Marketing automation has grown into a billion-dollar industry by offering better customer experience, improved resource allocation and the ability to more cost-effectively scale operations. Though there is a much more to consider, core system capabilities include:
- Centralized marketing database
- Lead scoring and nurturing
- Email & social marketing and list management
- Content management, landing pages and website visitor tracking
- Native CRM integration
Regardless of approach, journalism creates a better customer experience & ROI
No matter the marketing automation approach you choose, designing a framework to power your digital marketing solution is critical. Automating repetitive tasks reduces labor, enhance brand consistency and improve responsiveness to customers.
Successful marketers use automation tools to design seamless customer nurturing workflows around content to meet their revenue objectives. A closed loop system ties marketing to either the CRM, e-commerce system or both, provides data that paints a more complete picture of your marketing activities across channels and maximizes attribution of marketing dollars to sales results.
As you contemplate investing in a fully integrated marketing automation strategy, keep in mind that the right content approach backed by solid journalism offers your brand a framework to use age-old publishing techniques for building your customer audience.
Early Adoption of Automated Marketing
Many companies do not use marketing automation at all yet, let alone effectively. According to the Marketing Automation MARKET INTELLIGENCE REPORT: B2B Marketing Automation Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide from Third Door Media, Inc., 35% of companies surveyed had all the technology tools needed and of those, only 20% fully utilize them.
Another report, the 2016 Marketing Technology Adoption Survey Report by Dotmailer, highlights that 26% of marketing professionals surveyed are using marketing automation this year, while 36% are assigning budget in 2017. The lack of skilled or experienced marketing automation professionals is one inhibitor, as configuring marketing automation requires knowledge and expertise to achieve desired results. Marketing automation providers are helping by developing more user-friendly systems.
Three Distinct Approaches to Marketing Automation Content
Marketing automation powers three popular approaches designed to attract, engage, convert and delight customers.
Content Marketing. This method refers to the various types of content — blogs, e-books, infographics, podcasts, videos, etc. — created to provide thought leadership.
Inbound Marketing. Pioneered by HubSpot almost 10 years ago, inbound marketing uses blogging and social media updates for targeted mass consumption, but is not as intrusive as outbound techniques.
Account-Based Marketing. This strategic B2B approach connects personalized marketing and sales activities to create new opportunities and deepen relationships with targeted accounts. Marketing automation vendors like Act-On provide lead scoring and nurturing and a single, account-level view of a buying team.
Journalism Works for All Three Marketing Automation Approaches
One content style that’s gaining favor in all three of these approaches uses journalism as the ethos underlying all publishing activities. Brand journalism, as it has become known, uses publishing techniques to guide marketing efforts. Linking publishing efforts to marketing and sales using automation enables brand marketers to optimize content consumption throughout the customer journey and ties publishing activities to ROI.
Think Like a Publisher or Perish
Even if you don’t get into the brand publishing game, it’s likely your competition soon will. The Holy Grail is to provide customers a more satisfying online experience as a competitive differentiator to increase revenues, profits and market share. Selecting the right approach and a journalism-based content strategy will get your marketing automation initiative off on the right foot with your audience.
Keith R. Reynolds is a speaker, writer, marketer and solution strategist at Austin Lawrence Group, a B2B inbound agency in the NY-Tristate area. He leads their Inbound Journalism practice, providing strategic content, inbound and marketing automation guidance for clients. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @maximfuel.