Last week I posted a blog about the basics of marketing automation—what it is and how it can help you create more relevant, personal customer interactions. This week, I want to take you a layer deeper into the powerful world of marketing automation and provide insight and tips into the right tools you need, how to get started and how you define and measure success.
We Can Help Determine Which Tool(s) Is Right for You
Harte Hanks offers marketing automation support in three main functional areas: execution, strategy and planning consultation, full-service ongoing support.
- Execution: We help clients execute within automation tools. When a client doesn’t have the resources internally to execute or select the tools they need, we can support as much or as little as they need to successfully carry out their project or campaign.
- Strategic planning and consulting: Our team can help determine an automation tool that’s right for you, especially if you don’t have a particular skill set or experience building a system from the ground up. Harte Hanks can also help you use marketing automation tools better, and optimize systems to help you achieve your goals quicker and more efficiently.
- Full-service support: Harte Hanks also offers “white glove” marketing automation support and can act as administrators or owners of the tools and platforms you have or will put in place. We will own the tools for you, make sure they are up and running, optimized and integrated to ensure we are maximizing results.
Getting Started, One Step at a Time
There’s no shortage of information, resources or tools when it comes to getting your marketing automation program off the ground. Here are my top five tips for getting started:
- Pick the tools that best suit your business needs: Identify a tool that fits your goals and your budget. We suggest tools that prevent unhealthy data and support better conversion rates, progressive profiling and social integrations. Most marketing automation tools provide complementary tools; so make sure to choose one that allows for flexibility and depth.
- Select the right team: Not only do you need the right tools, you also need the right skill set and human resources. Because of the complex nature of many marketing automation systems, training will be crucial to success. Empower your team to know, understand and follow best practices and spend an adequate amount of time with vendors to fully immerse with the systems.
- Integrate your automation marketing platforms with a CRM: Many brands use marketing automation solely as an email platform and then sync data with a CRM system. You will not be successful with marketing automation if your platforms are not working in tandem with your CRM. This prevents you from telling a holistic, cohesive story to and about your customers.
- Engage your sales force: Your sales team is the eyes and the ears in the field. They know what is happening with your customers. They can be an excellent source of knowledge about what is working and what needs to be re-evaluated.
- Have a plan, process and goal for your tools: Make sure you start integrating and building processes early to ensure the success of your marketing automation systems. Take things one step at a time: Start with an email, then test and refine based on real-time data. Building processes at the front will help you in the long run. You need to take a crawl-walk-run approach to be successful.
What Does Success Look Like?
At the end of the day, we want you to be more efficient and show a steady cadence of results in a shorter period of time. We want you to show the revenue you produced via marketing automation, as well as provide insights and analytics that drive strategy moving forward.
Because marketing automation makes your communications more strategic and controlled, we are able to offer relevant and personal information to customers and then receive high-quality data as a result. That allows us to serve the customer the information they need—the right information. This can create a halo effect for your brand by generating positive emotions about the communication.
A C-level executive might say a marketing automation tool is only successful if it helped the company secure new customers. The manager of that tool is going to think it’s successful if it’s implemented and used properly. The truth is, success is a combination of both. Implementation is key. You need to do more with marketing automation than just send single emails—you need to create nurture programs that will convert current and prospective customers to purchase.
With the right marketing automation tools and systems, the right team, and the right game plan, you can easily become a marketing automation pro. It is a game changer for many of our clients because it cuts down on human error and costs—while producing real, tangible sales results.