There is a growing interest in B2C Marketing Automation (sometimes called Consumer Marketing Automation) as marketers feel the pressure of keeping up with huge datasets, audiences, and transparent performance metrics.
Now that buyer’s research most purchases (even trivial ones) online, publishing quality content is vital. And measuring customers reactions to content and sales propositions means another message can be targeted to move them towards purchase.
The term “marketing automation” seems to originate from the 1990′s when the first bulk email systems were created, but the available tools have progressed a long way since then. Now, most marketing automation tools help with the following aspects of a marketers job:
- Sending messages across multiple channels to your audience
- Scoring and segmenting audiences based on their past activity
- Building a single customer view, which can be integrated with your CRM system, or replaces it altogether
Our take is that marketing automation needs to start higher up the ‘funnel’, publishing content that is not sales-related, but aspirational and lifestyle focused, in order to attract and engage customers at an earlier point. This means that customers actually get value from the brand, and much more data can be collected at an earlier stage, creating an explicit permission from the customer to hear more, and giving the marketer more data to propose the right solution. Rather than just provide “clicks and conversion” data, we use semantic web analytics to build much richer profiles of every customer – treating them as people rather than prospects just capable of making a purchasing decision.
But it’s really not a great name
The trouble with ‘marketing automation’ as an industry term is that it places emphasis on automation. Actually probably the most important benefit these tools provide is a single customer view – unifying analytics across channels.
“What they don’t do, is automate marketing. What they do do, is give marketers a helluva lot more data to use to make quality decisions, and automatic publishing to multiple channels.” – Me.
As Adam Blitzer, the COO at Pardot said, “While automation gives a ‘set it and forget it’ vibe, those who are constantly monitoring their campaigns and making adjustments will typically see the greatest success. Is a 30-day lead nurturing program better than a 90-day program? Which form on my landing page is getting more responses? These are the kinds of questions that require human intervention.”
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