Take a look around your house and you’re bound to find items that you just couldn’t wait to buy. But, now that you’ve bought them, they just aren’t as good as you’d hoped and they sit there aimlessly providing neither function nor aesthetic.
This is a process that a lot of marketers will go through in 2013 with their B2B marketing automation tools. The reason for this is because the reality of an autonomous marketing system without an inbound marketing foundation is just a lot of irrelevant emails spamming peoples’ inboxes.
In order for marketing automation tools to work, they need to be managed correctly and be based upon sending the right content to the right people at the right time.
The goal of inbound marketing is to engage your prospects and turn them into sales-ready leads using content that shows thought leadership, provides valuable information and builds trust. However, this content is only valuable to people who want to read it. So, prospect profiling and segmentation of your database is required to make sure the correct people are getting the correct content.
Then there’s time. If you’re not measuring your prospects’ behaviour throughout the sales cycle then you run the risk of sending content at the ‘wrong’ time and therefore doing more harm than good (i.e. disengaged and disinterested prospects). Only through understanding your prospects’ needs, wants, pain points and buying signals can you make sure they are receiving the content they want, when they want it.
As much as marketing automation can contribute to this process, it cannot do it all. Marketers still need to be doing the fundamentals like creating relevant content, correctly segmenting and targeting prospects and measuring and studying buying behaviours.
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