Companies that are challenged by marketing automation (MA) deployments will be happy to learn that they’re not alone.  Sixty percent of companies struggle to find the resources necessary to successfully deploy marketing automation within their organization, according to a study conducted by Econsultancy on behalf of Act-On Software. Fifty percent of survey respondents said their company doesn’t have the skills or experience to get the most out of marketing automation.

The majority of companies that have deployed MA were able to prove return on investment (ROI) within three to six months. Six percent of companies were able to generate ROI in less than a month, and 14 percent were able to prove ROI between one and three months after deployment.

“Marketing automation is a somewhat a new concept for the mainstream audience, which means there is still a fundamental lack of marketing automation expertise,” said Michelle Huff, CMO at Act-On Software. We still see a divide between those marketers who know how to use and those who do not know how to use marketing automation. This is why it is an important charter for vendors to offer and provide continuous learning and education to help keep marketers at the forefront of the marketing automation game and skilled on the latest use cases.”

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation lets you create pre-programmed email sequences that are triggered when a customer interacts with you or your company.  For instance, let’s say someone submits a form on your website to download an article.  Once they interact with your company they are added to a marketing automation software as a contact.  Once they are one of your contacts, you can then send them through a specific series of events that nudges them to purchase something from you or be your customer over your competition.  Depending on where they interact with you, whether it be social media or a form on your website, you can change the series of events based on how they got added to your list.  This is a STRONG tool to leverage, and the companies that do it right are rewarded heavily.  Some other ways to add people to your funnels could be getting any type of interaction with your companies marketing collateral, such as email opens, link clicks, web form submissions, and abandoned e-commerce shopping carts.

Similar to email marketing software vendors, marketers, like us, design templates that guide your visitors into your contact list, then set up a very specific number of automatic interactions that establish the contacts trust with the goal of turning them into a paying customer. The templates start with a basic interaction, such as a “Welcome” or a “Thank you for making a purchase” message. A recipient is then guided through a sequence of offers and unique information based on his or her actions with your previous emails.

“I’ve always considered marketing automation a foundational tool, a cornerstone really, of the modern B2B marketing technology stack because of the control it allows, consolidating the functionalities you’d otherwise have to assemble via point solutions into a centralized workspace,” said Huff. “The technology’s breadth—a deep bench of features across web, email, mobile, social—means marketers have the ability to tell a consistent and compelling brand story across the customer journey, at every touchpoint.

The Importance of Marketing Automation

It should not be too difficult to see how you can benefit from using marketing automation set up by a professional to leverage visitors to your business.  You really have nothing to lose from it, honestly.  All of our clients who have done any sort of automated marketing love the fact that it’s completely hands-off and you can focus on your business more.  Once you have the right system in place, you could easily see double or triple the amount of leads and sales coming into your business.  The campaigns can be edited on the fly by either you or your provider, depending on who you use as a marketing pro, and usually the price is a fixed monthly rate from most providers.  You can even get basic automation for free!