When used thoughtfully, marketing automation software has the power to create loveable marketing by personalizing content, keeping unwanted sales calls at bay, and aligning the marketing to the buyer's journey.
I caught a recent article discussing how B2B marketers are missing the human element in marketing automation. "Marketing automation," the author says, "is a tricky phrase because it leaves out a significant factor of business success: the human element that allows organizations to be contextual in a situation, adapt as needed, and successfully execute sales." And I can't disagree, as marketing automation has long been an imperfect term to describe what the technology does, since it brings up images of factories and machines more than lovable marketing.
Now we know that modern marketing in the digital age is not just about numbers and processes. Buyers are in fact humans and this means they make decisions based on emotional connections, stored memories, images, and feelings more than rational evaluations. Therefore, it's critical to create marketing people love. Because when a customer loves your marketing, they are more likely to love your brand - and when they love your brand, they are more likely to purchase your products and services.
To that end, I often get asked, "How does marketing automation software help me to create marketing that my customers love?"
It lets you align your marketing to the buyer's journey. Marketing automation is aware of the buying cycle and can map your marketing interactions to what is most appropriate to the buyer in each stage: nurture relationships with prospects that are not yet ready to buy, interact with buyers who are engaged with sales, and deepen relationship with existing customers. Communications that are actually relevant based on where someone is in their personal buying journey - what's not to love about that?
It lets you better segment customers for greater relevancy. Marketing automation can track what content a customer engages with, what keywords they use, what they do socially, and a variety of other digital behaviors. This information, when used responsibly, is a gold mine for understanding and catering to each customer's specific pain points, needs, and desires. Put simply, it lets you see what content they like, and send them the content they actually want.
It sends messages at the right time, when they are most relevant. Without marketing automation, campaigns are, by necessity, based on the company's schedule, not the customer's. But with the real-time capabilities of a marketing automation platform, you can send content at the right time, when the customer can use it. And better timeliness increases the lovability of your marketing.
It allows you to dynamically personalize content. With powerful marketing automation capabilities, you can customize each interaction (email, landing page, etc.) based on the specific customer who is receiving it. Since each interaction is personalized, it will be more relevant - and therefore more loveable.
It enables consistent communications across channels. Customers don't want to receive disjointed messages as they interact with your company over different channels. But they'll love it if you create a consistent, multi-channel dialogue with them. Marketing automation software enables this because at the core it is powered by a single cross-channel view of the customer.
It keeps unwanted sales calls away. Customers today want to engage with sales at the right time, on their own terms. They won't love you if your sales team hounds them prematurely - but they will love it if you give space when they want it and then proactively contact them at just the right time. And they'll love it even more if the sales team has the insights they need to understand their needs and know exactly what the right next step is.
Of course, for marketing automation content to create lovable marketing, you need to use it sensibly. Follow the same rules that you would follow for effective content marketing: make your communications relevant and personal and avoid being overly promotional. Take advantage of the platform's capabilities to send good marketing, don't just automate bad marketing.
Image via Shutterstock.
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Jon leads strategy and execution for Marketo. Before co-founding Marketo, Jon was Vice President, Product Marketing at Epiphany and held positions at Exchange Partners and Gemini Consulting. He is executive editor of the popular Marketo blog, Modern B2B Marketing, and author of the comprehensive handbook, The Definitive Guide to Marketing Metrics and Analytics. In 2010, The CMO Institute named Jon a Top 10 CMO for companies under $250 million revenue. Jon holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
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