The B2B marketing automation industry will reach $325 million in revenue in 2011. Despite this growth, 50% of companies surveyed in a 2011 Focus Study say they have not yet realized a return on investment for their marketing automation. There are any number of reasons this could be -- from an over-reliance on email, to a skills gap, to technical limitations of the tool itself. Getting the most out of your marketing automation tool requires integrating it into a complete inbound marketing strategy and using it as a support rather than a replacement. Here are a few ways to get creative with your marketing automation.
1. Make Room for Complex Buyer Motivations
It’s hard to diagnose buyer needs in a vacuum. Take shopping cart abandonment as an example. A 2010 Forrester Research survey reported that 88% of online shoppers have abandoned their shopping carts at one point or another. Was it a thrifty moment that made them reconsider? Sticker-shock at the shipping? Ambivalence about the product? According to the same Forrester report – reasons vary. This means there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to shopping-cart-fetchback campaigns either. When you’re using marketing automation to support the check-out process, take a look at the other data you have:
Before the would-be-buyers abandoned their shopping carts, did they take a look at the shipping page or were they loitering on the returns page? The answer should motivate different content in response.
2. Stop Thinking of Recipients as Buyers Alone
The golden opportunity with marketing automation may not rest with driving sales alone. Think about other ways you can leverage behavior-driven communications to inform and advance your company or organization.
Request feedback from anyone who downloaded an ebook. Ask them what other topics they’d like to hear about in the future.
Offer help to existing customers who have viewed the cancelation of returns page.
Thank social media advocates who promote your company on Twitter.
By shaking loose from a single objective, you can garner engagement and get valuable information to help you shape future marketing efforts, improve the product, or prevent churn.
3. Use Marketing Automation for Internal Notifications
Typically, marketing automation is used to send customers automated emails based on their activity. But sometimes a personal phone call or email is just better. For those instances, think about also connecting your marketing automation tool to an internal chat system. Doing so will enable your team to get alerts when a highly qualified lead looks at the pricing page, for example, or when a valuable customer stops logging into your software as a service platform. Setting internal notifications for major events in the customer lifecycle lets your account managers and sales team make a better decision about whether a more personal kind of outreach is necessary.
5. Remember How Much Still Comes Down to Content
All of the technology in the world can’t beat a thoughtful and compelling message. Your marketing automation campaign could be perfectly timed and tuned into customer motivations, but if the content is falling short – it still won’t deliver. To get the most out of your marketing automation, make sure you continually test different messages and subject lines to find the right match to your customers’ needs.
What other ways have you started to bring more creativity and nuance into your marketing automation campaigns? Have a good example to share? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.