Meghan Keaney Anderson is a marketing manager at HubSpot, a marketing software company in Cambridge, MA that makes marketing automation software.
We are all seeking a way to scale personal attention. The great promise of marketing automation is that it enables you to trigger messages based on a visitor's actions on your site, ideally sending messages when they are most relevant rather than spam. But whether you are a B2B or B2C marketer, you can recognize that buyer-behavior is ever-changing. If marketing automation tools are to remain useful, they need to adapt and evolve as quickly as buyers do. There has already been much discussion about the next phase of marketing automation, and a lot of it has focused on the marketer's needs (revenue performance management etc) here are a few things to consider from the customer's perspective.
Much of prospect and lead activity now happens outside of your site.
Buyers control how and when they interact with your company, and more and more they are navigating their decision process outside of the confines of your website and your exclusive set of marketing campaigns. To truly be relevant, lead nurturing and email campaigns need to take into account buyers' experiences across multiple channels and platforms.
Social media interactions should factor into targeted email campaigns. If an individual has downloaded a whitepaper that's one thing, but what about if they tweet about it too? That indicates an additional level of interest. Additionally, you should be triggering communications based on all the types of content a lead has viewed and not just the forms he or she has submitted.
For example, we want to know that a person has signed up for a free trial, but what if they signed up for a free trial and primarily looked at one content type on your site? That information can help you provide an even more personalized experience to your leads, and should also be available to your sales team so that they know in advance what your lead was looking for. You should consider all of the avenues that someone could use to find your content.
Email is changing.
In the past, the only barrier to in an individual's inbox, was a basic filter set up to weed out malicious and spammer content. That's no longer the case. Today, more and more inboxes are being reshaped to help viewers prioritize their email and de-emphasize any non-urgent material. 3 million organizations now use Google Accounts, which gives users the option to automatically sort their inboxes by priority, as determined by the content and their relation to the sender. Even without Google's "priority inbox," many users leverage filter tools to automatically redirect marketing messages to side-folder. To stand out, your messages have to be tailored and useful.
Content beats technology ten times out of ten.
When well run, marketing automation should provide leads and customers with exactly what they need and nothing more. It should be interesting, relevant and useful. One of the biggest errors with marketing automation tools has to do with the content strategy not the tool itself. Without smart, tailored, useful content - marketing automation is just a intelligent spamming tool. Many marketing automation systems today have neglected the key principal of good marketing in favor of volume. Instead of just increasing the volume, speak to the pain points that a particular person has had. Ask what questions they had after reading the ebook, and them send them further content on those subjects to keep their interest.
What other limitations to today's marketing automation and lead nurturing programs have you seen? If you are using marketing automation today, what unique content have you sent your leads?
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