Marketing Automation Platforms have been in the MarTech space since about 2008, with lots of companies jumping on the bandwagon through 2011 – 2017. In 2018, there will be even more businesses jumping into Marketing Automation as the leading platform vendors retrench themselves for the second wave of adoption.

In fact, all major platforms in the mid market to enterprise space (Act-On, Marketo, Salesforce Pardot, Oracle Eloqua) are putting significant R&D and Sales resources into their businesses to capture more market share.

The 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Management cited the growth in the market being driven from marketing departments moving to these solutions over traditional, less strategic email tools. Microsoft is also adding fuel to the Modern Marketing fire by pushing the narrative that a Sales + Marketing approach is the future for businesses – something marketing automation platforms deliver. As such, we fully expect 2018 will see many more companies adopt (or reinvigorate) marketing automation technology.

So what does this mean for your business? It’s a good thing. It means the Marketing Automation market is maturing and with that will come more meaningful impact on your bottom line. However, it also means more competition from other businesses who are also leveraging this technology.

What should you do? Start with a Strategic Approach to your Marketing Automation platform.

How can you become strategic with marketing automation?

First of all, it’s important to understand Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) are NOT just for lead generation. As Gartner explains, these platforms support marketing and sales operations through a variety of steps. In addition, a recent study, saw 70% of companies in 2017 are focusing on converting their leads in their pipeline. It’s time that marketing leaders step up and own the entire customer journey and MAP (as an extension to your CRM) is the key to enabling that.

Strategic Marketing Automation solutions support the entire customer journey from:

  1. Lead Generation: Inbound and Outbound Campaigns
  2. Pipeline Marketing: Nurture Campaigns
  3. Customer Marketing: Engagement, Renewals, Upsells/Cross-sells

As such, your strategic plan should have objectives in all three of these areas. Your Marketing Automation Platform will create a central system to build, launch, and track marketing impact to support the business holistically.

We already have marketing automation, what do we do?

For those of you that already have a Marketing Automation Platform, take a step back and see what aspects of your strategic plan are missing. There is no wrong place to start with Marketing Automation. For some businesses Customer Marketing will unlock the most value in the least amount of time. Now that the platform is in place and running, you should work towards developing the other areas of your strategic plan with specific goals in each area. Ultimately when you’re ‘at scale’ you’ll be working in all three parts of the customer journey and will be able to optimize your organization using this 360 view of your Marketing Automation impact.

We want marketing automation, what do we do?

The worst thing you can do is buy the system without a strategic plan on how to use it. While these platforms are very powerful, they’re also challenging to implement and truly leverage in your business. They take resources to get right and extract value from over time. This is underscored by a study that showed 37% of businesses with budget constraints hindering them from conducting an efficient marketing automation.

The best advice we have for those new to marketing automation is get help building a strategic plan. Even if you’ve hired staff that have implemented a platform in the past, having a strategic plan is critical to success.

Need help building a strategic marketing automation plan? Contact us today, for a free assessment of your current platform or help finding the right platform for you.