While some bedrock truths remain, the landscape for marketers has shifted dramatically in just the past few years with the advent of marketing automation. Marketers just ten years ago couldn’t have predicted the meteoric rise of mobile. Twenty years ago, digital commerce was still a new concept. Go much farther back, and the views have changed so drastically that marketers who didn’t keep up with the accelerating pace of technological innovation would consider them unrecognizable.
Too many businesses, particularly those in the B2B sector, are still using last decade’s technology. For some, a few cosmetic changes are enough to update their marketing strategy for the close of the decade. Companies that haven’t kept up may need a bigger digital transformation.
Whether your organization just needs to freshen your marketing strategy or merits a full digital makeover, here’s what you need to know.
Data Drives Everything
From better customer care to meaningful marketing insights to highly customized account-based marketing, data underlies everything the modern, tech-savvy marketing company does. Marketing automation systems gather, store, and analyze an astonishing amount of data – more than even a huge team of marketers without an assist from a marketing AI could work with. If your organization is having trouble gathering data, managing the information you collect, or deriving marketing insights from raw data, it’s time to move up to marketing automation.
Train Your Top Talent
If you’ve already upgraded to marketing automation technology but haven’t yet seen much of a return on your investment, you know installation isn’t the same as implementation. A true marketing AI is a synthesis of digital technology combined with human ingenuity and creativity. To achieve that high level of performance, your marketing team needs experience with the technology they’re using.
For some B2B companies, the ideal solution might be to train personnel to work in-house in conjunction with a marketing firm; for others, putting marketing automation activities in the capable hands of marketing pros who have experience with the platform could be best. Either way, make sure you allot enough time to train your automation liaisons.
Keep Content Flowing
Marketing automation applications have a voracious appetite for content. Where marketers once produced a single piece of content that reached an entire audience, they must now generate multiple items that speak to different market segments. Personalization isn’t just adding a name in an email greeting; it involves generating audience-specific content and putting it where leads who will find it most useful or relevant will encounter it. Content needs to fill more channels than ever to meet the needs of leads at the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel. It needs to reach people on more platforms too, so marketers must pay attention to mobile, direct mail, and telemarketing. Without ramping up your content as your marketing automation platform comes online, you’re limiting its effectiveness.
Update the Basics
Remember when we said there were some bedrock certainties in the modern marketing landscape? SEO and SEM still matter, and that’s unlikely to change as long as people still search for information online. They may be using their smartphones or laptops instead of a big beige desktop computer to find what they need to know, but the search remains the same. Marketing automation software excels at orchestrating SEO and SEM activities. That’s essential to attracting more organic traffic – and you do want organic traffic, which continues to be a top performer in generating high-value leads.
Agility’s a bit of a buzzword, but there’s a kernel of truth there: A business that can adjust rapidly to change is one that’s likely to have a bright future. Look at the past few decades, and you’ll see how the pace of change itself isn’t remaining constant; it’s speeding up, and it isn’t linear. Only the businesses that move both quickly and flexibly will thrive.
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