Marketing Automation

Marketing Agility and Marketing Automation

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A couple of weeks ago I joined the Marketo consulting team and I’m excited to be part of such a fast-growing and successful organization. Before joining Marketo I was an independent marketing automation consultant and blogger at LeadSloth. Next to my new day job, I will still be blogging at LeadSloth.com, and I will also still be involved in the Marketing Automation Monday meetups.

As I’m getting started in my new job, I’m talking to many people and reflecting on the key benefits of marketing automation projects. One concept that keeps coming back is marketing agility. There are several definitions, but I would define it as “the ability to optimize marketing activities based on changes in customer preferences and behavior”.

So what do you need to make your marketing more agile? I’d say:

  1. A single view of the customer or prospect
  2. The ability to act upon customers insights
  3. Automation of this process

Let’s look at each of these three elements in more detail.

Single View of the Customer

The foundation for marketing agility is laid by gathering in-depth information on your prospect’s or customer’s preferences and behavior. However, in many organizations this information is either not collected, or it’s stored in many different locations. Also, the information that is collected often has a lot of duplicates and other errors. So any marketing agility initiative should start with capturing as many details as possible, storing this in a central location and ensuring the quality of the data. Often, the central data repository is a CRM or Marketing Automation system.

Ability to Act Upon Customer Insights

Nowadays, customers and prospects interact with organizations though many different channels. They can call, email, visit your website or check out your Facebook page. These interactions themselves provide you with additional insights: for example, if a prospect visits the detailed pricing page, you’ve just captured a buying signal. Also, they may update their demographic information when they register on your site, or when a salesperson captures additional information in the CRM system. “Actionable” means that specific behavior or changes in demographic information can trigger the most appropriate marketing campaign. Although marketing agility starts with have a rich view of the customer, the real value is created when this information is used to optimize campaign effectiveness.

Marketing Automation

Creating a single view of the customer and acting on the intelligence you’re gathering is only feasible if it’s automated. Simon Daniels summarizes is very succinctly in a comment on Mac McIntosh’s blog ” Marketers need to be able to focus on the “what” of campaigns and demand generation, not the “how”, and marketing automation is a big part of that.” And that’s how we get to the role of marketing automation. Automating existing processes can create some additional efficiencies, but it won’t make your marketing agile. Being agile means that you learn how to respond to changes in behavior and preferences, almost in real-time. And that’s exactly what marketing automation technology enables. If you realize this agile vision, you’ll find that conversion rates are going up and that cross-selling becomes a lot more effective.

Conclusion

An agile marketing approach will transform the marketing department from a passive campaign creator into a proactive revenue generator. Becoming good at agile marketing is a gradual process: there will be lots of small steps forwards, and I still have to meet a company that has the “ideal” agile marketing system.

I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas about Agile Marketing. Please leave a comment, or send me an email (jep at marketo dot com).