Why Marketing Automation is More Than Just Marketing

Acquisition Experience and Growth
James T Fletcher
CEO, Principal Consultant


With scrutiny over the CMO in the boardroom, it’s time to look at how marketing automation can contribute to wider business growth away from its typical role in marketing – and how marketers can convey this information to the C-Suite

Recently there have been a lot of discussions scrutinising Chief Marketing Officers who are, in some cases, starting to get pushed out of the boardroom by the arrival of “the new kid on the block”, the Chief Growth Officer. The CMO vs CGO debate has been sparked by a growing belief that Chief Marketing Officers don’t know how to speak the same language as the rest of the C-suite when it comes to results, and struggle to prove the value of the work they are doing.

Whichever side of this debate you fall on, one thing is clear: there is room in business for a more specific focus on growth. And many organisations are turning to technology to help make this happen. The aim of marketing isn’t simply to create leads but to drive growth, and automation plays a crucial role in this.

Here are six key ways in which automation contributes to growth:

1. Qualifying Leads

Not only can marketing automation technology generate leads for a business, but it can also be leveraged to assist in lead management, user journeys, progressive profiling web forms and personalised web, as well as a highly personalised experience for potential customers.

Many marketing professionals see a personalised email as something as little as changing the name in the greeting message but have no way of ensuring that the actual content of the message is relevant to the recipient.

A company will see a drastic improvement in conversion rates simply through creating a highly targeted and personalised experience for recipients – not only in the greeting but in the actual message. Marketing automation can use information about users’ engagement habits on a website to help understand the customer. It will encourage them through the user journey, gradually qualifying the lead before sending a message tailored to their wants and needs, and offering predictability of their likelihood of purchase.

2. Customer acquisition

Qualifying leads is a powerful way to improve customer acquisition processes. Having already leveraged automation to understand exactly what a customer is looking for from your business, the technology will also let you know when a potential customer is ready to be reached out to.

Using marketing automation in the leads pipeline plays an important role in creating a highly efficient process of turning leads into customers and improving your lead velocity rate. Each prospective customer will spend a certain amount of time in each stage of the pipeline, gradually progressing through specific stages.

Of course, marketing automation streamlines this process, minimising the length of time at each stage, and ultimately improving conversion rates.

Acquisition through this technique in marketing automation will not only increase efficiency within a business – saving both time and money throughout the process – but it will also improve chances of completing a sale, thus contributing to the growth of a business.

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3. Customer nurturing

Of course, attracting new customers is crucial, but it seems that many overlook existing customers when it comes to growing businesses. Research suggests that it can be as much as 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to sell to an existing one.

If used to its full capacity, marketing automation is not even just about customer acquisition – used in the right ways, it can be very effective in supporting the wider business through customer retention.

Once a lead becomes a customer, the automation-powered personalised experience used to qualify leads can also be integrated as part of a customer nurturing campaign, continuing to make the customer feel valued, improving customer satisfaction and increasing loyalty – thus increasing the chances of upselling or cross-selling.

Marketing automation can facilitate cross-channel marketing, helping to keep your brand at the front of customers’ thoughts, not only through email but across other channels such as personalised landing pages, social media and paid advertising – all coming together to consistently drive home the same targeted message.

Streamlining across these different channels also provides an opportunity to optimise spend, making sure that you are targeting the right people with the right messages, rather than sending a flurry of prospecting messages to both potential customers and existing clients.

4. Cross-selling & upselling

While a customer will certainly appreciate it, the purpose of customer nurturing isn’t only to make them happy. Companies shouldn’t just be measuring their growth by the number of new customers, but through revenue. Studies have found that a return customer is more than 11 times as likely to buy more from a company that they already patronise than a new one.

Growth not only comes from a new business but also from cross-selling and upselling within your already established customer base. While this personalised customer journey can improve a business’s chances of acquiring customers, taking automation a step further also helps to retain those customers and make the most of their good experiences with your product.

5. The evolving customer experience

In a day and age where people have access to whatever they want at the tip of their finger, with various options to choose from, the customer experience is increasingly important to attracting and retaining business. Marketing automation is already playing a huge part in that, but as an understanding of exactly what it can do spreads throughout the industry, we will see marketing continue to develop this further.

The buzzwords circling the industry today are quite obvious: AI and Big Data and for good reason. A lot of people have been comparing the two, but in the next few years, it’s heavily anticipated that they will very much be working together in the marketing space. With Big Data as the input and AI providing the output, we’re already seeing a marked improvement in customer service through virtual assistants, automated content production, and better, faster decisions with deep learning. The opportunities for the future are phenomenal.

As well as enabling more sophisticated personalisation, Big Data and AI development will begin to handle the mundane work for marketers like completing research and pooling potential targets. From this, we could see the entire operation of marketing campaigns shift – freeing up more time for marketers to focus on how to create the best possible personalised campaigns and customer experiences.

More than it says on the tin

Failing to understand the full extent of what marketing automation can do for a business is an expensive mistake. Not only can the technology help attract new customers, but it can also increase a company’s chances of continuing to grow through further profits from retained customers, all while making them feel important and valued by the brand.

Marketing automation allows the automation of the businesses process to drive lead velocity. The technology allows users to understand the most effective channels that can be utilised to attract prospects, and where to focus a company’s resources and efforts. Through this, more sales can be completed at a quicker rate – driving ROI and accelerating growth.

As technology develops, marketing’s contribution to the customer experience will only improve, and satisfaction rates – which are continually becoming more important in sales – will continue in the same vein. It’s a technology that businesses can’t afford to not take advantage of.

The original article was published on 20 November 2018 at Martech Advisor