What is marketing automation? It’s a cross-channel marketing system where you can manage the targeting, timing, and content of your outbound marketing messages in concert with prospect actions and behaviors.
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To run effective demand generation and lead management processes, marketers must respond personally to each prospect in the buying process. But given the sheer volume of most marketing campaigns, you can’t possibly identify and respond to each sign of buyer interest manually. If you really want to target customers and prospects with the right messages at the right time, you’ll need a cross-channel marketing platform that customizes content and automates the timing of all your marketing communications.
Over the past decade, the customer’s ability to self-educate has increased astronomically. Buyers can use websites and social media to learn their options and refine their preferences. By the time they engage a business, they've probably already made their buying decision, based on information from you, your competitors, and multiple third-party sites.
What does this mean for marketers? We need to work differently. In the past, marketers and marketing automation software focused on developing and sending batch-and-blast emails. Today, we need marketing automation software to orchestrate the precise information that buyers need as they move through the process.
Personalizing Content to Buyer Roles
As we seek to deliver the right message at the right time, we must also make sure our content marketing is highly personalized to each buyer's role in the organization. To truly segment our messaging, we’ll need to be able to trust the data in the marketing database. No matter where that data comes from, it will need to be cleansed and standardized continually. That’s where data management and data activation play a key role.
Marketing remains as much of an art as it ever was. Compelling offers, captivating visuals, clear positioning, and convincing copy are still challenging to create. Even though today’s new buying process requires elements of science in automating how marketing messages will be delivered, building an understanding of market segments, buyer journeys, and what moves a buyer still differentiates the best marketers from the merely good ones.
As we shift from sending bulk outbound messages to focusing on understanding and facilitating each prospect’s buying process, we need new technical capabilities. Marketing automation can guide the conversations, timing, and personalization we need to make the shift.