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Marketing Automation: It’s Not Just for B2B Marketers

  |  February 26, 2014   |  Comments

Marketing automation remains one of the most potent weapons that B2C marketers can use to reach their target markets. Here are four ways it can be used to transform B2C marketing.

When I first meet with B2C marketers, I quickly realize that when they think about what tools they can deploy to build and maintain relationships with consumers, many rarely think beyond email and social technologies. Yet, marketing automation remains one of the most potent weapons that B2C marketers can use to reach their target markets.

Automation allows B2C marketing departments to construct multi-channel campaigns - using SMS, direct mail, telephone calls, and email, for example - to communicate with consumers and scale these campaigns to maintain a personal, one-to-one relationship with all of their customers. The technology also allows marketers to design sophisticated Web forms and landing pages to capture additional information about site visitors, as well as scoring models to dynamically segment customers using custom variables. Of course, the platforms also include sophisticated email capabilities that allow marketers to tailor the content based on untapped consumer behaviors in the marketing database.

Intrigued? Check out these four ways marketing automation can be used to help transform B2C marketing, allowing companies to deliver more targeted and relevant messages to customers than ever:

Cart Abandonment Programs
The classic, and oftentimes most obvious, use case for most B2C marketers is shopping cart abandonment programs. And, with 56 percent of shopping carts abandoned before purchase, there is a significant revenue opportunity for those marketers that can convert these carts into purchases. Cart abandonment automated programs, powered by marketing automation technology, allow marketers to monitor shopping carts that never turn into a confirmed order and automatically deploy a series of reminder emails to consumers encouraging them to complete their purchase. Most of our clients have experienced great return on investment (ROI) from these automated messages - some see a lift as high as 50 percent. There are a variety of approaches available, so work with your marketing technology provider for recommendations to see what methods makes the most sense for your business needs.

Browse Abandonment Programs
Browse abandonment programs are similar to, but not exactly like, shopping cart recovery. An email series triggers when a visitor leaves a website without completing a conversion goal that a marketer establishes. Obviously, the goal of the program is to get the visitor to come back to complete his or her purchase.

To get started, identify three to four key pages on the company website where you want people to place an order - this could be pages that contain items that are popular sellers, or even a product that needs to be moved quickly. If a known visitor comes to the page but does not complete the goal, an automated email triggers, encouraging them to take the next step. Remind them of the benefits of following through - answer any FAQs they may have or provide helpful peer reviews. Or, even consider offering a discount or promo code in the second or third email in the series. Of course, this approach only works with known customers coming to your site. While the volume of emails may not be high, the conversion rate can be excellent.

Scoring
Scoring has been a traditional B2B marketing must-have for many years. It allows marketers to create models that automatically segment customers based on things like products purchased, demographics, loyalty levels, or recent behaviors. While it's commonplace in the B2B space, it could be a hugely successful tool for many B2C marketers as well.

Scoring can be thought of as dynamic segmentation - you establish a scoring model based on your objectives for things like consumer engagement or brand evangelism. You can then define rules for once someone reaches a score threshold to automatically enroll them, for example, in a Brand Ambassador program. You can also automatically generate in-depth reports of how many consumers you have at the various levels of interaction that you establish. It is a clear way to get your corporate executives on board with the exact numbers of consumers you have across the engagement spectrum.

Consolidated View of Behavior
It's no secret that corporate websites and email are not the only ways today's consumers are engaging with us. The good news: Marketing automation can provide an opportunity to allow marketers to capture and use all sorts of behavior, including crossing a brick-and-mortar store's geo-fence, redeeming social coupons, watching videos, or doing things on your company's mobile app.

All of these activities can be used to trigger automated messages or enroll individuals into automated campaigns, and it gives marketers a much more holistic view of consumers. Suddenly it becomes clear that we can be at the right place, with the right product and the right offer. It is this breadth of information that allows marketers of all types to build an actionable marketing database that learns over time and can instantly be used to communicate with insight.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellen Valentine

Ellen Valentine has more than 20 years of experience as vice president of marketing/CMO for a number of technology companies. She has deep expertise in launching new products, evaluating product and market positions, designing go-to-market strategy, and managing all digital marketing initiatives. She believes that great people and effective technology are foundations for success, but great execution is the ultimate differentiator.

In her role at Silverpop, an IBM company, she's focused on coaching and mentoring Silverpop clients to adapt and thrive in marketing's changing role. She's also a sought-out speaker at industry conferences and events.

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