Marketing technology continues to evolve, with a new tool or platform debuting seemingly each week. While marketers seek to provide benefits or value for your digital transformation or marketing strategy, it can hard to pinpoint what you need — and how exactly to go about it, due to having so many options to choose from.
With so much to do within B2B marketing — including more research, segmentation, and personalization — marketers’ available time seems to be shrinking by the minute. This leaves you with a dilemma: either expand your marketing talent pool or invest further in technology.
The answer is to add marketing automation, which may enable you to add more talent later. Here’s why there’s genuine value in embracing marketing automation — beyond simply allowing you to do more with fewer resources.
What Marketing Automation Can Take On
While marketing automation can’t — and shouldn’t — tackle every task on a marketer’s plate, there are plenty of ways automated tools can give marketers more time and focus for the most important aspects of their jobs.
1. Effective Marketing Task Management
Let’s start with one of the most compelling reasons for investing in marketing automation: These platforms and tools help you organize and oversee many tasks that are often complicated and time-consuming.
For example, with CRM platforms, you can automate social media posts, content marketing and email campaigns, forms and landing pages, segmentation, lead management, and more. Automating these tasks helps you stay on top of attracting and nurturing leads, capturing critical data, and even engaging with your target audience and customer base.
Because there are so many inbound and outbound strategies, platforms, channels, processes, and information, marketing automation can help you do the heavy lifting, fill in skills gaps, and provide a way for you to focus on high-level creativity, planning, and engagement.
2. Integration Capabilities
Marketing automation brings so many aspects of your marketing strategy and technology together through seamless integration. This includes a marketing automation platform’s ability to work with your CRM platform, content management system, and more. You’ll get more out of each of these systems together than if you had them separate and doing their own work.
Bringing them together allows you to use the data from one area to influence another, removing data silos in one fell swoop. Attribution and customer journey tracking can also be made easier with integrated systems. Having real ROI can directly impact your budget and spend in real time.
3. Balancing Out Competitive Advantage
There was a time when a small business had no way to compete with larger companies’ marketing efforts — the size of the smaller team and budget was dwarfed by the enormous resources of these larger enterprises. In this way, marketing automation was a game changer, allowing a marketing team of one to go head-to-head with a marketing team of 50, thanks to automated tools that do the work of many.
A lesser-talked-about benefit is that access to these kinds of resources heightens a smaller company’s professional appearance. Professionalism and access to sophisticated resources can result in a company gaining an opportunity — and a lack of either can eliminate that chance.
4. Increased Accountability
The powerful technology within marketing automation platforms provides a clear picture of what’s working and who’s working. The software provides insights into the leads captured and what’s been done to turn those leads into sales. There’s no escaping the findings of such software, pushing all departments to be accountable for their actions.
Overall, this can effectively raise performance levels and results. It can also eliminate redundancies or overlapping efforts.
5. Multichannel Targeting
With thousands of customers all using different channels and often switching when and where they can be found, it helps to have automated tools that can do the tracking and outreach for you. You can use these tools to target them with a cross-marketing campaign for email, text, and social simultaneously.
6. Enhanced Customer Experience
At first, it may be hard to imagine that the act of automating interactions, thanks to software and tools like chatbots, would improve the customer experience over adding more human interaction. However, customers enjoy how it easy it is to get information when and where they want it. A human touch is warm, but it can also delay.
Plus, being able to personalize a user’s website visit and send behavior-related emails that match her mood will further engage a target and make her feel good about interacting with your brand. A company I worked with added behavior-oriented tracks for visitors who searched specific terms on its site. Based on how the user phrased her request, she’d be placed in a “funny,” “straightforward,” or “gentle guidance” category. This personalization resulted in a 22 percent higher click-through rate for emails, no small feat.
7. Upsells and Cross-Sells
The increased amount of data from marketing automation can give you more insights into how and what you can sell to target audience members. Besides telling you what needs to be done, marketing automation software can handle upsells like reorder reminders, personalized product presentations, and gift guides.
The software can provide campaigns related to other products that each customer might be interested in based on previous orders and interests (think of Amazon’s suggested products). This requires no extra effort from marketers but may capture additional revenue from loyal customers.
No More Cold Calling and Guesswork
With such detailed data that includes everything you need to know about your target, you can stop guessing — and making cold calls. Instead, you’ll have marketing content delivered when a target wants to see it, containing relevant information only. Plus, you’ll be able to track and monitor the actions taken by people after each interaction.
You’re constantly looking for ways to improve your marketing efforts and meet changing customer expectations, and marketing automation enables you to do that. Knowing precisely what needs to change can help you respond more quickly, minimizing any impact on your audience’s experience with your brand. If you want to reach your target audience in a relevant way, you have to embrace marketing automation — or fall behind.
Use Oracle’s Marketing Automation Assessment Tool to see how you stack up against your peers in terms of preparedness for the future of marketing automation.
Serenity Gibbons is a former assistant editor at the Wall Street Journal and a New York University alumna living in California. She is the local unit lead for NAACP in Northern California with a mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. She enjoys writing and interviewing people who are making a difference in the world.