A common challenge in the B2B demand generation world centers around the balance of automation and reporting software. Both of which are tools used in conjunction with your marketing campaigns, meaning your day is mostly full of software management instead of strategic planning. The goal with most B2B marketers is to get their automation to a point of fluidity that it requires very little human input. This may seem challenging, but it’s a possibility through the enablement of the modern-day marketing technology stack.
When you examine the values and applications of marketing automation, it’s important to look at how it’s going to be used, who’s going to use it, and what the end goal is. Modern-day marketing automation is fueled by data acquisition and allocation, and most of the campaigns you run will result in some sort of customer engagement. But if you want to make the most of your automation software, read on.
Why Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation does exactly as the name suggests—automates marketing activities within a specific threshold. Most marketing campaigns are dependent on the ability to contact a large group of prospects at scale, meaning the bandwidth for manual outreach is very small. Through using a marketing automation software, you can create fixed campaigns that work within various buyer personas. According to Invespcro, 80% of marketing automation users saw an increase in the number of leads using marketing automation software, and 77% had an increase of conversions
Here is a quick snapshot of some of the benefits marketing automation offers B2B demand generation marketers:
- Personalization. You can make each marketing campaign tailored fit for your various customer segments, meeting their needs through personalized content.
- Productivity. Automation software can cut down on repetitive tasks and frees up time for strategic planning.
- Streamlined Campaign Management. Each marketing campaign can be easily managed by multiple people because of the custom views the software allows. One marketing rep can view a campaign from a certain perspective while another can provide key insights the rest of your time might have missed.
One incredibly important part of B2B marketing is the ability to collect data, and the best place to look for data is in your own software. Marketing automation not only enables you to create multi-functional marketing campaigns, but it also serves as a great source of first-party data insights that tell a story about your customers. Most automation will track how and when your buyers engage with your campaigns and create a report that shows those various engagement points. This information can be key to developing further outreach initiatives that retarget the same persona.
The type of data you collect can vary, however it usually looks like:
- Customer information
- Campaign tagging
- Social media keywords
- Landing page interactions
- Content downloads
Using Data to Personalize Campaigns
Like mentioned previously, personalization is a huge benefit of marketing automation software. The process of marketing personalization has changed over time, yet the idea remains the same – talk about what the buyer cares about. So, what does it look like to use the data you’ve gathered from your automation software to personalize your campaigns? It’s all about narrative consistency.
As you build out your marketing campaigns, you’ll start to learn more and more about your targeted buyer segments and how to speak to their language. Your automation will feel less like advertising and more like a conversation in which you’re consistently pushing the story along with valuable content. You can fine-tune this conversation as your buyers continue to engage with your emails, making sure to always be sharing the most vital of insights and products.
Over time you’ll start to see a shift in how your audience perceives your marketing campaigns. If personalization and data is used correctly, they will become of trusted source of research. Marketing automation is often used as a way to continuously “poke” your buyers to make sure they don’t forget who you are, however, modern-day B2B tactics suggest that your automation (along with the rest of your marketing tech stack) should be aligned with your content narrative and initiative.
Lead Generation Campaigns
At the end of the day, everything in B2B marketing and demand generation should result in a marketing attribution, and one of the best ways to ensure that happens is through consistent lead generation. If marketing automation is key to personalizing your campaigns through first party data acquisition, then it’s also a key element to your lead generation strategy. Data drives every part of the marketing funnel, so as you look to convert your leads from and MQL to an SQL, make sure you’re pulling information from your automation software.
At the same time, marketing automation can also be a great tool for lead generation in itself. The personalized campaigns you run can fit into the overall lead gen planning. Marketing automation is primed for landing page distribution, focused content syndication, retargeting follow up, as well as plenty of other channels of lead capture. It’s worth your time to include some form of automation into your lead generation strategy, so try out a couple different patterns of lead nurture and see what sticks.
Marketing Automation Applied
There’s no end to how useful marketing automation can be for your B2B marketing planning. So much so that 51% of B2B marketers are using it and 63% of them say they’re going increase their budget for that type of software. It’s safe to say that marketing automation has become a necessity in today’s marketing world. However, just because everyone else if doing it doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for you. There’s no guarantee that it’ll provide any quick return on investment, and if immediate ROI is what you’re looking for, then automating your marketing isn’t going to help you. Most automation-focused campaigns require long-term planning as they’re made to nurture and educate your audience first and foremost.
All that to say, marketing automation, just like any other form of marketing software is going to look different when applied to your specific needs. You might turn it into a campaign management tool where another marketer might use it strictly for lead generation. That’s why marketing automation is such a useful tool to add to your tech stack. Options like Hubspot, Pardot, and Marketo lead the pack as the most adopted forms, however tools like Sharpspring and ActiveCampaign act as cheaper alternatives with more focused uses. It really depends on what you’re looking to use automation for, and there’s no end to the amount of information one can gather about it.
Lead Generation Success
If you’d like to learn more about how DemandScience views how lead generation is affected by marketing automation, take a look at our whitepaper “Walkthrough Guide on Successful Lead Generation Campaign Follow-Up.” It details the process in how sales and marketing teams can work together to ensure that your leads are converted in the most efficient way possible—whether that’d be through automation or direct outreach.