We hear a lot about marketing technology and automation. Most marketers are familiar with platforms and software, but many aren’t aware of all of their components and how to use these platforms to build intelligent, automated and effective marketing programs.

Here are the definitions to some common terms:
Marketing automation typically refers to the automation of outbound marketing campaigns — marketing programs that are initiated by the brand and distributed to the prospect or customer. These can include email and direct mail campaigns, plus social, mobile and online campaigns.

Engagement marketing, also known as event-based marketing or real-time marketing, focuses on servicing customers over inbound channels — when a customer initiates a request over a channel such as the web, contact center, kiosk or social channel, and the brand responds.

Inbound and Outbound Marketing
Both are important as organizations are required to serve customers in a more immediate manner with offers that are more anticipated, relevant and personal. But brands claim their marketing technologies are either loosely integrated or not at all.

This means that roughly half of all surveyed brands aren’t using marketing automation and engagement marketing (or other marketing technologies) in an integrated manner. This can be due to technological, cultural and departmental hurdles.

Here are a few tips as to what is working and how businesses are using inbound and outbound marketing technology platforms to build intelligent, automated engagement programs — ones that resonate with the customer, drive higher returns on marketing investments and ensure a more efficient organization.

Data and Analytics Are The Foundation

Solid data management forms the foundation from which a solid enterprise marketing platform is built.

If your marketing campaigns aren’t achieving the returns you expect or desire, go back to square one and examine your data management, data quality and data integration procedures to ensure they are sound. Make sure to store everything in one place. Once the data is set, analytics are next.

Analytical processes such as segmentation, modeling and forecasting provide insight into what customer data to target with marketing campaigns. Analytical data visualization puts a face on those large data stores and helps marketing understand what the data looks like and where to best focus marketing initiatives.

Integrate, Orchestrate and Optimize

Integrate marketing programs across all channels — leverage insights from outbound marketing programs to better serve customers on inbound channels and vice versa. With customers moving among many channels as frequently as they do today, this is imperative.

Orchestrate campaigns and offers so that the timing and sequence, as well as the channel delivered, make sense based on individual customer preferences.

Optimization is the final step in the execution phase. Make sure you use analytically based optimization across all channels to avoid over-contact and saturation of customers.

Take the information you learn from the delivery of both inbound and outbound offers: Did a customer open an email, respond to a social message or accept a verbal offer delivered via the contact center? If so, what effect does that have on other marketing efforts? This should inform marketers about what the next offer or engagement should be — and in some cases when and where it should be. Collecting this information not only helps you run better marketing programs, but helps to distribute marketing spend across channels and programs more effectively as well.
Consider putting each of these three tips into practice: It takes work but is well worth it.

Need help implementing marketing automation? Call Lori at 877.447.0134.

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