Marketing Eye
Marketing automation is more than just a buzzword – it’s a way businesses can flirt with their customers writes Mellissah Smith.

You walk into your favourite restaurant and at a glance lock eyes with something beautiful. You muster up all your courage and risk stumbling over your words as you begin the conversation with your breathtaking prospect. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not speaking of a potential relationship between a man or woman. In fact, the prospect in your sights is possibly your next new customer. There is no denying that in business your approach is everything. Similar to the lives of all single people, we must flirt with our customers, begin the conversation, maintain friendly communication and close the deal. So, just how do we flirt?

Marketing automation is the new wooing machine, with every single element of the marketing mix taken into account. It allows you to create chemistry with your potential customer by enticing interaction.

Presently, marketing automation software isn’t the easiest tool to navigate, but its features and capabilities are designed to simplify the lives of marketers, reduce headcount in your marketing department and increase your return on investment. It is commonplace in business to weigh heavily on ROI and with new advancements each day, lead-to-revenue management is pivotal in the modern business.

The business case for lead-to-revenue management delivers credible improvements in marketing workflow processes and not only affects revenue but, also deepens customer relationships with the brands they buy from.

Marketing automation is essential to standardising, automating and scaling practices needed to engage with customers across their lifecycle.

One of the key factors that is challenging CMOs with marketing automation is juggling customer data management, organisational structure, content production, and tactics that speak directly to buyers across all touch points in a way that resonates with them.

The single biggest factor that is driving marketing automation is a profound change in the way buyers behave in addition to a change in the way marketers need to engage with them.

We have moved from a world of information scarcity to abundance.

“Not long ago, if you wanted to buy a new car, the main way you were going to get the detailed specifications of that car to evaluate a purchase is to talk to the representative of the car company. A lot of marketers grew up in that the world,” says Marketo Chief Marketing Officer, Jon Miller.

With marketing automation software, businesses have the ability to adjust their sales over the course of a sales campaign. With analytics, we can discover the optimal time to send certain messages to a specific demographic increasing the likelihood of converting the prospect into a qualified lead. We can now get any purchasing question we want answered: online – anytime.

It is proven that consumers are responding to marketing automation. Buyers are taking advantage of the information accessible to them. Now, they are doing research on their own, searching the cyber world for information, reviews and price competitiveness – all with a click of a button and without having to speak a word to a sales representative. 

Buyers are now well informed and already have all the information they require prior to speaking to a sales person or making an order. From a business perspective, this creates constant opportunities to capture data and maintain contact with new and prospective customers.

“Big data has revolutionised the marketing industry, and marketing automation is not far behind,” says Marketing Eye US President, Maikayla Desjardins.

“Through the intelligence provided by marketing automation, companies are becoming less reliant on sales personnel and placing more importance on marketing analytics.”

Buyers are purchasing much later in the sales process than ever before. What does that mean for marketers? It means that marketing needs to step up and not just generate the lead – but also own it. 

Sales have always been relationship-driven, but now our focus must be on building the relationship; helping the buyer through the journey, educating them and listening to what they are saying.

“It’s like flirting and making sure that you are being relevant. That’s what brings us to marketing automation,” Desjardins says.

Marketers now have the capability of analysing both online and offline customer behaviours, building linkages between the two to give a complete picture of the customer, while gathering an abundance of usable data to help build the relationship and drive sales.

Through the advanced analytics that marketing automation provides, companies are able to utilise this information to better translate insight into profit generating campaigns – ultimately boosting profits and loyalty through more strategic marketing.

“Marketers are tired of being seen as cost centres. They want to have an equal share of bonuses as part of the revenue team and to do that they need to show how tactical marketing activities are affecting revenue,” Miller says.

“The ability to map a buyer’s journey and experience is seamless from marketing automation through to CRM.

“The functionality of marketing automation provides the core building blocks centralising the marketing database and serving as a record for the marketing department and the customer’s digital behaviours.

“Every web page a customer visits, tweet, link that they share, email that is opened and marketing event that they participate in, is recorded.”

It’s proven that multi-level marketing campaigns deliver the best possible customer experiences and the highest return on investment is the goal for the modern marketer.

“Improving targeting, engagement, conversions and analysis by capturing their customers digital body language,” says Desjardins.

CMOs need to prepare for marketing automation by having:

1. A lead-to-revenue process model to automate.

2. Content to support the message and responses.

3. A marketing organisation that is ready to support the technology

4. Achieving company-wide buy-in to the use of marketing automation in the business