Automation is rapidly taking over almost all aspects of business processes across industries. Marketing is no exception to this growing trend.
According to Markets and Markets, the global marketing automation market size is expected to grow from $3.3 billion in 2019 to $6.4 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 13.9% during the forecast period.
However, to be able to better manage your marketing workflows and retain more clients, you need to plan your marketing automation from the beginning. There are a few things that you need to take care of before the automation sets in to ensure better and more consistent results.
But before looking into those, let’s first take a quick glance at what marketing automation means.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation involves using technology to automate various marketing and related activities. The primary goal of marketing automation is to be able to manage multiple campaigns, gather real-time customer data, understand user behavior and target prospects across multiple channels with ease and accuracy.
Investing in a good quality marketing automation platform can bring down costs, reduce manpower and increase the impact of your campaigns. It also enables you to run data-driven campaigns.
4 Things to Do Before Automating Your Marketing
To make sure your marketing automation can work at its full capacity, you need to take care of a few things first. Here are four things that you should do before setting up marketing automation.
1. Identify what your target audience needs
As a marketer, you must already know that your marketing needs to focus on what your customers want. So, the first step before setting up automation is to figure out what your target audience needs.
When it comes to automated communications, focusing on the pain points and expectations of your target audience is likely to increase your chances of generating leads. One of the best ways to identify what your target audience wants is through social media monitoring.
You can scan through the social media accounts of your target audience, relevant social media groups and conversations to see what they are currently talking about. For example, if your target audience is talking about lease management, as a real estate marketing agency, you can focus your campaigns on these issues.
You can also use other methods like an email survey or make one-on-one calls with a few of your existing customers. Both these methods will allow you to get a deeper understanding of their needs.
2. Define the customer journey
Along with what your customers want, you also need to know when they want it. That’s why you have to define the customer journey for your target audience. In the B2B industry, most customers go through different steps before making a purchase.
A B2B customer journey map may involve the following steps:
- Identification: Your prospect will identify the problem and start searching for a solution
- Search: The target audience is intensely searching for a solution or service to resolve their issue
- Assessment: The target audience will start evaluating shortlisted solutions to see which best fits their needs and budget
- Test: Your prospect will have shortlisted a few solutions that they are willing to try or experiment with on a pilot scale
- Purchase: Based on the results of the previous stage, the target audience will make the purchase
- Retain: Your current customer is going to need ongoing support to keep doing business with you. If not, you are going to lose them to one of your competitors
You need to step into the shoes of your target audience to see what marketing approach will appeal to them most at each stage. Knowing this will help you streamline your marketing automation to get the best results.
3. Check which marketing activities can be automated
You don’t have to automate your marketing just because everyone else is. Furthermore, not all of your marketing activities will need to be automated. Find out for yourself which of your marketing activities will be most improved with automation.
For example, adding a chatbot to your website can be a great way to get more leads. With automation, you don’t have to ask one of your marketing strategists to run a live chat. Chatbots can also keep generating leads practically 24/7, which is a great advantage if your target audience is located across the globe.
Chatbots can help you save considerable money and improve your customer care service as well. According to Gartner, organizations report a reduction of up to 70% in call, chat and/or email inquiries after implementing a chatbot.
So, make sure to think about various aspects of your marketing activities before going for automation.
4. Set your marketing objectives
The final step is to set your marketing objectives before the automation. Your objectives need to be SMART, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
For example, “creating brand awareness” and “generating leads” are good marketing objectives. However, they are not specific or time-bound. Instead, you can decide to grow your brand awareness by 10% in the coming three months or generate 20 more leads in the next two months. These marketing objectives are SMART.
Setting the correct marketing objectives can help you create highly targeted marketing campaigns. When it comes to automation, setting business goals can help you align your marketing resources, analyze consumer behavior data and create the content accordingly.
Furthermore, it will help provide your sales team with better and more suitable leads. This, in turn, will help you generate better ROI for every campaign. In other words, objective-driven marketing automation can generate higher revenue and growth, without wasting any of your resources.
However, make sure to get every stakeholder, including your sales, production, supply chain and administration teams on board when creating your marketing objectives. Because, once your campaigns start, your company should be able to cater to the new leads.
Automation is fast becoming an integral part of marketing for B2B businesses. Armed with these tips, you will be able to enjoy the true benefit of marketing automation. Of course, you will need to keep monitoring and optimizing your marketing automation continuously for better results. Good luck growing your brand presence and getting more leads out there!