to focus on more advanced leads that require the personal touch.
9. Make It Personal
Personalized tactile content has a way of cutting through the marketing noise that a digital campaign just can’t match. Direct mail is engaging. It spends more time in consumer hands than anything else, which means that it carries a higher impact and can deliver in-depth information. Add your own brand to the mix and you get truly unforgettable marketing content. Automated tactile systems send personalized and branded swag to your target audience timed in concert with other channels of your multi-channel campaign and the position of your target in the sales cycle.
Think your lead is almost ready to buy? Send them a personalized contact email to open the door, followed up by a box of branded foam footballs emblazoned with the phrase, ‘Complete The Play’ to their office. Coordinated automation makes you look like an expert, even when you’re just playing around.
10. Give Them The Real Deal
We’re a long way from total AI. Smart lead scoring and chatbots will shorten your sales cycle, but at the end (and periodically along the way) there is no substitute for a real person. Whether you are deploying your team as employee advocates on social media or utilizing the carrying power of a celebrity “microinfluencer,” a smattering of the human element throughout your campaign makes it more accessible. Intelligent tech builds reliability through expedience but that human relationship with your target builds trust. And to be successful in any business, you need both.
Want to find out more? Contact a PFL marketing pro to learn how our Tactile Marketing Automation platform could transform your business forever.