Marketing Automation is a Rear-View Camera, Not a Self-Driving Car

on September 2, 2016

Marketing Automation is a Rear-View Camera, Not a Self-Driving Car

Marketing automation is certainly becoming a necessity among B2B marketers—a recent study found that 53% of companies are applying the technology and 17% more are considering it. There’s the illusion that MAP is a lead generation panacea. Indeed, push-button convenience is a hot topic surrounding 21st-century technology, such as the self-driving cars. But just as the name “self-driving” cars misleads consumers to think they can abandon the stirring wheel and let the car do the driving, “marketing automation” creates the same misconception.

Marketing automation isn’t something you can set up and neglect. Tools that automate marketing efforts serve more as a rearview backup camera, with the B2B marketer in the front seat.

When “driving” your company’s customer acquisition strategy and integrating it across all channels – including social media– for a sharp and consistent brand message, MAPs can help you draw the right prospects into your sales funnel with the highest level of efficiency. By integrating your MAP with a social media management platform you can sync all of the lead data for a seamless marketing picture.

Here’s how to make the most of MAP for your enterprise, with some key insights on how social media fits into the picture.

Solidify Your Sales Funnel and Lead Nurturing Strategy

The first step in preparing for marketing automation is to take a close look at the marketing intelligence you’ve already acquired. Review your market segmentation and buyer personas respectively, to understand the kind of companies you do business with, and what motivates point-persons to purchase your solutions. That involves conducting market research with the goal of discovering the best aspects of past customer relationships, so you can repeat what already works.

With 79% of inbound leads never converting unless nurtured, revising your nurturing strategy with these common approaches is sure to pay dividends in the long run:

Once you’ve nailed down what your customers want—in excruciating detail, if necessary—you’re prepared to build marketing automation workflows that show exactly how your brand story will unfold.

When building the “logic” behind your marketing automation, it’s important not to leave any stone unturned. Since it will be the backbone of your lead gen efforts, all relevant parties in the company should be on the same page and ready to implement the plan from day one.

Establish a Plan to Track Campaign Progress and Performance

You’ll need to track everything you do—both quantitatively and qualitatively—as you drive the marketing “car.” Even if you counter errors while using marketing automation, you’ll be able to see exactly where and how you can improve the experience for your audience, leading them to like (and consider purchasing from) your brand even more. You’ll also save precious time by identifying weak spots in your campaign.

Here’s what you can do to qualitatively assess campaign performance:

Of course, quantitative measures are critical as well:

For every successful implementation of marketing automation, there’s a B2B marketer behind it who’s focused on refining the campaign on a small and large scale.

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Launch Your Campaigns

If you’ve laid all the groundwork—cementing a specific strategy for drawing leads into your sales funnel, committing to testing every part of your campaigns, and making sure sales and marketing are all on board with the plans—it’s time to let the “rear-view camera” of marketing automation do its job for you.

Of course, you’ll remain in the driver’s seat, collecting feedback from your audience and leveraging real-time dialogue across sales and marketing teams to refine the campaign along the way. In particular, you might look for new “entry points” into developing or changing segments of the market, since B2B markets are constantly changing. Involving your marketing team and employee advocates in social media communities is a great way to stay relevant at all times.

Just like the basic accessories of a car are useful if used adeptly and thoughtfully, marketing automation can only benefit lead acquisition and brand messaging efforts when marketing is fully involved in planning, testing, and tracking campaigns. By keeping those things in mind, you’ll be able to set up your marketing automation efforts for the success that the most prominent brands are experiencing right now.

Lead Generation Sales