Almost every marketer knows that marketing automation (MA) has been a boon for demand generation. But, while driving potential customers’ awareness and interest in a company’s products or services is certainly one essential function of MA, the story hardly ends there.
Because marketing automation can do so much more. It also slices! It dices! It makes julienned fries! … Well, proverbially, that is.
Some marketers use MA solely for demand generation purposes and have not fully realized how to leverage their existing technology to extend to branding and customer marketing needs. And they, unfortunately, are missing out on a whopping two-thirds of the benefits of marketing automation.
Expanding the scope of marketing automation is not particularly complicated. The same tactics used for demand generation can also be applied to other marketing disciplines. And, this very same MA technology that makes demand generation so easy, also makes strategic execution repeatable, scalable, and measurable ‒ while ensuring a consistent customer experience.
Most marketers are already paying attention to all three major aspects of marketing: brand awareness, demand generation, and customer marketing – or as we call them – Brand, Demand, and Expand. They just may not be using their marketing automation technology to support branding and expansion as much as they could.
Marketers create profitable relationships with potential customers by delivering the value and information these prospects want at every touchpoint through the buyer’s journey. Each function within the marketing team has a different role to play, and marketing automation can help at every stage.
Brand Marketing tasks and responsibilities can include public, press, analyst, shareholder, and influencer relations; corporate communications; social media; advertising; events and sponsorships; and content marketing.
Branding relies on strategically communicating your brand’s voice and positioning. It’s the promise you make to customers, and it needs to infuse every stage in your company’s growth and your customer’s lifecycle. Marketing automation helps you get your messaging out and keep tabs on how the market, press, and analysts engage with your brand.
Try these tactics for using marketing automation to achieve your branding objectives:
– Influencer Relations: Score press, analysts, and bloggers so you can see who your most engaged and interested influencers are. Be aware of the pages they visit on your site, what they’re interested in, and the emails (pitches, press releases, events) they are engaging with. Use this intelligence to prioritize who you pitch and what your talk track is.
– Press Release Attribution & Corporate Communication: Create trackable URLs for press releases to tie PR activity back to the lead-to-revenue process. Look at multi-touch attribution and how press releases contribute to the sale. Create and execute internal newsletters, emails, etc., and track employee engagement. Identify and nurture prospective employees.
– Brand Identity Management: Make sure your brand is consistent across all teams and all channels. Control the visuals ‒ including brand look and feel, logo usage, and header/footers ‒ with marketing automation. Create approved templates, then distribute them in your media library for other marketing and sales departments to use.
– Event Management: Events are a huge investment – make the most of them! Know who to invite, and manage all communications, before and after, with more precision and less effort. Create an automated workflow (save the date, official invite, seats are limited, registration responder, and reminders) to make it easy, then re-use and refine the workflow for the next event.
Demand Generation tasks and responsibilities can include marketing activities such as lead generation and nurturing, lead scoring, sales alignment, content marketing, and field marketing.
Targeting and personalization, especially in the service of lead nurturing, are very effective. And thanks to new digital technologies, account-based marketing is now an accessible and implementable option for mid-market companies.
Try these tactics for using marketing automation to achieve your demand generation objectives:
– Attract Potential Customers: Improve your organic search ranking by running SEO audits on your web pages and landing pages. Schedule social promotions of your pages, content, and forms. Run AdWords programs targeted at look-alike traffic. Add website visitor alerts so your sales team knows when a prospect is on your site … or even on a particular page.
– Convert Website Visitors to Sales Leads: Use lead capture forms to turn website traffic into actionable leads for your sales teams. Test landing page copy, headlines, and calls to action to discover what works the best. Integrate a CRM, so that as soon as leads qualify or take some action that indicates sales-readiness, they flow to your sales team for follow up.
– Prioritize and Nurture Leads: Implement a lead scoring program that ranks prospects based on their engagement with your brand, and on profile characteristics. The sales teams can follow up with the hottest leads first, leaving lower-scoring leads to marketing to nurture with automated email programs. Educate and nurture leads with relevant content and resources.
– Enable Better Conversations: Integrate your marketing automation into your CRM, if you use one. Sales can then see a detailed history of each contact, including their website activity, email clicks, media downloads, video views, and more. With this insight, sales can understand the pain points and interests of each prospect, and have the most relevant conversation.
Customer (Expand) Marketing
Customer (Expand) Marketing includes customer onboarding, retention, loyalty and advocacy programs, and upselling. It can help you reduce churn and improve customer satisfaction scores.
Try these tactics for using marketing automation to achieve your customer marketing objectives:
‒ New Customer Onboarding and Education: Refine your onboarding to the most effective process, and automate it with 30-, 60-, and 90-day on-boarding drip programs. Help customers expand their use of your product. Use newsletters and new feature announcements to keep your customers in the loop and let them know their satisfaction matters.
– Customer Retention: Use webinars to introduce new features or new ways of using existing ones; help your customers become power users. Automate all the communications around these online events. Measure product consumption and trigger communication based on feature/non-feature use. Deploy surveys and invite your customers to analyze the results.
– Upsell and Cross-Sell: Leverage marketing automation, CRM, and ERP data to understand when a buyer is ready for an upsell. Look at pages visited, datasheets downloaded, and contract renewal information and payment history, and tie it to engagement data to understand when to reach out for an upsell or cross-sell.
– Advocacy & Loyalty: Apply a score to customer behavior and engagement to understand who your advocates and most loyal customers are. Apply a score for webinar attendance, event registration, emails opened, references given, user groups attended, etc. The higher the lead score, the more likely that customer will be a brand advocate.
Marketing automation can help tie shared goals and measurements of success together ‒ integrating this vision throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Harness and activate the power of data-driven strategy with marketing automation to drive leads, build your brand, and deliver a customer experience that sets you above the competition.
It just takes a little willingness to look beyond the focus on demand generation activities to realize some amazing new possibilities – and see exceptional results – with marketing automation.