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Marketing Automation: What You Really Need To Know To Get Started

Posted by Charalampos Pavlakis on 6 September, 2018

According to HubSpot, businesses using marketing automation to nurture leads increased qualified leads by 451%

Marketing automation is no longer a luxury, but in our opinion, it has become a necessity. With hundreds or even thousands of leads to keep track of, B2B marketers are faced with the challenge of how to best develop these relationships to generate new customers. This is exactly where marketing automation comes in to play. It can help you manage multiple tasks at once, collect valuable data on prospects and deliver personalised content in an efficient manner. 


What is Marketing Automation

Marketing automation refers to the software that helps you automate your marketing (and sales) activities. According to HubSpot, "marketing automation allows companies to buy and sell like Amazon—that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalised, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on investment (ROI)".

Marketing automation platforms were designed to make your life easier. They allow you to automate, streamline, and measure marketing tasks and workflows to drive efficiency and grow revenue. Once you have a marketing automation platform, you will realise that the more interaction and information you have on your leads, the better you can engage with them and the easier it is to convert them into loyal and satisfied customers. 


What it is not

  • A fancy name for email marketing: Marketing automation encompasses marketing campaigns across all channels—from direct mail and phone campaigns to online and social initiatives. However, marketing automation is not only that. It combines insight-focused capabilities from your CRM, lead management system, web analytics platform, and other systems to create something that’s more than the sum of the parts. 
  • A way to send spam: Technology delivers results based upon how you use it. Yes, it can be used for "bad marketing", like spam. But most importantly, it can also be used for exceptional marketing that connects with customers based on their preferences. 
  • A solution that only benefits marketing: There is no denying that the marketing department benefits from marketing automation, however, when implemented correctly, it positively impacts the sales process and improves marketing and sales alignment, which ultimately lead to an increase in revenues (and satisfied customers). 
  • A solution that delivers value without effort: If only you could just buy marketing automation technology, then sit back and watch the results produce themselves...
    But no. To get the results from marketing automation, it requires a comprehensive strategy that integrates the right processes, people, content, data, and more. It assists you to nurture your leads with the purpose of winning the new contacts, clients, and influencers, that your company needs in order to grow.


Quick reference: the most common features & functions

  • Email Marketingemail marketing refers to the use of email to develop relationships with potential customers and/or clients.
  • Landing Pagesa landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign. Landing pages are designed with a single focused objective – known as a Call to Action (CTA).
  • Marketing Campaign Management: This refers to the planning, executing, tracking and analysis of direct marketing campaigns. These tasks span the entire lifecycle of a marketing campaign, from inception to launch to an integrated evaluation of all results.
  • Lead Management: This refers to the complete process of tracking and managing marketing and sales leads - from the generation of leads to their conversion into sales and on into their long-term relationship.
  • Lead Nurturing: Over 50% of your leads are not ready to make a purchase. With a proper lead nurturing strategy, you can build stronger relationships with buyers along their buyer journeys by tailoring information to their needs and interests. In other words, you can send the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Effective nurturing programs help to generate more sales-ready leads and increase revenue. 
  • Lead Scoring: Lead scoring allows you to pinpoint where leads are in the buyer's journey and determine whether they are sales-ready or need further nurturing. As a marketer, you can evaluate how well a lead aligns with your ideal buyer by looking at the following lead dimensions.
  • Lead Attribution: The goal of lead attribution is to understand which channels, campaigns, and content pushed leads to convert. There are three common attribution models:
    • First touch: Giving credit to the first interaction that led buyers to convert
    • Last touch: Focusing on the last interaction that led buyers to convert
    • Multi-touch: Looking at all of the campaigns and channels that led buyers to convert
  • CRM IntegrationCRM integration focusses on automatically combining your marketing and your CRM, so that they function together seamlessly. Instead of using your CRM solely to store customer information based on manual entries, integrating it with your marketing automation software ensures an automatic enrichment of your customer data, based on their interaction with each and every one of your (online) marketing activities. 
  • Marketing AnalyticsMarketing analytics enables marketers to gain detailed insights on the success of their marketing initiatives at the press of a button. This is accomplished by measuring performance (e.g., blogging versus social media versus channel communications), assessing ROI and evaluating overall marketing effectiveness.
  • Social MediaManaging your business’ social media accounts might sound like a simple task, but that's definitely not the case. Managining your companys' social media accounts is a lot of work which can be simplified with the help of marketing automation. Essentially, social media scheduling tools let you plan and schedule content across your social networks.
  • A/B TestingConnecting with customers is both an art and a science, and finding the right combination of design, copy and call to action can be challenging. Brilliant concepts are only the beginning. A/B testing is an excellent way to determine which designs and copy will get the most conversions. For example, you can quickly discover whether the call to action “Buy Now” or “Shop for Deals” will work better with your target segment, or whether a red button gets more action than a green one. You can experiment with any aspect of an email, landing page, or form that might have an impact on conversion. Compare how your customers actively respond to different versions, so you know in a concrete, measurable way which of the two alternatives delivers the best results. 
  • Blog: Marketing automation can significantly help you with your blogging efforts in a variety of ways. Of course, if you’re already spending your days working hard on your blog, adding in marketing automation might sound like a whole second job. But it doesn’t have to be. With some simple automation strategies, you’ll be able to automate your blog marketing and get back to the actual blogging and engaging with your readers. These automation strategies will:
    • Help you create newsletters
    • Attract new subscribers with content you’ve already created
    • Ensure that readers get the content they want

Some interesting statistics

According to emailmonday, on average 51% of companies are currently using Marketing automation. With more than half of B2B companies (58%) plan to adopt the technology. – Emailmonday “The Ultimate Marketing Automation stats”. (2017)

There are many statistics about the impact of Marketing Automation. Here a few we felt may be of interest to you:

  • 330% increase in click-through rate
  • 180% higher open rate 

In 2017, an MIT Sloan MBA student completed a research study on the ROI of using HubSpot's marketing, sales, and CRM software. Highlights include:

  • 3.50x more leads per month within one year
  • 79% of customers saw an increase in sales revenue within one year 


And if you are thinking about implementing marketing automation...

There are a few key things that you should keep in mind...

Without a doubt, there are many pieces that must be put in place to establish a successful marketing automation strategy, however, there are two key principles believe you must keep in mind when developing a strategy that can successfully scale and evolve with your customers:

  • Recognizing that marketing automation does not do marketing and lead generation for you, but can help scale your successful efforts. The first step is building a pipeline of good fit leads by generating relevant, optimized content that speaks to your prospect’s needs and challenges. This is where inbound marketing becomes the building blocks of your marketing funnel.
  • Centering your marketing messages around the real, live person at the receiving end of your campaigns. That means we should treat them like a real person, not a fragmented self across different tools like email, social media, etc. If we can leverage all the marketing tools, channels and behavioral data possible to paint a complete picture of a person, we can nurture them based on their unique challenges and interests, not based solely on the emails they open or click through.

If you are interested into learning more about Marketing Automation with HubSpot, join us at one of our workshops in Munich!

Workshop Marketing Automation


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