Customers demand relevant personalised engagements with brands. They expect a brand to remember them and their previous interactions (such as sales messaging and complaints) and purchases across any channel and device. Advanced companies do this in real time serving relevant messaging that encourage customers or prospects along their purchase journey. The most innovative use collective and/or individual learned predictive behavioural data to serve highly targeted messages based on historic data that serve up a specific message to encourage a sale for example, or remind of free postage rates.
If you want business growth sooner or later you will need to consider what automation productivity tools you will implement to efficiently win new customers and grow existing ones and deliver on their demanding service expectations.
Establishing automation requires close cooperation between Marketing and Sales. What resources, tools and skills are needed? They need to agree; the lead scoring criteria; what behaviours such as repeated website visits, qualify as ‘hand raisers’ or ‘MQL’.
Plus the nature of the content to use at each stage in the customer journey with each target segments such as a blog post, whitepaper or a webinar. That’s a lot of work so be realistic about when its all operational and feeding through full data. Consider a pilot to provide proof before a full roll out.
I have been involved in the evaluation of the major marketing automation suppliers, I prefer Hubspot  for simplicity and Marketo for enterprise level above Eloqua for easy implementation and SLAs. Key considerations are the size of your company, the level of sophistication you intend to migrate too, so which features are required, and your resources. I have partnered with Sales and Customer Service to implement Salesforce to manage a new company wide lead management and CRM process for B2C and B2B customers. One of the huge benefits of Salesforce is that its so easy to integrate into your other software tools, to enable that elusive one customer view, Pardot is their marketing automation tool. Act-on, are another alternative potentially a good fit for smaller companies.
The other major benefit of marketing automation is internal reporting, specifically to demonstrate the business impact of marketing spend and the performance of individual channels. If smart decisions are taken from this data it enables faster GROWTH. Marketing needs to present itself as a revenue driver, not a cost centre to the business, so stay clear of CPA/CPL and move to strategy KPIs like ‘pipe to spend ratio = 15:1’ or those below. Set anticipated targets for all activity so you know what actions to take.
 Strategic KPIs: revenue, % pipeline converted, acquisition and loyalty, marketing ROI and forecasting.
 Tactical KPIs: users’ behaviours within each channel.
Measuring marketing ROI is still challenging but there are ways to do this. Multi-touch is superior to single/ first touch attribution. The recommendation is to weight all touch points equally unless you have a very sophisticated system. According to Marketo insight about 58% of pipeline is driven by inbound and nurturing, paid programmes about 42%.

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