I started blogging about the future of marketing and marketing automation in 2006. Seven years and literally a thousand blog posts later, marketing automation technology is still the fastest growing of any CRM-related segment in the last five years. The technology’s automated processes coupled with marketing analytics and insights comprise the best system to get the right message to the right person at the right time at scale.
That being said, the technology is still brand new to a lot of companies. Fortunately, a few guideposts have emerged in the evolving marketing landscape that marketers can use to orient themselves. The following three benchmarks can serve as guidelines for marketers just starting with the technology or seasoned vets alike:
Engage Customers or They Will Ignore You
Today’s information-saturated market empowers buyers with instant information, giving them access to specific deals, detailed specs, pricing, reviews, etc., 24/7. Additionally, as the rate of information creation increases (IBM found 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day), buyer attention span decreases at an equally alarming rate. This means that marketers have to do more than “rent” attention that others have garnered.
The only sure way to break through is to become more engaging. As McKinsey wrote in “The Coming Era of On-Demand Marketing,” “Building on the vast increase in consumer power brought on by the digital age, marketing is headed toward being on-demand – not just always ‘on,’ but also always relevant, responsive to the consumer’s desire for marketing that cuts through the noise with pinpoint delivery.”
Traditional Channels Are for the Birds
Traditional channels and media outlets are no longer the best avenues for reaching buyers – they’re holdovers from the age of rented attention. Consumers are watching television to watch a show, not your message. And given that your message is packaged nicely in short three-minute breaks, it’s easier than ever for consumers to simply tune out. Personalized, individual conversations are the only means to connecting with them in significant ways.
The good news is there have never been better ways to do this. Your brand can interact on Twitter with consumers, and know if the @jonmiller you’re talking to is the same Jon Miller who bought your product two months ago and has been browsing your product pages again. Emails can be sent out based on behavioral triggers, not blasted out based on demographic segments.
Regardless of time or place, consumers expect this kind of experience – one that’s streamlined, consistent, and, most importantly, relevant to them as individuals. The marketing teams that succeed will keep seamless track of buyer purchasing history, communication preferences, and behavior.
Help Marketing Automation Help You
Marketers need to measure the effectiveness of their marketing investments. Budget cuts stemming from the 2008 recession raised the expectation for measurement across all channels, but that is now especially true for marketing spending, which historically was derided as arts and crafts money. Marketing automation gives you the ability to measure and prove impact on revenue and ultimately elevate marketing’s strategic role in your organization. Instead of being a cost center, marketing automation allows marketers to accurately forecast exactly what they’ll be adding to the company’s top line next quarter.
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