B-to-B Insights: Au-to-mate!
"The primary benefits of marketing automation are 1) it allows marketers to accomplish more, usually at a lower cost, than they can get done manually, and 2) it facilitates continuous improvement by allowing marketers to track and measure the results of their campaigns, then make necessary adjustments in near real-time," says McIntosh.
According to McIntosh, marketing automation systems produce superior response. One company found that while just 7 percent to 17 percent of their marketing communications were generated by the marketing automation system, those automated communications were responsible for between 40 percent and 60 percent of their sales.
He says that while B-to-B marketers recognize the value of marketing automation, many of those with systems installed don't fully take advantage of them. "In my opinion, 90 percent of B-to-B marketers that have marketing automation systems still batch and blast solo email campaigns rather than use automated, action-triggered email sequences."
As an example of marketing automation in action, McIntosh recalls a time when he started to download a whitepaper but was interrupted and never completed the action. The next day, he received an email with a link giving him another opportunity to get the whitepaper.
A typical marketing automation sequence might be: 1) watch a video offering a free e-book, 2) download the e-book, 3) attend a webinar, 4) take a demo, 5) accept a free trial offer. McIntosh notes that while automated marketing sequences follow a series of logical steps, you should always allow the prospect the option of jumping ahead to the last step, whether it's a trial offer or purchase.
Nurture Your Leads AND Be Social!
With marketing automation systems, lead nurturing can be built into the campaign, and this aspect of marketing is often missing in standalone campaigns. "Pre-Internet, there was a study showing that if 100 people respond to an ad, 17 buy; but if you follow up those 100 leads, 45 will buy," says McIntosh.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.