If you Google the term “marketing automation” or run in certain crowds, you are well familiar what insiders call “MA”; however, many organizations are just now at the point of learning what marketing automation is all about and how it differs from traditional tools. To be sure, there is a bit of marketing snobbery at play and the trendsetters at organizations have long had marketing automation in their tech stack (whether they’re truly using it as marketing automation and not just mass email is an entirely different matter altogether). Don’t feel bad if your organization is just getting to the point of trying to discern the differences between marketing automation and traditional tools such as website, email and search engine marketing.
We believe that moving to marketing automation tools is a definite step in the digital transformation journey and it’s important that we meet organizations where they are in order to shepherd them through at a pace that creates sustainable results. To understand marketing automation and what it can do for you, consider five reasons why organizations adopt marketing automation platforms over an ecosystem of point tools such as web, email, surveys and digital advertising. These distinctions are the major reasons that organizations move to marketing automation:
- The Need to Automatically Measure
If each software tool that a marketer uses has metrics, then trying to amass a comprehensive dashboard to track a customer’s journey will involve going into each software tool, pulling metrics and trying to fit them together. This is not a big deal if you’re using, let’s say, just two pieces of software such as your website and email marketing. The problem is that marketers don’t just use two pieces of software anymore, do we? We typically are using 8-15 different tools and trying to get a beat on a dashboard is a monumental task. Marketing automation platforms hit the scene nearly ten years ago and are only now hitting mass adoption because it’s become clear that digital is the most cost effective and easiest to measure, but we need easier ways to measure. Marketing automation platforms bundle together a variety of tools and automatically connect them so that the pulling together of metrics is done for you. Your job can shift from the time-intensive process of pulling together metrics to actually analyzing the metrics to make good decisions.
- One Campaign, Multiple Channels
Another top reason that organizations move to marketing automation is that one campaign no longer consists of one email send. With the adoption of integrated marketing campaigns, marketers are bundling multiple channels of communication into one campaign effort and want to be able to measure the outcome at both the aggregate level, as well as per channel level. I might want to bring a new product to market and advertise it through Google AdWords, Facebook, Instagram, a roadside billboard and a radio ad. All of these channels are being used to promote my product with different amounts of money being spent on each and I want to know which channel works the best, as well as my overall effect of all of my channel spend for the campaign. Did the overall campaign generate the awareness or leads that I sought? I need one platform that can tie these channels together and manage the measurement for me.
- One Customer, Multiple Pathways
Continuing our example, each prospective customer or customer does not exist in a bubble. This one prospect may see my ad in search, drive by my billboard while hearing my radio ad (wouldn’t that be ideal??). With adult attention span now less than 4 seconds, marketers must rely on layering messages to first get the attention of humans in hopes of getting the message to stick. We need to understand the buyer journey so that we can get the right messages in front of the buyer to sway them our way and need one tool to manage these pathways. Marketing automation becomes the platform that allows us to do create, manage and measure the multiple pathways of a customer’s journey in interacting with our messaging.
- Behavioral Segmentation
When planning out where to place messaging, it would be far more effective to rely on data that evidences the actual moves a buyer has made rather than guessing. If I want to send an email and get in front of people that are thinking about my product, wouldn’t it make sense to be able to pull together a list of all people who were just on my product webpage in the last two days or interacted with my Twitter feed in the last week, or a combo of both? Being able to add in actual digital behaviors of users in conjunction with demographic and psychographic data is a key reason for moving to marketing automation.
- Cost Per Lead
There’s no CFO out there that doesn’t want to fully understand where every penny of the organization’s money goes. Marketers need hard, not fuzzy, math in being able to explain where marketing funds were spent and what return they got. Marketing automation solves this problem by bundling together the budget and responses in one platform to provide you with the cost per lead which makes it very clear where to spend each new penny!