Why Marketing Automation Makes Sense

To run effective demand generation and lead management processes, B2B marketers must respond individually 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 marketing automation software platform that customizes content and automates the timing of all your marketing communications. 


Reaching a New Breed of Buyer

Over the past decade, the customer’s ability to self-educate has increased astronomically. Buyers can use vendor, analyst, and social media websites to understand their options and refine their own preferences. By the time they pick up the phone to speak with a vendor, 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 B2B marketers? We need to work differently. In the past, marketers and marketing software focused on developing and sending high-volume outbound emails. Today, if we hope to guide buyers to consider, prefer, and select our products and services, we need marketing automation software that provides the precise information buyers need as they move through the buying process.


By helping us observe and understand a prospective buyer's digital body language, marketing automation software can help us determine where they are in the buying process and what’s of most interest to them. Lead scoring, a key part of any marketing automation platform, allows us to categorize these observations so that we can determine whether the buyer is ready for a conversation with Sales, or should be held back and nurtured with high-value web content until buying signals emerge.


Personalizing Content to Buyer Roles

As we seek to deliver the right message at the right time, we must also make sure our content is highly personalized to each buyer's role in the organization. Executive buyers will respond to different messages than their employees, and those in Marketing will respond to different concepts than those in Human Resources. 


To truly segment our messaging, of course, 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. Most of today’s marketing automation solutions provide some form of built-in data management.


This individualized approach to the relevance – in terms of targeting, timing, and content – of each marketing message can only be successfully accomplished with marketing automation. By automating the underlying lead scoring, nurture marketing, and data management, we can successfully understand our prospective buyers and deliver the right messages to them.


How Marketing Automation Supports a More Focused Approach

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 platforms can guide the conversations, timing, and personalization we need to make the shift.

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