Research and Insights

What You Need to Know About Marketing Automation for 2016

By November 19, 2015 No Comments

When you look at the cold hard facts, marketing automation is the new normal for the B2B marketing landscape in 2016. Simply thinking about putting a plan into motion is no longer enough—action steps for automating your marketing outreach also need to be well underway.

Dun & Bradstreet’s 2015 State of Marketing Data report found that “only 5% of B2B marketers say they’re not interested in using marketing automation. That means 95% of survey respondents think it’s a good idea for their business.”

This clearly points to the fact that B2B organizations are already creating and/or carrying out an automated marketing strategy.

If you’re not currently examining data and combining it with tech tools to drive marketing efforts in a timely way, your leads and customers are ripe, low-hanging fruit prime for the picking…by the competition.

Marketing automation is the best way to ensure you are building strong relationships with customers and new clients and enhancing trust in your brand (with more targeted, frequent marketing touchpoints) while also keeping pace with competitor tactics.

Given the lengthy duration of the B2B buyer’s journey, you also need a marketing strategy to create long-term, consistent customer contact that speaks to your target market in a way they can relate to.

Here are three ways to maximize the power of marketing automation in 2016 to keep the sales pipeline filled and flowing.

Clearly Define Your Objectives

Collecting data just for the heck of it is useless. It’s essential to build a marketing strategy that reveals useful insights about buyer behavior from the start. These key metrics act as a window into the true revenue-drivers along the buyer’s journey.

For maximum punch, track how marketing efforts and social media outreach specifically do the following things:

  • Increase lead generation
  • Improve lead nurturing
  • Increase sales revenue

First, Get Focused. Then Refine, Refine, Refine

You don’t need more data. Instead, you need to refine and clarify the data you already have and use it to reach your marketing objectives.

Two-thirds of companies that use marketing automation believe it’s critically important to their business, yet 75% haven’t maximized its benefits

Dun & Bradstreet’s recent Marketing Automation Strategy Survey shows that, as of 2015, “two-thirds of companies that use marketing automation believe it’s critically important to their business, and yet almost 75% think they still haven’t maximized its benefits.”

In order to refine with precision, be sure to create consistent check-in points to monitor performance daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Make sure everyone on the team has access to the same data in a centralized location.

Next, make tweaks to marketing messaging or channels as needed. A bit of the work is trial and error at first, so get proficient on certain marketing and social media platforms and tactics before expanding your efforts.

Track Conversions from Lead to Customer to Measure Marketing Automation Performance

DemandGen’s 2015 Benchmark Study states that “74% of B2B marketers surveyed consider ‘lead quality over lead quantity’ as a prime focus.”

74% of B2B marketers surveyed consider lead quality over quantity as a prime focus

With so many eyes on the same objective in the B2B market, it’s essential for organizations to discover what content, delivery style, and timing impacts a customer’s decision to buy.

Getting clear on which content within the marketing automation process converts also serves as a powerful benchmark, helping marketing teams flow with changing customer behaviors while keeping skin in the game long-term.

The most important step for any B2B organization in 2016 is to get serious about marketing automation and the potential it has to turn leads into customers by leveraging the right data sets for success.

When push comes to shove (or if you have no idea where to start with a marketing automation content strategy), remember that outsourcing is always an option!

Katrina Pfannkuch

About Katrina Pfannkuch

Katrina Pfannkuch is a creativity consultant specializing in writing, editing, strategy & coaching. She's a bit of a data nerd & loves seeing how pieces of the informational puzzle come together to paint a creative picture. Catch Katrina & her insights on kick-starting creativity at @creativekatrina on Twitter.