Whether you are an independent, a startup, an SME or a large company, the commercial and marketing issues are the same:
- How to generate find new customers?
- How to generate qualified leads?
- How to retain customers?
- How to encourage renewing a purchase?
And all this of course by optimizing the acquisition costs as much as possible and by developing the quality of the contact. This reasoning is - and must - be common to all businesses, regardless of size and activity. Believe us, we work for many industries and not one of our clients is looking for something else commercially.
Without replacing the role of marketing and sales, there are now solutions to manage and automate functions and marketing tasks to focus on missions that maintain the customer relationship and develop marketing. These solutions are part of the marketing automation tools.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is activities and marketing tasks that are scripted and automated, including from events. These tools have been developed with the development of digital marketing and can automate all or part of the customer relationship: traffic generation, lead acquisition, lead nurturing, sales, and loyalty if we must summarize the customer journey.
Requirements to be equipped with an Automatic marketing solution
A marketing automation strategy requires having previously carried out actions and investments in terms of marketing and digital marketing.
Have an internet site
this is the basis! A website must answer at least the following questions: what service/product is proposed by this company, to whom it is addressed, how to get it.
Your site needs to be optimized for conversion
Whether merchant or non-merchant, your website must be optimized for SEO and to transform the visitor (ie to encourage him to contact your company). To check if your site is "working well" or if there are improvements to be made (and which ones), do not hesitate to have it audited!
Have a base of contacts and the most qualified customers possible
if you already have a CRM, go to the next step! Otherwise, if like many companies, your contacts are scattered between salespeople, managers, and associates, each managing an excel file or Outlook contacts, or the contacts are distributed in different software, you will need to consolidate and qualify all these contacts as much as possible. A repulsive and tedious job that can be outsourced to pros.
Choose Your Marketing Automation Solution
Here we are! And there, welcome to the jungle of marketing automation tools. Software publishers have understood the potential of this market and are very likely to offer solutions.
What can be automated with marketing automation?
Do you have this question? You are right. This question seems obvious, but the answer is relatively complex. Purists will say "everything". We are more nuanced ... Marketing automation allows automating - from predefined scenarios - actions and marketing conversations. These actions and tasks are triggered by events and behaviors recorded by the automation software (we talk about it later, patience!) And aim to trigger new actions at the contact.
Here is a list of actions and tasks that can be automated by these solutions. Not all of them offer all of its features and you do not necessarily need all these features. However, you will know what is possible with these tools.
Automate the management of these emailing campaigns
- Segmentation of contact databases
- Customization of emailing’s
- Display tests on different terminals
- Triggered emails: emails sent automatically to the occurrence of a defined event (e.g. sale of an online product, subscription to the newsletter)
- Sending scripted emails according to defined behaviors when receiving emails (opening and clicking mainly)
- Tracking performance and tracking
Web content creation
- Creating forms to collect leads (qualified contacts)
- Landing page creation (site pages for collecting leads)
- Creation and follow-up of marketing campaigns
- Customizing the displayed content according to the profile of the visitor
- Performance monitoring
- Creating calls to action
- A / B testing
CRM and lead management
- Marketing database
- Segmentation of contacts
- Track online behavior of contacts in database: navigation, page views, click links, open emails, etc. All actions of the contact are identified and recorded. This helps to identify his expectations and his degree of maturity in the customer relationship.
- Lead scoring and lead nurturing
- Automation of workflows (lead lifecycle workflows)
- Integration possible with many existing CRM (in cloud mode)
- Analysis and monitoring of sales channel performances
Social Network Management
- Programming and publishing messages
- Notification Tracking
- Multiple profile management
- Performance Analysis
In practice, what does it give?
Here are some very common and easy-to-use examples of marketing automation.
- Case 1: Send a confirmation email or a discount code to a new registrant to your newsletter.
- Case 2: identify a contact (customers, prospects, subscribers to your newsletter) visiting a specific page of your site that triggers the sending a few days later an email.
- Case 3: Identify a basket abandonment - on a walking site - and send a reminder email with or without a promotional code to encourage the resumption of the purchase.
- Case 4: Plan and publish communications on its social networks centrally and automatically.
- Case 5: send a sequence of marketing emails to a new subscriber to your newsletter or following a purchase.
These are fairly simple examples and other more complex scenarios - with many conditions - can be imagined to animate and automate the customer journey.
You have a good idea of the value of using marketing automation and you would like to put this in place for your business.
Is it possible? Yes.
Which tool to choose? We talk about it in the next part.
What Marketing Automation Solutions For Your Business?
However, My Marketing Manager has selected and ranked the best-known solutions for you. This gives you an overview of the scope of the offer and the possibilities, as well as the budgets to be planned: from zero to several thousand euros.
Attention, non-exhaustive list but which will give you concrete tracks and which will save you time!
Probably the best known is an inbound marketing platform. It has multiple content distribution features: blog, email marketing, etc. Suitable for SMEs and large companies.
A direct sponsor of Hubspot, Marketo delivers targeted content based on specific events and across multiple channels.
Sending messages and personalized to customers based on their interactions with your business. Easy integration with your website or mobile application.
Scalable pricing that makes it accessible to self-employed, small and medium-sized businesses.
Customer.io is a widely used growth hacking tool.
Scenarization of sales paths, qualification of leads and automation of communications according to behaviors, Infusionsoft is perfectly adapted to the needs of companies selling online. A scoring feature makes it possible to classify the contacts and then to orient one's strategy towards the highest rated ones or on the contrary, "the least active ones to conquer".
Automatic sending of a message according to the reaction of the contacts to the emails, tracking the contacts on the website and sending messages targeted by the behavior, sending transactional messages.
A marketing automation platform that has features very similar to MailChimp. Its a plus is that it is available in French which can be useful if you do not speak English well.
- Click Funnels
- Get Response
Why Is Marketing Automation So Important?
Marketing automation is being used by more and more businesses and many are planning to take the leap. Its strengths: boosting business while saving money, but what do the numbers say? Is automation cost-effective? If yes, how?
Big Fish First, Others Follow
On the American continent, pioneers, big companies, market leaders have been using marketing automation for a while. Europe, Asia, smaller companies and B2C traders are slowly getting there.
- Americans as leaders. In North and South America, 63% of companies use marketing automation, in Europe 39% and in Pacific Asia 36% (Peper Global 2014 surveys)
- B2B leads.80% of the largest B2B companies use marketing automation (Gleanster 2015) and 63% of B2B communicators spend 10 to 29% of their marketing budget.
- The little ones are just starting up. 10% of small and medium-sized enterprises have started marketing automation
- The biggest companies are the most experienced in the field. The leading companies in their field are 67% more likely to use automation (Aberdeen Group 2014) and have been for several years (Gleanster 2013). The most profitable small businesses use 7 times more automation than others.
- The platoon heads. 63% of the most successful companies use marketing automation.
Marketing Automation Is Effective
In view of the statistics, the advantages of marketing automation are better conversion, more leads and higher profits.
- The value of money. 57% of respondents believe that automation is cheap or profitable (VB Insight 2015)
- Visible benefits. 74% of companies that practice automation say it is useful or very useful (B2Bmarketing.net & Circle Reseach 2015). 78% of communicators say that the main reason for their increase in profits is marketing automation (The Lenskold Group 2013).
- More leads. B2B communicators believe that the best asset of marketing automation is the number of leads it generates (Pepper Global 2013, LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group 2015).
- 80% of marketing automation users have reported increased lead generation (VB Insight 2015). 67% of B2B communicators saw their number of leads increased by 10%. 15% of them show a 30% increase (DemandGen 2014).
- Conversion up. 77% of marketing automation users report better conversion (VB Insight 2015). The best users of automation have, on average, a conversion rate 60% higher than the others (PR20 / 20 2014).
- Messages of better quality. 27% of recent users of automation believe that their messages respond more effectively to the expectations of recipients. With practice, things are improving since after two years of use the figure rises to 74% (B2Bmarketing.net & Circle Research 2015).
- Quantifiable objectives. 63% of participants felt that one of the best things about marketing automation is setting measurable goals.
- Other strengths of automation are the shortening of the sales process (23.9% of respondents) and an increase in website traffic (21.1% of respondents) (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group 2015).
Marketing Automation, The Answer To Several Requests
Automation is used by both B2C and B2B companies. They tend to focus on measurable objectives, sales, targeted and multi-channel.
The most significant features of marketing automation are:
- Perform routine tasks (Redeye & TFM & A Insights 2014) and develop your marketing (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group 2015).
- Improve the customer experience (Redeye and TFM & A Insights 2014).
- Better email marketing (Redeye and TFM & A Insights 2014, Regalix 2014).
- Prospect Management (Redeye and TFM & A Insights 2014) and their nutrition (Regalix 2014)
- Multi-channel marketing (Redeye & TFM & A Insights 2014) and aggregation of data from multiple sources (Regalix 2014).
- Birthday messages abandoned basket reminders and other customer communications (eMarketer 2013).
- Acquiring new customers and customer management (ACT-ON & Gleanster Research 2015).
The Weaknesses Of Automation
Marketing automation has proven effective, so why is not everyone benefiting?
- The lack of means: the reason most frequently mentioned by the smallest companies is the cost of automation (Gleanser 2015; Marketo & Ascend2 2015) and the idea of the resources needed to implement it (82%) (Gleanster 2015)
- Lack of practice: Another reason is a lack of computer literacy and a poor estimate of achievable profits (Redeye & TFM & A Insights 2014). The most difficult part is the content creation (75% of respondents) and the creation of campaigns (64% of respondents) (Gleanster 2015).
- Strict processes and strategies: According to a study by Aberdeen Group (2014), the main reasons why companies do not want to engage in marketing automation are that practices and processes are not quite mature in the breasts of these same companies. A lack of automation strategy is also common (Marketo & Ascend2 2015). 57% of respondents believe that their marketing infrastructure is divided into several channels, poorly integrated or completely non-existent (Forrester Research and Oracle 2014).
- Other reasons mentioned in order of importance: 1) lack of qualified employees 2) lack of suitable content for automation 3) difficulty in using automation 4) too little information provided by salespeople regarding leads 5) poor combination of sales and marketing goals 6) lack of analytics and data management tools 7) compatibility or usage issues (Pepper Global 2014).
Sometimes the culprit can be the provider :
- 61% of respondents believe that the implementation of marketing automation was complicated (B2Bmarketing.net & Circle Research 2015).
- 44% of communicators say they were not satisfied with their automation tool (Autopilot 2015) and 85% felt that they could not take full advantage of the tool (SiriusDecisions 2014).
- The main reasons for the discontent are that setting up the system takes too much time and is too slow to master (Autopilot 2015).
Successful Marketing Automation
Gleanster Reseach (2015) has a list of prerequisites for effective automation, here is our selection:
- The simplicity. Those who succeed in the field rely on pre-made models, ranking leads, integration with existing systems, and then gradually adapt them to fully fulfill their purpose.
- Transferring leads to salespeople is essential - 95% of automation users do it.
- Sales and marketing teams must work together. Before starting automation, define common concepts and goals to avoid misunderstandings.
- Do not try to analyze all the data from the beginning. Start with 2-3 types or segments of customers, increase thereafter.
- You need content, not necessarily in large quantities initially. Create qualitative content that you are sure will interest the customer (no commercial content), such as a guide or a white paper. Expand later.
- Transfer the most important customer data to the existing system and then use it wisely.
Also published on Medium.