Originally posted on thenextweb.com.
Marketing automation as we know it today has the power to transform an organization for both employee and customer. However, almost a quarter of B2B companies aren’t using it. And only 7% of companies using it are using all the features available. These advanced features can push a company’s earnings over the peak.
Let’s first look at the most common yet advanced automation strategies that are being used today:
Landing pages for capturing leads
Personalized content (including promotions and landing pages)
Segmentation and personas
IP range detection
You can see in the table above that the majority of techniques listed are not being used by most marketers. And statistics show that this type of automation has great potential for a company’s revenue, conversions, user engagement and retention.
An Adestra study in 2015 asked marketing automation users what the biggest benefit of marketing automation is. Here’s what they found:
74% of respondents said saving time
68% of respondents said increased customer engagement
58% of respondents said increased opportunities including upselling
58% of respondents said more timely communications
1. Improve overall customer experience
The majority of respondents in the Adestra study said that increased customer engagement was the biggest asset of marketing automation. The reason for higher engagement is highly logical — when customers are engaged with at the right time with highly targeted and relevant content, they in turn engage. A higher engagement rate leads to retention and brand loyalty, creating an overall positive customer experience over time.
Marketing automation techniques make the customer journey easy and intuitive, thus enhancing their experience. For example, offering a social sign-on as an option makes an essential CTA less threatening and demanding. Allowing a single-sign shows credibility, and the feeling that you respect the prospect’s time and boundaries.
2. Save time
Almost three-quarters of respondents in the Adestra study reported that the biggest benefit of marketing automation was saving time. In the RedEye and TFM&A Insights report from 2014, 36% of respondents said that the main benefit was “taking repetitive tasks out of marketers hands, allowing focus on new/more exciting projects.”
Marketing is not just email blasts and blog posts. There is so much more to a comprehensive marketing strategy, and this takes time and planning. Conceptualizing and executing an effective marketing strategy take hours of brainstorm sessions, research, and analysis. Many marketers are creative types who think outside the box and need a space in which to come up with their lightbulb moments. Automation allows marketers to sit back, allow the software to do its job while they can focus on other projects simultaneously.
Automation software is there to do the dirty (technical) work — analyzing data points, segmenting users, etc. — while marketers can reference it for feedback and analytics to improve their marketing campaigns and overall strategy.
3. Better targeting of customers
The Redeye and TFM&A Insights report found that one third of respondents reported the main benefit of automation is better targeting of customers and prospects. Another study from 2013 found that companies who use marketing automation outperform companies who don’t — 59% of the former use intelligent targeting to trigger content, compared to 17% of the latter. Because of marketing automation’s advanced algorithms and intelligence, targeting is extremely precise.
HubSpot’s marketing, sales and CRM platforms follow the customer journey full-circle, from lead generation to retention. The marketing platform is a full-service software including automation and can accomplish a lot: lead generation, segmentation, emails, workflows, triggers and predictive analytics. Automated emails allow marketers to segment customers and create custom emails for each buyer persona. Workflows and triggers create conditions and branching logic to present the right content to the right customer at the right time.
4. Increase leads, conversions and ROI
At the end of the day, marketing exists to improve brand awareness and increase sales and revenue:
Companies increased sales by 15% and reduced their marketing overheads by 12% with automation (Smart Insights, 2015)
Improved lead management and nurturing (Regalix, 2014)
Companies experience a 451% increase in qualified leads (Sirius, 2012)
80% of marketing automation users saw number of leads increase, and 77% saw the number of conversions increase (VB Insight, 2015)
79% of CMOs at top-tier companies reported the most important reason for implementing automation was to increase revenue and 76% said to get higher quality leads (Gleanster, 2013)
5. Competitive edge
As a marketer, you have to know what the competition is up to and get that edge. Just because a technology is advanced doesn’t guarantee you it will be effective.
Social media management has become a must in every marketer’s toolbox. Since every company is doing it, your platform must be intuitive and intelligent in this regard. HubSpot includes social media marketing tools — displaying your company’s most important social media mentions, customer context and data (emails read, lifecycle stage and past tweets) before you reach out to them. Automation comes in here by gathering all the data for you, presenting it in an organized manner, allowing you to pull the trigger at the right time.
Other platforms, like Optimove, specialize in customer retention and re-engagement, focusing on existing customers to intelligently offer highly personalized offers that are proven to convert. This platform uses a proprietary Predictive Micro-Segmentation to predict customer behavior, as well as real-time hypertargeting. Not all marketing automation has these types of advanced features; hypertargeting, predictive analysis and other highly precise techniques can keep you ahead of the game and the competition.
Marketing automation has increased over ten-fold since 2011 in B2B companies. The numbers presented paint an accurate picture of the benefits, yet marketers have to try it in the context of their company and their field to see if it works for them. Some fear that marketing automation is just another technology taking away real jobs from real people. This is somewhat of an extreme vision however, since in this case, humans will always have to set up, fine tune and provide a human touch to the software. At the end of the day, marketing automation exists for the ease and convenience of the marketer, a more professional and enjoyable customer journey and quantifiable and significant financial benefits for the company.