Part of obtaining a consumer’s Interest in your company is making sure you have the right tools to address all his or her needs. Engagement marketing isn’t the same without marketing automation.
What is it?
Marketing automation is a software that enables your company to automate repeated tasks, prompted by time or a cue.
This ensures that you reduce the amount of mistakes and increase engagement levels with your customers without giving up too much of your time.
What it isn’t
Often, there are rumors going around that marketing automation is:
- Another name for email marketing. Actually, it encompasses a bunch of other campaigns from all channels like direct mail, social media, newsletters, and content.
- Something that only benefits marketing. Yes, it does benefit marketing, but sales get a boost in their productivity, too.
- A way to send spam. In bad marketing, it may be true. In good marketing, it’s a way to engage with the customers at the right time.
- An answer to a problem with no effort. The software can get you started, but you’ll need a strategy with it.
What does marketing automation software actually do?
- Productivity tools. You can plan and report sales calls, expenses, orders, inventory, and statuses. Managing distributors, leads and accounts are also an added bonus.
- Direct mail & fulfillment. You can merge, clean, and maintain mailing lists, along with customizing mailing inventory like envelopes and labels.
- Telemarketing. In addition to all the merging, cleaning, and maintaining of your lists, you can track and forward leads, make prompted calls with scripts, and so on.
- Sales & marketing management. Reports for automated sales, forecasts, activity, territories, and market analysis all come with the package.
- Other features. Here’s some more:
- Automated email marketing
- Optimized Landing pages
- Better campaign management
- Great prediction & scoring
- Easier lead management
- Seamless CRM integration
- Engaging social marketing
- Accurate marketing analytics
Harvard Business Review coins the term “marketing and sales productivity (MSP) systems.” Marketing automation falls under that category. With it, they drafted up a sample flow chart that a hypothetical automation company would use for handling leads:
How do I get started?
Depending on your needs, there are a few options you can explore.
Hubspot. Great for smaller businesses because they touch on a little bit of everything, but doesn’t get so complicated with the little details. You can call it the simplified all-in-one tool for marketing automation. Starts at $200/month.
Act-On. The best things about it: intuitive layout and easy to use. The templates may be slightly lacking and may start off as tedious to setup.
InfusionSoft. They have a mandatory kickstarter package ($2,000) that turns out to be extremely valuable to your start in marketing automation. Starts at $199/month.
Medium to Large Businesses
Marketo. We think it’s the best option to go for marketing automation (even Woopra thinks so). It’s an exhaustive all-in-one tool. The premium of Hubspot, giving you a rich set of features from setting up email campaigns to lead management. That does mean the learning curve is a bit higher. Starts at $895/month.
Oracle Eloqua. Eloqua is an all-inclusive software that includes many features that Marketo has to offer. The drawbacks? Harder to implement, has a cap of 50 users (whereas Marketo has unlimited) and does not support integration with PPC/Adwords for better metrics. Starts at $2,000/month.
Pardot. Although it may be a step up from the basic marketing automation tools, it somewhat lacks in the social media and marketing realm, and only offers simple lead nurturing. Lead sourcing can be problematic as they only identify from a single source. Starts at $1,000/month.
Why is it so important for productivity?
15% to 35% of total corporate costs consist of purely marketing and sales efforts. Using that budget efficiently and effectively for maximum ROI is detrimental to keeping afloat in any competitive industry.
A research conducted by OMI reveals a lot of digital marketing skills that are lacking within many Fortune 500 companies. They’re the ones that keep the bosses up at night.
Analytics (37%), mobile (29%), and content-related marketing (27%) seem to slightly trump the other categories in talent gaps. Essentially, those who were surveyed believed those skills were essential for their marketing goals, but many of them feel their teams are lacking.
Marketing automation addresses a lot of the issues, especially with content and analytics.
According to Harvard Business Review, “increasing marketing productivity even a small amount can have a great impact on the bottom line.” And they outlined the top two productivity hacks that come with adopting a marketing automation system.
- Increased efficiency of your sales and marketing force.
- Improved executive decision making for the marketing and sales teams.
Marketo outlines the value and ROI of marketing automation through this nifty infographic they put together below. The bottom line? More pipeline, productive Sales reps, and higher revenue.
It’s not just automation, it’s nurturing your leads.
Still a little confused with the idea of marketing automation? That’s okay. Give us a ping and we’ll help you out on a 1-on-1 level.