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Marketing automation: It’s not just for B2B, and it’s not only email

Whether you’re in healthcare, consumer packaged goods or apparel, if your marketing efforts can be enhanced by 1:1 communication, you can use marketing automation to support your communication objectives. Marketing automation is a way to align your communication efforts to automatically respond to customer behavior based on the customer’s interests, place in the purchase process and demographics / psychographics / firmographics. While marketing automation can be a crucial tool in your marketing mix, there are a couple misperceptions about how it can be used.

Let’s start by looking at what marketing automation is and what it isn’t.

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Not just for B2B

Marketing Automation was first pioneered by Eloqua in 1999, specifically designed for the B2B space. Thanks to SalesForce.com, there was a plethora of data B2B marketers could tap into, and B2C just hadn’t cracked the code on data acquisition yet.

As data acquisition efforts in the consumer space proliferated, B2C developed the data it needed to make marketing automation engines run. So while marketing automation started in the B2B space, it’s now an integral component in the B2C marketing arsenal.

Marketo has some great case studies on their web site, and one that provides a nice example of marketing automation in the consumer space is the myfitnesspal.com case study.

More than email

When thinking about marketing automation, email execution is probably the easiest tactic to get your head around. Because of the agile nature of email, it’s easy to see how it can be deployed as part of an automated response system – triggered by an action or customized using dynamic content.

So let’s look at how email as part of marketing automation is different than a standard email marketing effort:

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But email is just one of many channels that fit into an integrated marketing automation effort. When we look at the full spectrum of marketing automation functionality, we see that it begins by speaking to the customer long before the first email gets deployed.

In fact, marketing automation actually has a role no matter where you are in the customer journey – lead acquisition, lead nurture, and then, once they become customers, retention, engagement and ultimately cross-sell/upsell based on your customer’s purchase propensity.

As we think about lead acquisition, you’ll start by building brand awareness and enticing leads to interact with your brand. These efforts might shape up as search engine marketing, social media retargeting or online display ads. All of these efforts can be tied to your marketing automation platform to create custom experiences and relevant messages based on personas you create.

And the best part of marketing automation is that it’s rich in data. It’s easy to test tactics and optimize based on performance. You’re able to easily adjust your media based on attribution analysis and hone your message to drive the results you’re looking for.

As marketing automation continues to increase its functionality and adoption across brands, we’d love to talk to you more about how it can be used to drive your business.

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