I need to admit that I was actually struggling with the beginning of this post because while gathering the materials about Marketing Automation, I found extremely valuable resources out there and I just thought “meh, everything has been already told.”. On top of that, I was supposed to use our own experiences at UserEngage and all the data started to piling up into something so valuable that I couldn’t fully grasp.
However, I took a sip of my black coffee, telling myself that I was pouring some inspiration into my mind, and surprisingly the placebo worked. I looked at all the stuff I gathered in a completely different light.
“It doesn’t matter that a lot of things have been already discussed… Nobody has considered the perspective of a newcomer I am!” I thought.
So, after another sip of the coffee that got even colder, what can a new kid on the block like me learn from all of this?
I started analyzing what I had found and it let me come up with some interesting observations. Don’t get me wrong. I will stay as objective as possible, aiming at explaining the idea of Marketing Automation clearly and diligently. I just want to do it from a slightly different perspective. Let’s call it “a more human one” so an average person from a non-marketing world would be able to truly understand the content. Let me know in comments if I have succeeded or not!
OK, so what the heck is Marketing Automation?
Basically, what really struck me during doing the research was the fact that when I googled “Marketing Automation”, a definition provided by Wikipedia was nowhere to be found. I scrolled down and eventually I was able to find it. However accurate and precise the definition was, it left me hungry for me. And I mean hungry for knowledge, not for that chocolate muffin leaning out from behind my coffee cup. So that, I started to dig in and I came across an awesome infographic by Bostoninteractive.com which puts the whole idea of Marketing Automation in a very to understand way.
Marketing Automation can be defined as a type of software that enables a company to meet its marketing goals more efficiently with the use of certain automated tools. The software has been designed to meet the needs of marketing departments and organizations but I hope that I will be able to prove that anybody who is willing to actually learn the mechanisms, is able to make it work efficiently.
The use of automated tools aims at engaging the leads as well as nurturing them by using different channels and automated repetitive tasks. The tools entail triggered email campaigns or chat messages, popping-out the forms and subscriptions on the screen etc.
One very vivid characteristics – it’s SUPER personalized. It’s has nothing to do with SPAM and I want to show you how awesome features Marketing Automation software offers.
Let’s take a closer look on this by taking the first element of the Infographic into consideration.
What is lead generation?
As Marketo nicely puts it:
Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing sales pipeline.source
Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
In other words, it’s a practice of attracting people (or fluffy kittens, alternatively aliens) to visit one’s page and then, increasing the interest into a product/service offered on the website. Because of the fact that the current idea of marking has changed over the course of last years, namely nowadays it’s more about meeting the needs of a customer by personalized offers through automated and integrated channels. What’s more, a relationship established between a costumer and a given company is aimed to be long-lasting so that the customer feels more appreciated and at the same time, happy about engaging in the purchasing process.
As you can see on the Infographic, leading generation provides different tools:
- Ready-to- go templates (ready for you to use in your email campaigns)
- Customizable interfaces (you can personalize it as you wish)
- Campaign landing pages (because of customization, your potential customers can feel appreciated and happy about having visited your page. That’s just a few steps from turning them into happy purchasing customers!)
- Forms (you are the one that decides when they are going to show on the screen and attract your user’s attention)
- Calls to Action (we all know them, right? But positioning them in the right spot not only does it let you avoid customers’ annoyance but it actually help them reach what they want)
- Built-in Lead Intelligence (the system that runs certain automated actions on your behalf)
I strongly recommend the post written by Ellie Mirman @ellieeille on the 6 Key Pieces of Lead Intelligence to Make Your Sales Team Jump for Joy, where you can learn about all the mechanisms used by Hubspot in making it a great helping tool for marketers and not only!
I’d always associated nurturing with breeding, upbringing and taking enough care to make something nourished. Little had I realized how far the definition of lead nurturing really lies. As mentioned before, lead nurturing is crucial whilst forming a relationship with potential customer.
BTW. What is a lead?
According to Marketo, a lead is “a qualified prospect that is starting to exhibit buying behavior” which basically means a person that enters your site and is willing to purchase something you offer.
Ok, down to the point. Lead nurturing is often presented in a form of a funnel. Check the one beneath:
As you see, it’s divided into 5 phases:
1 – When the buyer is just an explorer and in order to attract his attention, one needs to “thank” him by sending an email within the next 24 hours after a download of an e-book etc. So that, the buyer is intrigued, appreciated and wants more.
2 – Next stage is all about the buyer being the gatherer. It means that one should focus on “giving”, namely sending some educational materials on a given topic since the buyer needs more (free!) materials to get deeper and deeper. Don’t forget about the key metrics: click through rates and conversation rates!
3 – Here we go, the decider stage! The buyer receives an email with his/her opinion about your company/product/service. The person becomes more engaged by receiving, if agreed, a phone call. Remember to have a high quality of the conversations so that the interest in product increases!
4 – Yippee, the customer stage! Outbound and inbound marketing mechanisms should be run in order to turn the customer into an engaged one. Feedback is essential here!
5 – You nailed it! Champion stage means you winning the stage. But hey, don’t stop here. Keep on engaging the customer by social support and referrals because a loyal customer is always more valuable than a new one.
Since we covered the funnel, let’s move on to another, yet related, topic -
Before we start, I want to let you know that some time ago we’ve written a whole post on lead scoring that can be found here. I won’t be able to fully describe the entire idea behind lead scoring and this post can be very helpful in further reading.
While analyzing this concept, I came across Kentico that conducted a few surveys on lead scoring, which provided enough information to make this video:
Kentico provides us with two basic rules about lead scoring:
“Each business uses a different set of criteria for qualifying leads. The Lead Scoring module in Kentico allows you to set up your own lead scoring system combining two types of rules:
- Demographics - identify the fit of the leads for your company based on their profile values, such as location, title, or completeness of data
- Behavioral – identify the level of the leads’ engagement with your company based on their activities, such as visited pages, downloaded documents, or submitted forms.“
Leads, leads, leads – OK, I think I have written and thought about them more times than for my entire life. However, while discussing Automated Marketing, it’s impossible to skip this. But for a short break, I want to spend some time on the idea of website monitoring that is an essential factor in engaging your customers. Cause, how can you know what your customers’ behaviors are if you don’t keep an eye on them?
Basically, imagine that you are an owner of a small shop that sells homemade jam. Oh, the customers always say it’s the best jam in the entire town. And since we are back in the 18th century small town somewhere in New England, on the east coast of the North America, we value our customers opinions because they determine whether we’re going to succeed or not, right?
Hey, wait. Despite the fact that you may not be aiming at selling the biggest numbers of jars of jam, you must be definitely aiming at getting to know your customers’ opinions, huh?
Going back to our story about jam, the owner of the shop actually asks every single customer whether like the product or not and he is also open to any negative feedback that gives him an idea what he needs to improve. Each customer is treated individually and is convinced that the product has been personalized enough to satisfy his/her needs.
Here, in the 21st century, the task seems a little bit more challenging.
How, the heck, am I going to get to know the opinions of my customers?
It can seem impossible but because of the tools provided by Marketing Automation software, it gets easier to actually grasp customers’ behaviors even before them realizing what they want and need. With the use of the monitoring tools, you are able to trace what pages a given lead has visited and what exactly he/she was looking for. It may turn out that the person was looking for a new pair of red shoes and by knowing that, you can arrange an entire campaign aiming at turning the visitor into a happy customer.
How to do it?
Easy. Check the picture below.
This is what autopilothq.com provides us with. Having the triggers and other elements on the left, you are able with creating your own marketing campaign.
When we take the above example, we would start with creating such a path (=a campaign) that would be designed to send the visitor an email after 24 hours asking whether a desired pair of red shoes has been found.
And the customer would probably think “what … ? How come? How did they know?!” and automatically, he/she is intrigued. The person wants to check the website and starts browsing the products.
And here we go, a beautiful pair of red shoes.
Congrats, you scored.
Do you know understand why monitoring is essential?
Integrate Your Sales Team
Last but not least, we are reaching the final point.
Do you remember when I mentioned at the beginning that the Automated Marketing software can be operated by anyone who is willing to constantly learn and update his/her knowledge? I need to add one more condition. Anybody who cooperates with others can make the most out of it.
Let me illustrate it on an example.
We’re back in the US. However, now we are chewing bubble gum while sitting on the stairs of a small, wooden house in the suburbs of San Francisco, where the sun always shines and beautiful girls skateboard. So, together with a bunch of friends we decided to build our own start-up. Pretty cool, right? On top of that, we even managed to get a sponsor who funded us a brand new pick-up that would be used to keep our small company going.
Imagine a shiny red car body which is just the cheery on the cake, because the car itself is super modern. It has an automatic transmission, an intelligent computer system that would never let us crash and even a cool coffee stand.
There is one problem. We stand up from the stairs and realize that we can’t get even one percentage out of the possibilities it gives our start-up company because … nobody has a driver’s license. Irony, isn’t it?
The same story is with Marketing Automation. Despite having the most expensive, advanced and cool looking marketing tools, there is nothing to be done if there isn’t a cooperating team that is able to work on it together.
What I am trying to say is the fact that automatization of any processes is possible only when people behind it know what their objectives are. Only then is it possible to divide the work in such a way that the features provided by the software are not only cool but also – useful.
More on the team work and how to deal with managing the tasks here.
I believe that I put some light on the whole idea behind Marketing Automation and I’m more than open to your feedback! If you have any questions, doubts or you just simply want to share some positive vibes – please, do it!
I need to say that the tools that Marketing Automation software provides the users with, is something that I can’t imagine my life without. Having understood the mechanisms let me get the most out of it and I wish all of you the same.