With big data analytics and “hyper-customization” becoming indispensable to generate leads and engage with prospects, marketing automation has become an integral part of the marketing landscape. Email Monday reports that there are nearly 11 times more B2B organizations with marketing automation today than there were in early 2011.
However, B2B marketers need to be careful and wary of the pitfalls on the way to marketing automation. Many marketers stumble when trying to align marketing automation and content strategy.
It’s not enough for the marketer to reach the right person at the right time. The marketer also has to say the right thing at the right time. This often translates into offering the appropriate content based upon the prospect’s stage in their customer journey. Many marketers consider automation as an end in itself, when actually what marketing automation does is facilitate the marketer to do the right thing.
Many marketers extend the scope of automation to pass on stock content to targeted prospects. While this has some advantages, such as making an acknowledgment or sending out a special offer to a batch of prospects, relying only on stock content is naive. In today’s competitive age, it takes original content, customized to the prospect at some stage of their customer journey to persuade the prospect to convert.
While marketing automation allows marketers to identify leads and reach out to prospects easily, there is a danger of overkill. For example, flooding a prospect’s inbox with a ton of email day in and day out, just because the analytic engine identifies the prospect as a sure buyer, is a sure way to lose a customer.
Although some marketers struggle to properly utilize their marketing automation tool, there are ways to avoid these common mistakes. Marketing automation has many features, capabilities, and insights that not only make communicating with prospects easier, but also more effective. Fully understanding the platform and using it to its full potential can help successfully position content.
Within a target market, each person is in a different stage of the buying process. While a handful of people may be frequent purchasers, others may be discovering the company and its products for the first time. The magic behind marketing automation is its ability to provide insight into customer information. This lets marketers develop content tailored for the specific person or group. Generic emails are a thing of the past; customers demand customized content that’s relevant to them specifically.
To effectively engage with customers, naturally, it is important to understand them. Marketing automation tools can track how different content is resonating with your audience, which is useful when determining a future engagement strategy. Using targeted, relevant communication via a variety of channels will increase engagement across your audience. Social channels are a great way to release content while also engaging with both customers and prospects.
It’s easy to setup a marketing automation tool to blast out emails, but it’s the marketer’s job to do so strategically. A good rule of thumb for companies is to send only when they have something engaging, beneficial or useful for their audience; they should not send merely to send.
Where a person sits in the customer lifecycle should dictate how many emails they receive. For instance, if a person flies once a year, a weekly email would be too much. However, if a person flies on a biweekly basis, they may find weekly emails beneficial and relevant.
When executed properly, marketing automation has the potential to elevate your content above competitors’. In an age of information overload, marketing automation allows for personalized touch points to engage your audience at each stage of the buying journey. Nurturing individuals with information specific to their stage of the customer journey will increase engagement, which in turn, will hasten their movement through the sales process.
As leads advance and are nurtured in their journey with your brand, your marketing automation solution will pass these leads to the members of your sales team at the right time. However, marketing automation will not work miracles or solve all of your marketing challenges. This technology is powerful when used with great strategy, content and company support, but can be just as damaging if neglected, misused or filled with poor content.
Remember that success is derived from the development of a coherent content marketing strategy. With this content marketing strategy in mind, you and your company are ready to unleash the powers of marketing automation!