What is Marketing Automation?
If you work with marketing then you have probably heard of marketing automation. This cumbersome term encompasses both technology and marketing methods that every marketer should know about.
“Marketing Automation is automated marketing communications organised and executed based on the recipient’s digital behaviour with the intention to generate, qualify and nurturing leads until they are ready to be taken care of by a sales person.”
If you think this reminds you of the definition of inbound marketing, then you are absolutely right. The devil is known by many names, and the use of this term has largely been ruled by technology vendors like Eloqua, Pardot and Marketo. When HubSpot entered the marketing arena in 2006, they began to talk about “inbound marketing”, which has been embraced by marketers as the most popular term, should we believe Google Trends:
Automated marketing communications
Marketing Automation (MA) is making it possible to automate the Marketing Communication Process (and internal marketing processes) that previously had to be done manually. Such as:
- Lead generation, creating new inquiries from prospective customers)
- Lead nurturing, to process and “warm up” new contact from the first contact until they are ready to talk to a sales person)
- Lead management, qualification of leads based on their digital behavior and information they provide in exchange for quality content and other services, also called Lead scoring)
Should you invest in marketing automation?
If you are already producing quality digital content and are generating a steady stream of new leads from potential customers that find you online, and you are ready to scale your efforts, then an investment in a good MA-system and establishing a digital marketing strategy would be a sensible step.
However if you do not fit into that description, you should, first of all, establish a digital marketing strategy, which is based on your business, industry, target market and what channels and tools that will give the best results in the most cost-effective way.
In the preparation of such a digital marketing strategy, you may discover that you need an MA system now. Without having a good MA system, it is very difficult to ensure quality in the sales process from a fresh lead to satisfied and loyal customer.
To determine if the time is ripe for your business to invest in an MA-system, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you generate a steady stream of new and qualified leads?
- Is your marketing delivering more than enough quality sales leads to your sales team?
- Have your market and sales people agreed how they organize efforts among themselves?
- Do you have an effective content strategy that is linked to the buying process?
- Are you tracking the digital body language of your leads across all touch points and marketing channels (and not only e-mail?)
- Do you have a lead nurturing strategy with proven results that you want to resize?
If you answer yes to these questions, then it is a good sign that an MA will make good sense for your business. If your answer is no, then the strategy must be put in place first. You must, however, be aware that a marketing automation system do not do your marketing for you, but it will help you to scale your results to a whole new level, which we have experienced and something we do ourselves for our own clients.
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