How to achieve best in class marketing automation
Marketing Automation. It started back in the '90s and blew up in the mid-2000s. And now at a near $2 billion industry, we're all doing it, right? Well if you're not doing it, or you're not doing it well, come out from behind that sofa, it's okay you won't be alone.
Some people may not fully understand what marketing automation is, so let's get a definition to kick this off.
Marketing automation is the use of software and Web-based services to execute, manage and automate marketing tasks and processes. It replaces manual and repetitive marketing processes with purpose-built software and applications geared toward performance.
So basically, everything that is happening in your tech stack is marketing automation. You buy some tools, you've got marketing automation, right? WRONG! You have the ability to have marketing automation, but until you truly understand why you need to automate tasks within your marketing operations, you've simply got a bunch of tools.
The magic of marketing automation lies squarely in your strategy and the automation you can build to satisfy your business requirements. I've purposely said 'business requirements' as Marketing automation may lead you to think that the technology only supports your marketing effort. Another mistruth. You can provide automated tasks, hand-offs, reports and so much more to other areas in your business to support wider requirements providing the right strategy is considered.
Where companies fall into traps with Marketing Automation is that they focus too much on functionality that a tool offers rather than the holistic need of the functionality by their customer and business. Martech functionality has evolved over the last decade to a point where tools used for entirely different purposes are now starting to replicate each other's functionality in a bid to become 'the' marketing automation tool. Whilst helpful to some customers who may be able to reduce the size of their tech stack, it is more confusing and financially wasteful for companies who have a poor martech strategy, multiple tools duplicating functionality or little integration.
As consultants, we regularly see large, blue-chip companies with little grip on their marketing automation. Tools bought independently to satisfy an immediate problem, like sending email or building landing pages. Having the best tool does not make it the best for you and unless you can clearly define what you want to experience end to end, you may be wasting your budget on unnecessary functionality. Big is not always best.
So, here are some points to follow when planning your marketing automation journey:
Ensure you have a marketing strategy in place
Document your buyer's journey
Document your existing tech stack (what it is, what it does, what it costs)
Use the strategy and buyers journey to:
identify necessary events the customer needs
identify points of contact to market to the customer
identify data collection point
identify reporting requirements
Align your existing tech to the relevant points
Document the gaps
Explore technology (including existing) that aligns with the gaps
You don't have to wait until you need new technology to go through this process, in fact, I suggest you do it as a matter of review and housekeeping on your existing tech and processes. Done right, you will see efficiency in budget spent on tech, improvements in your customer journey, and a reduction in your resource impact.
If you need some help or some templates to support this process, remember your power hours and ask the experts and we can support you.