KB ENEWS 7 25Marketing campaigns—to be successful and help brands reach their goals—require a lot of repetitive tasks. Just consider the messaging that must be sent through various channels to connect with your multiple buyer personas, and how those messages need to be followed-up, responses logged, data analyzed … the list goes on. Thankfully, marketing automation solutions have emerged that spare marketers the tedium and minutiae involved in both getting the word out for their brands and collecting and evaluating incoming data.

No wonder marketing teams have latched onto these tools.

A study by Gleanster Research shows that most marketers (90 percent) have adopted marketing automation tools for large-volume email marketing campaigns, for example. Gleanster also reports that its best estimates suggest that about 20,000 companies are using marketing automation, which represents just the tip of the iceberg of organizations that could benefit from the technology.

While performance metrics, like increasing revenue, reducing costs and generating better leads, still represent the top reasons why companies implement marketing automation solutions, recognition is growing among marketers that the technology is becoming necessary just to remain competitive.

Gleanster used several key performance indicators (KPIs) to distinguish the “top performers” from its study, thereby establishing a basis for benchmarking best practices. Though not all are weighted equally, the KPIs used were year-over-year revenue increase, click-through rates on email, and volume of marketing qualified leads.

Top performing companies have embraced marketing automation and are raising the bar on customer engagement. After all, in today’s digital environment, marketing is all about who gets there first—who engages the most customers most often and who converts leads into sales faster. Businesses that leverage marketing automation gain a more comprehensive view of the customer through the alignment and centralization of disparate technologies that support Web analytics, email marketing, social media engagement and more.

Marketing automation mitigates sifting through leads and juggling multiple platforms, which eats up valuable time that could be better spent. The technology enables marketers to shift their focus to preeminent prospects, for instance. Marketing automation, especially its capability to help marketers craft high-quality content, will become ever more relevant as major digital platforms, such as Facebook and Google, step up their algorithms to endorse the most original and relevant content.

Once linked to your CRM system, your marketing automation solution will help keep existing and potential customer information up to date, engendering a more valuable database for leads. The technology even allows you to set up alerts so you know when a lead is visiting your website, allowing you to follow up right away and, thereby, boost the chance for a positive outcome.

For 2017, expect to see marketing automation platforms get smarter with the rise of machine learning. Compared to rules-based automation, which has seen errors go out to entire databases, machine learning automation will use data proactively to determine best tactics for growth. This sort of artificial intelligence (AI) will also allow account-based marketing (ABM) to evolve; an ABM Leadership Alliance study has already found that ABM outperforms traditional marketing methods.

AI is also expected to propel marketers’ ability to personalize messaging to customers via dynamic ad copy, customized website and mobile experiences and one-to-one emails.

Marketing automation is becoming key to the customer experience. Make sure your business is ready to take customer satisfaction to a new level in 2017 by deploying a best-in-class marketing automation solution. For advice and operational support for a successful marketing automation implementation, consider the services of an expert marketing automation partner.

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