If you have your ear to the ground – or if you have been doing some online research into a particular technology you are considering for your business, you are likely to have become the recipient of marketing automation technology.
Perhaps you have been researching CRMs like Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics, or you have been reviewing some of the other web based apps in the market, from Vend for point of sale to Xero for accounting or Timely for appointment management.
How would you know if you are receiving content through a marketing automation system?
1) You have been quietly researching away and possibly asking for demos or downloading the occasional whitepaper or slide deck and you start receiving emails from the companies you have visited.
2) You are also likely to start being followed around by advertising for the sites you have been to lately. That’s a slightly different thing, but part of the same larger picture.
3) Sales people might contact you by phone or email and be quite well informed about your business and the areas you seem to be interested in. They might also know what content on their websites you have spent the most time reading. If they are good at their jobs, they will use the information to build a relationship with you, answer all of your questions and ultimately make a sale.
How does it work?
Marketing automation technology (and there are many options out there) is based on adding cookies to the browsers of people visiting a website. Those cookies also enable the retargeting mentioned above (the ads following you).
The cookies will help a business start to build a profile of visitors to their website, and start nurturing them as leads once they start acting in a certain way.
So for example, if you fill in a form on their site requesting information or a download, then you open and respond to emails they send you, then you communicate with their sales team to set up a product demo, they will assign you a lead score through the system, which helps to work out if you are a likely prospect who is worth cultivating further.
If you indicate to the company that you are not ready to buy for another 12 months or so, or that your budget is at a certain level, they will adjust the information within their marketing automation system and the related CRM accordingly.
From a personal perspective, if you don’t want to be marketed to, you can regularly clear the cookies on your browsers and far less data will be gathered.
Marketing automation platforms also make it possible for highly targeted, relevant content to be delivered to prospective customers at the point they are actually interested in your product or service, rather than when it suits you to send out your usual ‘one size fits all’ newsletter.
From a business perspective, if you are interested in how marketing automation might be applicable to your business, then we welcome you to join us for one of our digichat events around marketing automation technologies.
To throw a little data in the mix, here is a quote from demand generation firm Annuitas:
“Nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Plus, a quarter of all companies that adopt marketing automation experience a revenue increase of between 30 and 49 percent.”