At first blush, automation and customization seem like opposites. Automation might conjure images of sophisticated machines moving in an intricate ballet to produce identical items. Customization describes a product that’s lovingly crafted by hand to fit a specific need. In marketing terms, both concepts are useful. If you want to achieve relevance, you must customize; if you want to grow, you must automate.
Marketing automation is the answer for both needs, offering the kind of customization web designers only dreamed about a few years ago while automating routine tasks to make the system vastly more efficient.
One of the hottest topics in marketing today is account-based marketing, or ABM. By clearly defining your target account and creating a marketing approach expressly for this key account, you unlock the entire organization and eventually others associated with it through referrals. Marketing automation is uniquely well equipped to manage ABM approaches because it offers the reliability and precision of technology and the freedom to custom-craft campaign content from start to finish. Personalized content can be delivered in new channels; everything from landing pages to email messages to social media contributes to a fully customized user experience.
A Segment of One
Key accounts are more than just contacts; they’re revenue generators, both directly through buys and referrals and indirectly as models and benchmarks. Your analytics will show you a wealth of information about your key clients, but they also reveal insights about other leads on your prospect list. Each ABM customer file is a “segment of one” – that is, a unique audience with its own distinct profile – but other leads are often similar enough to follow the same patterns and rhythms as your key account. Marketing automation technology shows you how leads that resemble current ABM customers respond to similar marketing messages.
Marketing automation lets leads traverse their own unique buying journey with just a little guidance from you via nurture programs. Designed to drip content to leads at precisely the right time and in the right way, nurture programs are most effective when combined with lead scoring systems that indicate where a buyer is in his or her journey. Someone who’s still at the top of the sales funnel, for example, doesn’t yet know which white paper is most relevant; someone at the bottom of the sales funnel has already picked up a good bit of product knowledge and is mostly looking for confirmation at that point.
The only thing better than achieving an important win is being able to do it again and again. Assembly-line precision lets you control one variable at a time, perfecting each campaign for your ABM clients and making their buying experience even smoother.
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