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(Getting Started) What You Need to Know About Marketing Automation

Illustration of woman riding a bike across a bridge against a sunset background with a clock above

Marketing automation is here and it is proving itself to be a game changer for many  businesses.

Marketing automation has become one of the hottest trends for companies. A tool that was once reserved for large organizations with big budgets and a team of skilled marketers, this technology is now expanding faster than ever. In fact, it has seen a 50% annual growth since 2011—and is now reaching both small and large organizations.

Platforms such as Marketo, Eloqua, and Pardot offer a wide range of capabilities. From lead management to landing page design, and email drip campaign planning to A/B testing, there is no end to what your marketing automation software can do for your business. 

But, with all these options, features, and customization opportunities, what percentage of capabilities are you using on a daily basis? Do you have a firm grasp on all of the capabilities available to you?

One of the main goals for marketing automation platforms is to move contacts from leads and convert them into sales opportunities. This cannot be accomplished by applying the same techniques across the board. You must first collect the right data, analyze it, and use it to turn your current task automation into powerful marketing automation campaigns.

Why Should You Care?

While marketing automation can impact the bottom line of your business, it’s no silver bullet. In order to gain full benefits from your investment in a marketing automation platform, you need to have the right processes and people in place.

SiriusDecisions conducted a research report and concluded:

  • Demonstrating marketing automation ROI means more than increasing campaigns and leads

  • Skills and processes must precede technology in order to improve performance 

  • Demand generation through technology alone may lead to a negative return on investment

According to U.S. marketers, the value of marketing automation goes beyond the top of the funnel. It also improves the performance of almost every other stage of the buyer journey. 

  1. Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months 

  2. Lead nurturing increases the percentage of leads covered by sales teams from as low as 20% to up to 75%

  3. Businesses that use marketing automation see a 451% increase in qualified leads 

  4. Marketing automation platform users see 53% higher conversion rates 

If you are a business who does not want to experience any of those four benefits, please speak up now. (Crickets)

Marketing Automation Can’t Do It Alone 

Marketing automation software is awesome⁠—but it can’t do it all! It requires a highly effective team coupled with a concrete content strategy (facilitated by a well-optimized content experience) in order to really shine.

Without the proper use of data, customization, and optimization, marketing automation is just task automation. 

Whether the right channel for your campaign is an email, social media interactions, or even a phone call, it is important to take into account relevancy and preferences. Does a contact prefer watching videos, or reading articles? Are they most interested in topic A or B?

Companies that have poor processes coupled with marketing automation end up with a higher number of leads in their funnel, but they fail to convert these leads into opportunities/customers. Companies with average processes send fewer leads into the funnel, but those leads convert at a much higher rate and end up as closed-won deals. 

marketing automation ROI

Source: SiriusDecisions

If there are no processes or agreements in place between your sales and marketing teams, your marketing automation is not going to maximize its effectiveness. It may cause friction between the teams, leading to a negative ROI. 

Some businesses will do it right and win. Others may not be so lucky. The thing to keep top of mind is that without good content, even the best-designed automated marketing machine may find itself idling, with no place to go. 

Keep your funnel full!