Recently, we have been taking a closer look at the ins and outs of marketing automation. In the first of a series of articles on this subject, we discussed the challenges today’s B2B marketers are facing and one common thread throughout: the need to boost the efficiency and results of the marketing department. This is where marketing automation can really prove its value! In this article, we show how marketing automation can help B2B marketers like you achieve these goals by ensuring you’re truly connecting with your target audience.
What is marketing automation?
‘Marketing automation’ a frequently heard term, but what exactly is it? Well, marketing automation is a system, often a SaaS solution (i.e. software as a service), for developing, implementing and automating online marketing campaigns. It enables you to increase the effectiveness of your marketing operations. For instance, it can help you create and send mailings, and automate follow-up with all your leads.
What’s more, marketing automation also enables you to measure the results of your marketing activities, as well as your marketing ROI. The result is the maximum marketing efficiency, improved collaboration between marketing and sales, higher lead conversion and a rise in revenue.
Engaging your target group with meaningful touches
So how does marketing automation help you better connect with prospects and customers? Let’s face it – no one wants to receive irrelevant or meaningless e-mails, whitepapers, articles or other content. If the information you’re sending does not align with the needs and interests of your target group, you’ll likely see low open, download, and consumption rates. And that’s a huge barrier when it comes to engaging your target audience in meaningful dialogues and building relationships. But with marketing automation, you can identify what matters to prospects and customers and send relevant, compelling information, offers and content.
The importance of accurate segmentation
Real relevance and true engagement all start with accurate segmentation of your target group. Most marketers base their segmentation on persona information, including job title, company size, industry and turnover. The problem is that this limited segmentation (also called one-dimensional segmentation) focuses on the attributes that matter most to your company. What you’re not taking into account are crucial questions, such as what are our prospective buyers’ biggest challenges? Is this campaign relevant to them at this point in time? Can we provide a solution to help them achieve their goals? By failing to address these issues, you likely send out information aimed at the masses. While you may manage to engage some promising buyers, you’re likely missing out on the opportunity to connect with many more.
The solution is to add a second dimension to your segmentation: previously registered engagement, or behavioural data. For instance, which web pages did the prospect visit, which content is bringing buyers back to consume more information, which e-mails are they opening, and which events are they attending? Moreover, you can review the information and content that is accelerating movement through the buying journey and triggering a purchase.
By adding this behavioural data to your demographic records, you can more granularly segment your target audience. In turn, you can establish a more relevant communication flow, sending the information that matters most to that prospect at that given point in the buying process.
Putting theory into practice
With marketing automation enabling you to monitor the content consumption behaviour of your prospects and clients, 1-to-1 marketing is now within your reach. In other words, you can truly engage every single individual within your target group with a fitting, made-to-measure campaign. Using campaign flows, you can ensure that every interaction with a potential customer is a meaningful one based on an earlier interaction, whether with your website, through an email, or with someone in your company.
Consider this scenario: an HR manager wants to know more about e-learning as a flexible training strategy and your company is a training institute. The prospective buyer’s first ‘engagement’ on your website is filling out a form to download your e-book on this subject. Your marketing automation system could be configured to send a follow-up email to him featuring a case study highlighting how an HR manager in an organization similar to his benefited from e-learning. If he downloads this, you can then invite him to register for a webinar about your solution. In this way, you retain his attention and take him through the buying process step by step. At the same time, you can configure your marketing automation system to send the most fitting follow-up content to other prospective buyers based on their distinct job titles, organization size, online behaviors and more.
Meaningful engagement is within reach
Marketing automation makes it easy to follow up with relevant, value-add content. In the next article, we explore how marketing automation can help you deliver a higher number of qualified leads to your sales department.
This blog previously appeared on Marketingfacts (in Dutch only).