Posts tagged Marketing Automation
VISIBLE BENEFITS OF MARKETING AUTOMATION
One of the biggest benefits of marketing campaign automation is that it reduces and eliminates a multitude of repetitive tasks associated with the marketing process. Marketing automation software can easily divide and classify customers, providing customer segmentation and subsequent campaign management. This type of automation simplifies identifying target audiences and measuring the efficiency of allocated resources.
Beyond segmentation, marketing automation software can be used to communicate with prospects in a variety of ways. An email management campaign can be developed to send pre-formatted messages and content about products and services. Marketing automation software can be used to generate responses that further segment the targeted audiences, and send additional nurturing communications geared to meet the needs of specific individuals within each group.
Even when prospects do not respond, marketing automation software can identify where prospects drop off, and help retain them with ongoing targeted messages. Marketing automation software is the best solution for developing and implementing email marketing, direct mail and other channels to manage sales campaigns that drive revenue. Sales benefits of marketing campaign automation include increased lead conversion rates, increased average sale, increased overall sales and better forecast accuracy.
HIDDEN BENEFITS OF MARKETING AUTOMATION
One of the biggest hidden benefits of marketing campaign automation is that it allows marketers to do less and be more. In recent years marketers and organizations have grappled with the challenge of needing to reach thousands, if not millions, of prospects utilizing integrated communications that reach across multiple channels at numerous times. Beyond the dizzying magnitude of this task alone, these prospects must be communicated with in a manner that is personalized and unique to their needs and preferences. Without marketing campaign automation, meeting these objectives would require an immense allocation of time and man hours. However, by automating these processes, marketers are able to focus more time and resources on fine-tuning existing campaigns for maximum efficiency and implementing additional marketing efforts.
Management Guru Peter Drucker once wrote “Marketing is the distinguishing unique function of the business.” OK, no pressure there. Yet, if you were to ask any marketer or their boss what marketing entails they will tell you that marketing encompasses much, much more. Marketing is responsible for defining the business identity and creating a need for the businesses products and services in the minds of the targeted audiences. While consistently remaining under budget and within deadlines. In addition to streamlining processes and maximizing budgets, marketing campaign automation takes the guess work out of many marketing functions and as a result can provide the reliable benefit of lasting stress relief.
Marketing campaign automation provides an additional hidden benefit, which is perhaps one of the most important objectives of any business, and that is to have happier, more satisfied customers. Marketing automation can eliminate frustrating communications that fail to meet customer needs, and it can also help marketers anticipate customer needs and respond accordingly. In addition, marketing automation programs can reward customers and keep them coming back for more. Marketing automation can help marketers respond to customer needs in real-time, unlike with manual systems where a time delay can often lead to an unhappy customer.
In his new book Digital Disruption, James McQuivey, a Forrester principal analyst, explains that technological advances are creating opportunities for more people to meet more customer needs than ever before at lower costs– and that is the essence of digital disruption.
While some businesses have been digitally disrupted, the ones listed below have been completely transformed by the digital age of media that has evolved over the past 20 years.
- The music business (YouTube, iTunes)
- Banking and insurance (online banking, photo deposits, digital signatures)
- Photography (film is nearly extinct)
- Retailing (bricks and mortar are now optional)
- Travel agencies (Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak)
- Newspaper and magazine publishing (online subscriptions)
- Telecoms (home phones are going extinct, VOIP)
According to McQuivey, digital disruption is about to completely change how companies do business. Digital tools and digital platforms are driving the cost of innovation down to nearly zero, causing at least 10 times as many innovators to rush into your market while operating at one-tenth the cost that you do.
This is one reason companies are hiring or stealing the brightest digital innovators in the marketplace like Jeff Hammerbacher, data entrepreneur, who was one of Facebook’s first employees and who is now the co-founder of Cloudera (a Silicon Valley software start-up).
IT, app and software geniuses are in demand today because of the need for companies to protect themselves against digital disruption. Companies needed the brightest and future-forward thinkers on board to retool their businesses to stay ahead of the just-in-time needs of their customers.
3 Ways Your Company Can Stay Ahead of Digital Disruption
Ever-advancing technology forces any company from a lube shop to an international airline to leverage technology to speak one-on-one with its customers and deliver competitive costs, convenient services and products that exceed their expectations.
Personalize Your Interactions. Using well-oiled and captured data enables you as a savvy marketer to send customer communications that are relevant and personalized. Whether you use highly personalized email or variable data print pieces your marketing can be extremely targeted. Consumers welcome personalized offers. They love that you know their likes and market accordingly. Are you using data-driven marketing to optimize your appeal to individual customers?
The Need for Speed. Real-time interactions separate the amateur from the pros in marketing and product delivery. Just look at Oreo’s response to the Super Bowl blackout as lesson #1.
Integrate and Automate. If you haven’t already integrated your marketing channels and platforms, you’re already at risk of digital disruption. Get all your customer contact points talking to one another seamlessly and then tap the power of marketing automation to extend your reach and shorten the time to market. Using sales force automation tools and your CRM (customer relationship management) system you can marketing in a trigger based fashion for maximum customer engagement.
If this post frightens you, perhaps it should. Talk to any CEO or CMO and ask them about their top concerns with the business and chances are disruption and marketing effectiveness will be in the top five. The good news is there are industry experts and talent on hand to help you transform and deliver. Unfortunately this is an endless process.
**This is a re-post from Mail Print’s early days of blogging. Our readership has grown quite a bit since then, so I wanted to resurrect an early post. Enjoy!
Marketing Asset Management. Print Automation. Marketing Automation. Communications Portals. Distributed Marketing. Web-To-Print. Confused yet?
Wouldn’t it be nice if everything fit in a nice, neat package that is easy to understand and explain? In the world of marketing communications management, many people would think the above terms all mean the same thing. I actually think they don’t. I think there are so many terms because each means something a little different:
Marketing Asset Management:
Focuses on creating an online library of digital marketing assets such as logos, templates, stock photography, videos and radio ads for use by centralized marketing staff or a network of remote users.
A term coined to define organizations that have many local markets that are marketed to differently, whether marketing strategy and execution is controlled by a central marketing department or the local stores and locations.
The ability to order printed materials through an online printing management system. Typically, this reduces a company’s inventory waste and improves the customization available on the printed pieces.
A central repository for ordering and downloading all types of marketing communications and assets, including email, logos, direct mail, radio commercials, fliers, buck slips, etc. Marketing Communications Portalsare very useful for distributed marketing organizations.
Eliminates human intervention in creating printed pieces. This could be obtained via a web-to-print application or communications portal that also employs print automation, or could be a standalone system that creates printed pieces automatically based upon data streams and live data feeds.
The process of triggering marketing communications to a specific individual or audience segment without human intervention. This differs from print automation in that the automated marketing campaigns could include email, direct mail and other channels, by themselves or combined.
I’m sure there are many more terms and buzz words that I haven’t noted here. Just like any rapidly advancing technology solution, new terms are created every day. The most important thing to understand is what you really need in a solution, regardless of what it is called.
The Land of the Giants was a 1970 television show about a space ship that gets lost passing through a strange cloud and lands on an alternate Earth-type planet where the inhabitants are 12 times the size of its passengers. The show tapped the common conflict between the underdog and the giants (or corporate goliaths) of the world.
Small and mid-size businesses, though 12 times smaller than their competitors, can portray themselves as big or giant businesses through the use of tools like email marketing and marketing automation (MA) in today’s digital world.
MA or Email Marketing – Aren’t They the Same Thing?
To appear bigger, first you must pick your technology. Lauren Carlson at Software Advice finds many buyers mistakenly think that MA is a fancy name for email marketing. As a result these buyers evaluate vendors like Eloqua and Marketo (both of which provide a nice ROI calculator for bigger companies) against email services like MailChimp and Constant Contact that often support smaller organizations.
While both use email as the primary vehicle to talk to prospects or customers, email marketing keeps in touch with the prospect and tracks interactions based on a single campaign. Unfortunately email marketing stops there. Marketing automation follows customer interaction through all marketing touches and triggers appropriate messages based on this information without the need for manual triggering.
Marketing Automation can go a step deeper by tracking the entire chain of interactions that buyers have with a company and helps you make intelligent actions based on these behaviors. Furthermore, MA systems don’t just track – they act. Based on what your prospects do, the system can automatically:
- Start a series of emails over the next few weeks
- Send that prospect to a different web page based on his or her lead score
- Or have a sales person reach out if the prospect is at a critical point in the decision making process.
Email tools don’t segment audiences or respond in this way without manual intervention. See the chart below from Lauren’s blog post, “Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation: Which is Right for You?” for a breakdown of what you should be getting from your email marketing or marketing automation system.
|Features||Email Marketing||Marketing Automation|
|Create & send emails|
|Automation & triggers|
|Reporting & analytics|
|Mass email delivery|
|Web behavior capture|
|Social media management|
Can a Small to Mid Size Business Afford Email Marketing or a MA System?
The price of email marketing is based on either the number of emails sent or the size of your mailing list – usually running less than $100 per month. According to Tom O’Leary of GroupMail, email marketing continued to provide a $40.56 ROI for every dollar spent in 2011.
The price for marketing automation systems on the low end start at $200 a month and go up to $1000 and sometimes much more each month.
While a larger investment, if it helps you close sales faster or land more accounts it is a consideration to take your one giant step closer to moving from an underdog to a big dog.
Read more in Lauren Carlson’s blog post, “Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation: Which is Right for You?”
In the 1988 baseball movie Bull Durham, Crash (Kevin Costner) mentors Nuke (Tim Robbins) about what clichés to recite to the media after a big win. Though not the brightest bull in the pin, Nuke, executes beautifully upon pitching his first no-run win in the majors by saying, “I’m just happy to make a contribution and be part of this team.”
Cursory clichés or generic reports don’t work in the world of marketing where marketing management is a must. Campaigns must be measured by something as concrete as hits, runs, and RBIs in baseball. Surprisingly with all the measurement tools available – landing pages, QR codes®, Facebook likes, Tweets, trackable phone numbers, and Google analytics – a number of marketing programs are still falling short when it comes to reported metrics.
I recently called a dozen advertisers randomly to learn if they would be willing to share their return on investment or success around a specific marketing effort. I was not surprised to learn that seven out of 10 had no idea what they were recouping from the thousands of dollars each month they were investing.
With marketing budgets shrinking to around 5% of sales, justifying the financial contribution marketing delivers seems imperative. However, recent research conducted by Lenskold and the Pedowitz Group showed that just one in three B2B marketers worldwide report financial-contribution metrics to senior management.
Financial metrics might consist of measurements such as:
- Return on Investment
- Average revenue per closed sale
- Marketing-generated opportunity closed
Why are 66% of marketers not measuring how their marketing efforts are contributing to the bottom line? Why are those that are measuring not reporting it to management? Perhaps they need a marketing ally to automate and track their campaigns so the burden is reduced and results heightened.
Sometimes just breaking down a process in simple steps can put you way ahead of the competition. To use another sports analogy, Olympic track and field legend, Edwin Moses, went nine years and nine months without losing the 400-meter hurdles. He accomplished this by breaking down the race to specific steps and eliminating waste.
While Moses’ competitors blasted out of the blocks and took 13 steps before jumping the first hurdle, he used his 9 ft. 9 in. stride to eliminate one step between each hurdle – therefore crushing his competitors for nine years.
One of our clients did nearly the same thing by analyzing its performance around employee benefits catalogs that weren’t being personalized and were taking 7-10 days to get into the hands of their prospects. By tapping into variable data printing, this Fortune 500 provider of insurance products was able to personalize more than 1300 fields in their product catalogs around age, salary, compensation-related variables and they were able to automate the process to ensure that more than 352,000 were printed without error. Now they get catalogs into prospect hands in 2-4 days, error-free, and with the specific data they need to make instant enrollment decisions. This effort increased policy enrollments by 5%.
When B2B marketers fail to connect financial metrics to marketing and operations, they fail to connect some pivotal dots that CEOs and CFOs are watching.
What can you do to sharpen your pencil, tie your marketing campaigns to both marketing and financial measurement results, connect important financial dots, and put better metrics in play?
- Take a webinar on analytics
- Read up on data-driven marketing
- Download ROI spreadsheets
- Attend quality control meetings outside of marketing to learn the big picture and see what programs or tweaks are needed to make a difference for your company
The most indispensable players on any team are the ones making a true financial contribution. How are you managing your marketing assets or more importantly, measuring them?
Trigger marketing is more about being a good dance partner rather than the dance invitation graphic designer. You have to get on the floor with the prospect and be a good follower so you can react when they decide to twirl or dip (i.e. pick up the phone, swipe their credit card, or drive off the lot with the new sports car).
As marketers, we’ve always been good at figuring out what to sell and how to sell it. Advertising guru Les Wunderman says, “What we often can’t figure out is when to sell.”
Precision timing is critical in an artillery strike, the New Year’s Eve ball drop, aerial acrobatics, and a lead-nurturing campaign. A trigger is a flag that cues you to send a customer an email, coupon, whitepaper, or presentation invitation at just the optimal point in time – precisely when the customer needs it to make a decision.
Yes, it takes work, trial and error, and recalibrations, but the value of trigger marketing is it delivers three to 10 times more returns to your marketing bottom line. “Triggers always work better than random outreach,” says Mail Print CEO Gina Danner. “Because you’re working in sync with their decision making process.”
Know Your Customers’ Triggers
CRM News cites six types of marketing triggers that you can use to automate your marketing campaign. By knowing, documenting and putting these triggers into a system to enable your to do market automation, you’ll be ahead of the game.
- Customer life events- Birthdays, weddings, new baby and a new car purchase are all customer events that could merit an action or message on your company’s part based on your product or service. Automating the timing of these life events is critical.
- Transaction behaviors- Does a customers credit card purchase show that they’re in the middle of a home remodel? Does their declining credit score cue you to sell them on credit counseling or credit repair services?
- Online behaviors- Is your customer hot on the trail for information that signals a future purchase? Have they hit your insurance website, downloaded a life insurance eBook, or interacted on a social network?
- Expiration Triggers- Does your product or service have a maturity date that can be used to signal a context –sensitive offer or message from a lending institution?
- Credit Bureau Triggers- If a customer has a mortgage with a bank and the bank sees them looking for other credit lending solutions it could trigger a loyalty program or retention call.
- External Triggers- Changes in market or environmental conditions may indicate it’s time to kick in a campaign to protect your company’s reputation and environmental stewardship.
Don’t Be That Salesperson
You know you hate the pushy store clerk who runs up to you as soon as you walk in the door. He/she further creates a relationship gap by blurting out all the items on sale without even asking what you came in for. She makes you want to run for the exit door by telling you even more irrelevant store information you didn’t request.
Don’t be that person when you are nurturing relationships through your sales funnel. Push marketing is out, trigger marketing is in.
Hang back in the corner instead and be an expert observer ready to answer questions or provide more information when your customer asks for it. Listen and watch for virtual body language that signals interest and the need for assistance. Let the customer raise their hand before addressing their needs.
It’s respectful, fruitful, and the new way of doing business in this customer-driven world.
Marketers want to talk to prospects and salespeople want to talk to buyers. The courting process of moving a person from the prospect to buyer stage is called lead nurturing. Unfortunately most B2B marketers aren’t very good at it. In fact, among marketing automation adopters, only about 1 in 3 believe they have an effective lead nurturing process, according to research from Bulldog Solutions/Frost & Sullivan.
Like in a courtship, nurturing involves two-way communication. To have an effective dialogue with your customers you must watch their digital body language and listen to where they are in the purchasing process.
Too often marketers make nurturing synonymous with email drip campaigns. While this tactical effort is easy to put in place, it’s not effective in converting leads because it overly simplifies communications by making it one-way and one-size-fits-all.
“Simply delivering the same message to a broad audience (mass marketing), doesn’t allow for the 1-to-1 engagement that yields the best results,” says Carlos Hidalgo with Annuitas Group.
The graph below from Left Brain Marketing shows how good marketing communications involves listening to the prospect, then sending a message, and then waiting for a customer response before tailoring the next message.
Does a lead-nurturing program seem too methodical, time consuming, or too customized to implement or manage? The increased customer appeal and response of proper nurturing brings financial gains that make the process all worthwhile. A recent study by the Aberdeen Group showed that companies who implemented a nurture-marketing program had:
- 46% increase in annual revenue
- 26% increase in lead conversions to sales
- 25% decrease in cost per lead
IBM lead nurtures its customers by dividing them into one of three categories depending on where they are in the buying cycle. Leads are categorized as ‘Learn’ (potential client at the initial stages of a project), ‘Scope’ (interested in case studies white papers, conducting research) or ‘Select’ (interested in comparing and engaging with vendor).
IBM maintains a dialogue with those in the Learn and Scope stages as they progress through the sales cycle, using targeted collateral and promoting IBM’s solutions. Once prospects reach the Select stage, they are handed over to the IBM sales team for direct engagement.
The graph below shows how marketing and sales can work in tangent nurturing prospects during the inbound and outbound marketing process.
Your dialogue with your customers sets the tone for the relationship. Customers know that how you sell them is how you will serve them in the future. So set the tone by nurturing their needs and nurturing their trust.
If you provide valuable education and information to prospects up front and as they need it, you’ll become their trusted advisor. Then you’ll be first in line for their business when they move from the data collection phase into the purchasing mode.
With patience, ongoing dialogue, and a good lead-nurturing program, you can ensure you’re not leaving 8 out of 10 prospects on the table for your competitors.
Prompted by growing demands from CEO’s and CFO’s for greater accountability, marketers have begun to focus on improving the efficiency of marketing operations. They now recognize that improving the productivity of marketing operations can be a powerful way to stretch marketing dollars. The equation is simple. The dollars saved by improving the efficiency of marketing operations can be redirected to campaigns and programs that generate increased revenues.
One area of marketing operations that offers huge opportunities for improvement involves the procurement, production, storage, and distribution of marketing collateral documents. This part of marketing operations typically produces a significant amount of waste and is filled with processes that are highly manual and inefficient.
Reduce Cost By Streamlining Marketing Processes
To eliminate these wastes and inefficiencies, a growing number of companies are implementing marketing asset management (MAM) systems that automate the process of ordering, producing, and fulfilling requests for marketing assets and materials. In the right circumstances, these systems produce substantial cost savings and streamline the processes that surround the production and handling of marketing communications. This chart depicts the streamlined process using Marketing Asset Management:
To read more about how automated marketing asset management systems work and the factors that determine whether investing in an asset management system would be a good move for your business download “Is a Marketing Asset Management System Right for My Company?”
As companies consider an investment in marketing asset management , Web to Print, communications portals, marketing automation, or other marketing systems, they eventually get to the stage where financial justification is required. Based upon years of guiding companies through these calculations, we are proud to offer a guide to help you determine the true cost/benefit of these systems.
Download “How Much Are You Really Spending On Marketing Collateral?”
Although this paper was written specifically for marketing asset management and collateral management, it is really relevant to the majority of new marketing technologies on the market. In this concise paper (it is really a quick read), you’ll find ideas and plans to justify the investment in new marketing systems. The three main ideas are:
- Learn how to identify invisible costs in your organization
- Review a real life case study of a company saving over $80,000 per year
- Develop a cost savings estimate for your company using the template and example provided
You can download this resource here: http://www.mailprint.com/mam-cost-savings.htm
Soft Vs Hard Cost Savings
Here’s something to think about that’s not included in the white paper: whether or not to make a marketing technology investment is often a question of how human resources are utilized. A substantial portion of the savings comes from freeing up human resources. Some companies look at this as a “soft cost” and simply redeploy the freed up human resources on activities that are more valuable to the company than deploying marketing materials. Companies that are looking to reduce “hard cost” create a plan to reduce human resource costs through attrition, promotions, transfers or staff reduction.
Human Resource Planning Plays a Vital Role
An important second part of the cost justification process is to know how and what you plan to do with these soon-to-be “additional” human resources. Plans that are presented without giving clear insight into how you will handle this are often disqualified as fluffy or inaccurate, and can ruin the possibility of gaining new marketing systems.
As the economy shows signs of shifting in a more positive direction, many companies are revisiting direct marketing programs that were profitable years ago, but were cut during the height of the recession to reduce marketing budgets. Contrary to the boom years, most marketers are cost cautious these days when setting up programs. We are willing to try new things, or revisit the old, but not in the same way as the past.
As marketing practitioners, our fresh focus on marketing operations, marketing procurement and the marketing supply chain, have made us better business people and I contend, more successful marketers from an ROI perspective.
Print Automation is Less Sexy Than Email Automation, But Far Richer in Opportunity for Cost Reduction
Print automation is a fairly new term in the industry and a clear success story for early adopters. Some would label print automation simply as traditional print and direct mail, but with cost saving enhancements related to how print can be procured and deployed. Marketing automation, a much more widely used and accepted term, is related, but most often focuses only on email automation and never sees the full deployment and integration of print into the marketing automation mix. Although this article focuses solely on educating business leaders on print automation, full marketing automation that incorporates all channels, is the ultimate aspiration.
Want to learn what the print automation buzz is about? Watch this video to see how you can implement a print automation strategy in your company. It includes three real-life stories to help you determine if your print and direct mail is poised for a move to automation: