Businesses all around us are looking to move online, primarily to generate more revenue. Buzzwords like Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, Marketing Automation are being thrown around with increasing frequency. With a proliferation of digital agencies around the world, it is becoming increasingly critical for you to differentiate yourself from the pack.
Your clients are depending on you to help turbo-charge their online efforts. Marketing Automation gives you the tools you need to move up the value chain with your clients.
What is marketing automation?
It is a term used for software which helps marketing and sales departments automate marketing tasks and in effect help improve conversion rates and staff productivity while reducing human error rates. Typical marketing automation software will offer several marketing campaigns under a single dashboard – email marketing, landing pages, drip marketing, social media, lead management and more.
Some examples of marketing automation providers include: Marketo, Pardot, HubSpot and yours truly (Canvass). Consumer preferences have changed. Gone are the days of blast and forget style marketing. End consumers don’t want to be subjected to mass marketing campaigns any more. Impersonal email marketing, while prevalent, is increasingly being ignored by consumers who favour personalized email outreach from businesses.
There is a significant shift of consumer preferences towards personalized and permission based marketing. Today’s consumers want to be educated, on their terms, at a time and location of their preference. Therefore, content plays a very important role in a consumer’s decision to buy from a brand.
How can marketing automation help you serve your clients better?
First, from your own agency’s perspective, you must adopt marketing automation to do smarter lead generation, more personalized lead nurturing and better post-sale support. Marketing automation systems will help you through your entire customer funnel by automating many of your tasks and giving your insights about your customers you never had before. Experiencing the benefits of marketing automation yourself will help you demonstrate the benefits to your clients better.
Second, after you have experienced the benefits of marketing automation yourself, you can now automate your clients marketing activities as well. By weaving technology into the client’s marketing and sales efforts, you will help them gain tremendous benefits both on the increased revenue and lowered cost perspectives.
Using marketing automation technology will ultimately help the smart agency differentiate itself from the competition. But before jumping on the marketing automation bandwagon, there are a few important questions you need to answer:
Are your clients ready?
Adopting marketing automation requires investment (both time and money). There has to be an investment in high quality content development to fuel the automation engine. A business has to take a somewhat longer term view to see results. Clients looking for quick wins are perhaps not the ideal candidates for marketing automation. Do you have access to clients who have the BANT (budget, authority, need, and timeline) to make this investment?
Is your team able to make a case for marketing automation?You need to invest in developing business cases and case studies which help convince your clients. Do you have enough ammunition to convince your clients to adopt a long term view and invest in the future of marketing?
What type of marketing automation services can you consider offering?
There are significant revenue generating opportunities here:
- Content design and marketing to help clients design high quality content that educates buyers and moves them through the purchase funnel
- Email program restructuring to move clients from blast email marketing to personalized email and lead nurturing programs
- Website changes to convert the website into a full blown marketing engine
- Sales process transformation to help sales reps focus on highly qualified and nurtured leads
- Marketing automation software setup and integration with CRMs to help clients have an easy on-boarding experience and a lot more.
Agencies that adapt with changing times will be well positioned to differentiate themselves and continue to move up the value chain with clients. With consumers demanding personalized marketing and business asking for marketing ROI more than ever before, it is imperative for you to evaluate how to integrate marketing automation into your service offerings.