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4 Things Every CEO Should Know About Marketing Automation

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Wise CEOs want assurance that their investments are well spent. Wise marketers want as much money as they can possibly muster to make their advertising dreams a reality. Understood! So the question becomes: “How does a marketer justify marketing spend to the CEO?” The answer lies in marketing automation.

Seasoned marketers know that our industry is 50% creative and 50% math. On one hand, marketing is about branding through images, storytelling and emotion-evoking design work. That’s the fun part! On the other hand, marketing is about data, statistics and sales dollars.

Many a multi-million-dollar budget is spent using website impressions as a measure of effectiveness. If sales remain steady or slightly increase and people are visiting the site, reading the blog and clicking over to the company’s social media pages, then the marketing team is operating “efficiently enough” to justify the expense.

Going one step further, companies trouble themselves with another measurement known as “engagement.” This metric looks at not just how many eyes are landing on a brand’s message, but how many people are liking, linking and sharing, as well as how much time is spent on a site or how many people end up with products in their shopping carts.

In 2015, we can do better… a WHOLE LOT better. Last year, the marketing automation industry grew by 50% to $1.2 billion. It’s forecasted the industry will reach $1.8 billion by the end of the year. There are four reasons why marketing automation becomes the answer to justifying marketing expenditures — and why companies can’t afford to put off this investment any longer.

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Image Source: InfographicADay.com 

1. Marketing Automation Makes The Meeting.

Boardroom meetings are greatly enriched by the presentation of graphs, charts, statistics and insights based on the numbers. Marketing automation is often painted as a way to store leads and send out emails, but it’s so much more than that. Marketing automation captures actionable data like:

– Email opens, bounces and clicks

– Where visitors went on the site, how they got there and where they went next

– Which mediums (be it ad, email, blog) and messages led to increases in buyer interest

– Which mediums and messages did not

– What actions are made within the emails (link clicks, number of opens)

– When prospects are taking steps toward a purchase

Ultimately, you want to answer the questions: “Which assets provide the most returns and deserve our focus? Which areas could we improve upon or eliminate?” Presenting the reports generated from marketing automation programs steers the conversation to help sales and marketing teams direct their efforts.

2. Marketing Automation Helps Departments Create & Achieve Unified Goals.

A major challenge for sizable organizations lies in aligning sales and marketing goals. Often, the two departments work as separate entities with a liaison or two running communication between the groups. In one survey, 90% of marketers said that lack of sales alignment caused problems in reaching goals. Furthermore, it was discovered that B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing goals achieved 27% increased profit growth in a three-year period than their peers who struggled to get on the same page. Marketing automation provides a common point of reference for decision making across departments. It’s easy to disagree with one person’s opinion, but harder to refute measurable evidence.

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Image Source: EmpireForSales.com

3. Marketing Automation Saves Time & Keeps A Pulse On The Consumer.

CMOs are struggling with increased demands on their time and resources. Seventy-four percent of marketers say that “saving time” is the biggest benefit of their automation platform. Conservatively, Marketo estimates that a marketing team’s productivity increases from 1.5 to 6.9% with the use of a marketing automation platform. Why spend more time on personalizing emails, entering buyer data into the database, or monitoring social media conversations than you need to?

Aberdeen Group says that best-in-class companies reduce close cycle time by 49% on average with marketing automation. Automating certain processes not only saves time by cutting out tasks that computers can do as well as human beings and freeing up more time for marketers, but it also alerts marketers to critical moments where real-time intervention has the power to convert a sale.

Clickz summarizes, “The tools that are now available to the marketing organization allow them to get super close to the consumer, and keep their thumbs on the pulse of the market. They can measure the smallest of changes in sentiment, and assess when consumer behavior indicates a need for new products or features. The earlier these signals are detected, the quicker the product roadmap can be updated to meet customer demand.”

Salesforce VP of Product Marketing Gordon Evans told Ad Age that marketing automation is about “engaging customers on any channel or device with an orchestrated approach based on data.” Improving efficiency in communications between prospects, customers and companies is part of the allure, but the magazine also cites the following reasons why companies need to invest in marketing automation software now:

– Better capability to personalize content: Enables you the ability to send out automated emails when customers take certain actions on your website, like visiting a particular product page, abandoning a shopping cart or downloading a free report. These timely communications keeps your brand fresh on a prospect’s mind and provides more buying decision information when it matters most. In a nutshell: sales and upsells increase.

– Improved B2B relationship management: It’s estimated that more than half of a B2B buyer’s decision making process is done before they reach out to sales. Buyers are learning as much as they can before contacting companies. With marketing automation, you can indirectly guide the flow of information and make prospects more comfortable buying from you.

– Insight on how far along a prospect is in the sales cycle: Get insight into where a prospect has been on your website and how closely aligned a prospect is with your core demographic. Does this person meet all the demographics of people who typically buy from you? Has this person been to your pricing page? Should you send a special offer? Or does this prospect need more information before receiving a sales offer?

– Base analysis on cross-channel trends: Make predictive analysis based on sound data regarding which channels give you best bang for your buck. See which actions are most predictive of sales opportunities.   

You might like: 8 Ways to Use Marketing Automation to Generate Leads

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Image Source: Hatchbuck.com

4. You Can Beat The Learning Curve.

Even though 65% of marketers admitted they could be doing a better job staying in touch with consumers, only 13% said marketing automation was a priority. According to CIO Magazine, the problem is that “marketers are undergoing a crash course in emerging marketing technology that is upending their profession, and their education is lagging.” Autopilot CEO Mike Sharkey said that “44% of the people who weren’t using marketing automation didn’t even know what it was!” It can be a costly endeavor to get started with marketing automation when your marketers don’t understand the dashboard, the capabilities and how to adjust their work habits. Rather than getting to know a program inside-and-out, marketers are more likely to abandon platforms to defer accountability. Last year, VentureBeat reported that 38% of marketing automation users were considering switching systems.

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