Just a few short years ago, inbound marketing was much more straightforward – a company’s website was the central point of demand generation, and marketers cast a wide net of emails to the database to drive more Web traffic, boost engagement and increase revenue.
Fast forward to today and mobile, tablets and social have completely transformed the buyer landscape, and the way marketers reach their customers and prospects. Fortunately, the advent of sophisticated marketing technologies has made this easier for marketing departments of all sizes. However, technology is only as good as the individual using it. With all of the advances made in technology, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. But, you should be ramping up your capabilities in order to facilitate engaging your contacts on a personal, 1:1 level. To fully maximize your marketing technology, break your plan into three pieces: vision, skills and data.
Marketing automation is much less effective if you don’t have a strategic vision and a set of goals around how the technology will work with and affect your overall marketing strategy. When discussing your approach, make sure you have executive buy-in. To do this, start at the top – include your CMO (or the highest ranking marketing leader) — and brief them so they understand that using marketing automation and data to change Web and email content is not only possible, but will greatly improve the customer and prospect experience. Remember, in conversations with the C-suite, numbers speak volumes, so be sure to include information on how these changes will positively affect your company’s bottom line.
You’ll also want to evaluate the way you currently manage leads, including scoring and nurturing approaches. Remember to put the customer first, thinking how you can tailor your messages to deliver what benefits them the most. Don’t forget to determine how you’ll measure your success. Establish key metrics and benchmarks you want to achieve, and make sure your marketing objectives are in line with the overall company goals.
More savvy buyers and advances in marketing technology have both changed how marketing departments are configured and how the group interacts with other departments within the company. In this new marketing department, you’ll want a team of creative thinkers and systems-thinking experts who together can leverage technology to drive marketing efficiency and ROI. Consider having teams with the following responsibilities: demand generation, product marketing, marketing communications and marketing operations. Also consider how more sophisticated marketing technology will affect other departments, including sales, product development and IT. Don’t forget to keep an open and honest dialogue with these other teams – alignment requires buy-in from everyone in the company.
Marketing automation helps you drive incredibly relevant and targeted content, but only if the data you have on your contacts is strong. If you don’t have great data on your customers and prospects, you become much more limited in how you’ll be able to deploy automation technology. Consider every way your customers interact with you – whether it’s on the Web, on a social channel or within an email – and how you can capture and integrate these behaviors into your marketing efforts. In some cases, a third party might be able to help you augment your databases and fast-path your way to more comprehensive information on your targets.
For a more in-depth look at how you can harness the power of vision, data and skills in your marketing strategy, check out this recent white paper.
1) Video: “Center of Excellence: How It Can Help Your Marketing Organization”
2) Blog: “Measuring the ROI of Marketing Automation”
3) Tip Sheet: “10 Ways to Make the Case for Marketing Automation”