What is Marketing Automation?
How marketing automation helps teams
Marketing automation can supply useful content that develops trust in and respect for the brand, educating potential customers about its services and helping them to qualify their interest.
Further along the funnel, once prospects have narrowed down the types of products they’re interested in, the business can use automation to reach out with targeted messaging specifically tailored to those groups most likely both to respond and to benefit the business.
Finally, as activity tracked via the marketing automation system indicates yet more focused interest, a qualified, comprehensive and well-understood lead is automatically handed to the sales team.
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What are the benefits of marketing automation?
Among the benefits of marketing automation are that it can help businesses to:
2. Get a rich, detailed picture of the behaviour of potential customers
3. Customise follow-up
4. Deploy wider marketing campaigns
5. Prioritise leads
6. Improve marketing ROI
7. Predict future investment more accurately
Marketing automation for B2B
Marketing automation is very well-suited to B2B markets, due to the longer sales cycles, complex decision-making dynamics and multi-stage procurement processes. It can automate the targeting and tracking of campaigns and interactions, score leads and personalise the customer experience to encourage repeat business.
B2B markets tend to be highly focused and relationship-driven, and product education and awareness-building are vital. It’s an arena where purchases are considered and rational -- taking place over weeks, months or even years -- and typically involve a range of influencers and decision-makers.
Bring leads on a journey
This means that in general, business procurement necessitates a longer process of lead nurturing than B2C marketing, over the course of which the prospect will have done a lot of research before they are ready to speak to a salesperson – let alone ready to buy. By supplying targeted content at strategic points in the procurement journey and analysing the response, marketing automation can usefully generate multiple data points that can be analysed and acted on.
Financial services companies face challenges including new competitors and meeting the demands of millennials. Marketing automation can support growth without compromising the personal relationships on which such businesses are built. It offers both scalability and the ability to segment to deliver targeted messages at the optimum time.
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Marketing automation for B2C
B2C marketing involves familiarising the customer with a business’s brand and product set and giving them a compelling reason to purchase. B2C marketing automation both supports the nurturing process and automates the sales process so that it is quick and requires minimal or no involvement from a sales team.
While B2B marketing automation is all about long sales cycles, marketing in a consumer-facing environment is all about convincing potential buyers over a much shorter time frame.
Create journeys for sales and for brand awareness
B2C marketing automation is also about tracking potential customer behaviour to decide a messaging strategy, but the big difference comes in the duration of campaigns. A consumer campaign needs to gain the customer’s interest very rapidly, with the road to checkout kept short, simple, obvious and enticing.
That’s not to say there is no place for longer-term strategic approaches to the customer base. Building brand loyalty and trust is also vital in B2C, as is market education. But these take a different form to the multi-touchpoint journey of B2B, with its deeper requirements in terms of product knowledge.
What’s the difference between CRM and marketing automation?
The roles and functions of marketing automation and CRM overlap and complement each other, and in many businesses, the two systems combine to maintain a consistent, detailed profile of an individual from contact to lead to prospect to customer.
Generally speaking, however, marketing automation tends to focus more on the automation of tasks for lead generation and lead nurture, with the ability to do this at significant scale. First, marketing automation gets a handle on prospect interest and handles lead generation and lead nurturing at scale by means of campaigns across a wide range of online and offline channels.
With a harmonised approach, sales staff can access information on a lead’s behaviour, the pages they visit and the content they download, for example, while marketing teams can see a customer’s past buying behaviour. And reporting and analytics across the closed loop between marketing automation and CRM allow businesses to hone campaigns to greater effectiveness.
That’s a lot of info!
Here’s what you should take away from this article:
- What is marketing automation? Marketing automation is the process of using technology to streamline and improve marketing activities.
- How does marketing automation help the sales team? Marketing automation helps the sales team track customer activity, determine interest and qualify leads.
- What are the benefits of marketing automation? The benefits of marketing automation include freeing up time and resources, supplying in-depth customer intelligence and improving marketing ROI.
- How relevant is marketing automation for B2B? Marketing automation is especially well-suited to B2B markets given their longer sales cycles, complex decision-making dynamics and multi-stage procurement processes.
- How can marketing automation enhance B2C? Marketing automation enhances B2C by automating the lead nurturing process and tracking customer activity to determine appropriate messaging.
- How does marketing automation differ from CRM? While they are complementary, marketing automation differs from CRM by focusing on lead generation at scale, both online and offline.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is marketing automation defined?
What are the benefits of marketing automation?
- build a richer, more detailed picture of the potential customer base, which in turn facilitates customised marketing and follow-up interactions;
- free up marketing time and resources to focus on wider strategy, resulting in better targeted, measurably more effective campaigns.