In the first two pieces of the marketing automation basics series, I was talking about the definition of marketing automation and the trends that are shaping it. The third piece was defining the difference between marketing automation and email marketing. Today I will tell you about the standard features and benefits of having a marketing automation platform.
Without going into too much detail, marketing automation platforms provide extensive functionality including email marketing, landing pages, and forms, data management, campaign management, lead nurturing and lead lifecycle management, CRM integration, social marketing capabilities, and marketing analytics.
Email marketing (#1) is one of the most important online marketing channels, especially since targeting and personalization helped to build back its ruined reputation. While ESP serves the purpose of handling email campaigns, email marketing as a critical function of marketing automation becomes really powerful with the integration of landing pages and forms (#2). Sending out batch emails and setting up email campaigns is the most basic function that you will definitely get with MAP. The easy-to-use design tools, the quality of the editor and the provided tracking measure may vary from platform to platform, but this is where you start. Creating registration forms on landing pages and microsites is another must. Whenever a user enters their data in the form, it is channeled back to the main system, making it easy to keep up with a growing database.
Speaking of which, the ability to handle marketing related data (#3) is the bread and butter of marketing automation. It is the hub where your most valuable assets are gathered, your leads and contacts. It is more than a copy of your CRM system items, as it provides an integrated view of all marketing interactions, including data updates, website visits, and email clicks.
Program or campaign management (#4) enables marketers to manage their initiatives across multiple channels, from social media through online ads to video campaigns. On top of a set of tools to coordinate between landing pages, emails and social surfaces this capability tracks results and costs to measure ROI real time.
Lead nurturing (#5), including automated email campaigns and marketing flows can ensure maintenance and engagement with your leads over the long term. Tracking online behavior, to learn which emails your prospects open, what web pages they visit, what keywords they use is key to understanding the overall customer journey and the lead lifecycle to be able to craft the best customer experience and facilitate the buying process.
Marketing automation also allows to integrate with your CRM solutions and processes (#6) and create automated tasks and sales alerts – never lose a prospect again, due to missing the opportunity window.
Social media integration and management (#7) has been added to marketing automation features recently. No matter how long social seems to be present in our lives, it is still the youngest but fastest growing area of digital marketing. Marketing automation platforms bound to keep up with the ever-changing trends and opportunities.
Another crucial element that you cannot go without is the analytics (#8) function of a MAP. Reporting and analytics are at the intersection of marketing as art and marketing as a science. It allows you to measure the impact of your otherwise intangible and subjective projects. Basic reporting will include predefined and custom reporting and dashboards for visualization. Web analytics – as it suggests – talks about the behaviors of the users, which pages they visit, how often they come back, along with a complete history to their previous activity – in case they register or provide any personal data for identification.
Marketing automation systems can also (not in every case) include functionality for marketing resource management, to improve the coordination of internal teams and processes.
To maximize the impact of how marketing automation can be beneficial for your company, you need to understand the fundamental features, and then you'll need an expert to guide you through the process of finding the perfect fit for your expectations.
This is our mission at Capture, you bring your problems and expectations, and we bring you solutions to help you with becoming a better marketer and to create an ideal customer experience.
Watch this space for the next chapter:
What else do you need to be ready for marketing automation, beyond technology?