Guest post by Gene Morris.
Two common business terms combined describe the an increasingly popular outreach tool: marketing automation. According to marketing research firm Raab Associates, the marketing automation system industry will reach $750 million in 2013, growing 50 percent from 2012. Developing a personal rapport with businesses has been an enduring characteristic of successful B2B marketing, so it seem counterintuitive to rely on automated emails and social media platforms. But marketing automation systems aren’t meant to replace personal engagement. Rather, they provide a way to stay regularly connected to potential clients.
Once an unproven strategy, marketing automation has emerged as a vital B2B tactic. As you scale your brand outreach, marketing automation systems can keep you relevant, in touch and on time.
What is Marketing Automation?
Nurturing a lead into a customer is a gradual process. A series of emails may pique a client’s interest, followed by phone calls to get more in depth and a meeting to seal a deal. In the past, if your business wanted to market to a wide audience, it took an armada of dedicated outreach specialists. Marketing automation software handles some of the menial tasks that take up marketers’ time. Professionals can pass along first-contact emails to marketing automation systems, enabling professionals to focus on prospects that have expressed interest. Automation systems can also remind professionals when it’s time to check in with a client, follow up with a prospect or search for new leads.
Marketing automation systems can benefit both B2B companies large and small, whether you’re looking for cash flow at American Express or growing a customer base from scratch.
How Does it Work?
The systems may be automated, but the set-up is under your control. To launch an automated email campaign, marketers draft templates explaining the benefits of a potential partnership. The system can either send out emails automatically or pass through an approval system to ensure relevance. A web display marketing campaign used to require hours of research to find relevant sites at appropriate rates. Now, marketing automation systems can search for web sites in your industry at your price. Systems like Marketo can unify marketing and sales efforts. Marketo can connect with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics systems, further simplifying the outreach process.
Why Should I Use It?
Marketing automation systems are a significant step up in sophistication from email service providers (ESPs). We might look back some day and think how trite these systems were compared to (blank), but in the current marketing space, marketing automation is proving its worth. The Internet has opened up a new sea of advertising space, and savvy companies are using technology to get on top of technology. It’s the only logical solution. The longer you wait to adopt technology-driven marketing strategies, the lower you’ll be on the digital marketing totem poll. These systems will help you win business.
About the author: While finishing his degree in finance, Gene Morris enjoys spending his free time reading and writing about business and tools for financial management.