Marketing automation has gone from rising trend to essential strategy in a matter of a few years.
To the uninitiated it may sound like a buzzword that threatens to replace real marketers with robots, but in reality it’s a smart way to generate, nurture and qualify leads so your sales team can focus on what they’re good at: selling.
If implemented well, it can drive up conversions and help you forge smarter, more profitable customer relationships. But if done badly? You could waste time, money and end up behind the eight-ball when it comes to responding to your customers’ cues and needs.
If you are wondering what marketing automation is, read more here.
If you’d like to unlock the many advantages marketing automation offers, here are five pitfalls to avoid when building your strategy.
1. Neglecting stage one of the funnel
For a successful automation strategy to work, it’s important to be able to attract the right prospects in the first place. That means focusing on the discovery and awareness phases to attract and ‘warm up’ potential leads before pushing them into the sales funnel.
2. Focusing on the channel, not the customer
Are you starting with the statement: ‘We need marketing automation to help us with our email strategy’? Sure, it can help you with that. But the best way to make the most of the technology is to take an omni-channel approach.
That means putting the customer first and considering all their touchpoints. If you treat each channel as a separate strategy, you could be missing out on opportunities to engage with both new and existing audiences.
3. Not doing your platform research
Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Pardot, Marketo, Hubspot, Act-On: you’ve probably heard the names, but which is right for you? It’s important to understand the key strengths and differences before deciding who to go with.
If your focus is on engaging and growing an existing audience using social media, EDMs and content marketing, Salesforce Marketing Cloud has a great range of features to support this.
If you need something that focuses on generating, nurturing, tracking and converting B2B leads through marketing automation, then you should lean towards Salesforce Pardot.
Marketo is another option to throw into the mix. It’s a marketing automation platform that combines social, mobile and ad targeting to help nurture and engage potential customers.
At Blirt, we love the Salesforce platform as it enables best in class data driven marketing.
We believe in applying the right technology to the right customer experience.
4. Going it alone
As with onboarding any new strategy or software, there are bound to be hiccups along the way. That’s where talking to an expert really makes a difference. Blirt can advise you on set-up, implementation, training and goal-setting, as well as reporting on performance and using data to feed back into your sales and marketing strategy.
5. Forgetting to be human
When we talk about marketing automation, we mean using the best technology available to nurture prospects and offer them the optimal experience of your business.
We’re big advocates of using platforms such as Salesforce to help us achieve this. However, we understand marketing automation enables rather than replaces all of your existing marketing efforts.
It takes the human touch of creativity to personalise your messaging for each different touchpoint, and a real person to determine the triggers for an EDM series or automated content delivery and campaign. And, importantly, it takes human analysis to use the learnings from customer behaviour data and feed this back into your marketing strategy.
At Blirt, we believe people buy things from people – it’s the essence of our approach to branding. So, when it comes to designing marketing automation within your MarTech stack it is Automation 101 to start with the customer in mind.
Stuart Leo, Founder and MD, Blirt
Stuart is the founder and Managing Director of Blirt – passionate marketer, brand strategist, MarTech devotee and leader of the team at Blirt.
As one of Australia’s leading MarTech strategy groups, Blirt specialises in customer experience, marketing automation, digital communications & full funnel customer engagement to help organisations lead in the experience economy.
The key to growth and customer personalisation is literally in the palm of your hand – tools like Salesforce’s Pardot can transform the way you manage your inbound and outbound marketing.
What is Marketing Automation?
Simply, it is the unification, simplification and systemization of attracting and nurturing customers.
You may wonder ‘When, where, and how do we deliver automation?’, ‘How is our program working?’, ‘What else can we do?’, ‘What do we need to do to run a successful Marketing Automation program and establish a great ROI?’
If we put all the hype aside – what do we need to understand first?
Well, let’s go back to basics!
What are the 5 basics of Marketing Automation?
1. Be Customer Focussed
Marketing Automation should be customer focussed and results driven.
It should be the foundation to deliver content to satisfying needs by delivering the appropriate content at the right time, in right to the right person. In delivering this content, use automation to capture data progressively.
The program should generate all you need to know about your customer, so your message can be tailored specifically to generate the best possible result for ROI.
For example, Salesforce’s Pardot uses a progressive data capture method in forms and downloads to only ask a few small items of information at each conversion resulting in a large pool of data gathered about the prospect over time.
The more data or information you can gather about your customer the better you can tailor your campaign to serve the customer and encourage the purchasing decision. Ultimately this underpins a purpose and framework for your database and list management.
2. Balance New vs Existing Customers
Marketing Automation should promote your product or service to not only existing customers but also drive the conversion of new prospects.
This is sometimes where a company’s automation program fails. Don’t imbalance the role of automation in either just serving existing prospects or just focussing on new prospects.
Any good customer experience strategy should focus on customer acquisition, retention and growth.
3. Go Omnichannel
Marketing Automation is the glue that ties together Inbound activities such as blogs, PR, organic search, social, partnered content and Outbound activities such as advertising, direct mail or other paid content.
At Blirt we don’t just focus on one channel like email, rather we weave together a set of appropriate channels that drive customer engagement across the customer journey that can be wherever the customer is ultimately binding marketing execution to business goals – we call this Omnibound marketing.
And, it hinges on smart marketing automation tools to ensure it is efficient, ROI driven and scalable.
4. Brand Consistency
The success of your program relies on your brand message being consistent when used across all digital media channels.
Ensure that your blogs hold the same tone of voice to your social media, for example. And, certainly ensure the key messages are not lost of twisted through multiple service providers.
Additionally, avoid template design or cheap stock icons and images. Over use of these assets on your brand will mean your identity will be lost amidst the cheap mounds of content and basic designed content floating through the internet.
We developed a framework called Brand Anatomy for exactly this purpose. We believe, even in a digital universe “people by things from people”. Brand Anatomy is a framework for applying your brand across multiple channels in an agile manner.
5. Nurture, Nurture, Sell
Automation is a great way to drip feed content and messages to your prospects.
Balance soft sell content with hard sell content. For example, you might want to build a structure in a nurture campaign that for every 3 soft sell messages you then deliver 1 harder call to action to sign up or commitment.
Your Marketing Automation program will be able to create more opportunities from the increased traffic generated to your site and the leads identified through website visitor information.
So once we understand this – where to next?
At Blirt, we help you to understand and facilitate the customer journey and then build great content which drives increased engagement or lead generation.
Digital Marketing For Leaders Who Want Sales
At Blirt, we’ve developed a series of digital marketing programs which help you achieve the business results.