Regardless of whether you work with B2B or B2C, you have probably, like many others, experienced that the term Marketing Automation is mentioned and seen more frequently.
But what does that really mean? Marketing Automation is a system that creates the opportunity to automate and personalize your digital marketing to generate new leads, convert leads to customers, and in the long run create loyal customer relationships.
That sounds great, right! But what does this mean for me as a marketer and sales rep?
Reach a greater number of customers with targeted and personalized communication
Automation of marketing processes
Automation is one of the biggest advantages of a marketing automation system. Your customer journeys and other marketing activities can be automated so that they are sent out based on the selected trigger. It could be the customer's birthday or when something specific happened, such as a customer leaving the purchase flow on your site or calling customer service. It is also possible to automate work processes that previously required manual handling and consumed a lot of time. It may be to send files to a print shop or to make customer selection.
Closer and more effective collaboration between market and sales
A major advantage of marketing automation is that it can create an often-awaited collaboration between the marketing and sales departments. The marketers use the system to reach a greater number of potential customers with targeted and personalized communication. Hot leads can then be identified and sent to sales for processing so that sellers can focus on qualified customers. The system can be used all the way from unknown customer base, to known potential customers, to identification of leads, leads processing, conversion to customer and hopefully to long-term loyal customer. In this way, a common image of the customer is created with invaluable information for both market and sales.
A marketing automation system enables effective follow-up of marketing activities that create a shared picture of results and customers' potential for both the market and sales departments. Based on this, new initiatives can be developed.
Testing is an extremely important component of working with your marketing automation system. A / B testing of everything from subject fields to content should be standard in order to ensure a built-in improvement mechanism in your marketing communication. Test–Measure–Adjust–Repeat is a mantra that should be implemented as a working method at the same time as the system!
Customer lifecycle model
The various phases of the customer lifecycle, from new to existing customers with customer loyalty as a goal.
An image of the customer is created with invaluable information for both marketing and sales.
Benefits and differences
Marketing automation is used and creates great benefits in both B2C and B2B. The differences in usage are not great, it is still people and human behavior that govern and for which we create the customer experience. With that said, we can point out some concrete differences:
In B2B, the buying cycles are considerably more complex, contain more decision makers and take much longer. Here, the system is primarily used for lead management. That is, lead identification and processing. For example, to identify leads among site visitors through scoring models, where visitors who reach a certain point level are considered a qualified lead. Processing is then done with defined customer journeys, automated and personalized market communication and a lot of personal contact.
Within B2C, the buying cycle is relatively short and you usually only have one stakeholder and decision maker. Purchases are made more spontaneously and are more emotionally based. The marketing automation system is used to create a complete customer experience where through automated and personalized customer communication you reach the customer with the right message, in the right channel at the right time.
For both areas, the marketing automation system is the hub of customer communication. This is where the customer experience is created and developed with the opportunities offered by the system. There are systems that can work well for both B2B and B2C with what is usually recommended is to buy a system that is more suited to each area. Examples of B2B custom systems are Pardot, Marketo and Hubspot while Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Adobe Campaign.
Inbound marketing + marketing automation = truth
Marketing automation is often mentioned in conjunction with the concept of Inbound marketing, which is very natural as they are closely related to each other. Inbound marketing can be described as a marketing strategy where companies create content and experiences that are attractive to existing and future customers. To implement the strategy, a smart tool is required, ie a marketing automation system. Inbound marketing is thus the strategy while marketing automation is the tool.