In the last few years marketing automation has been a buzzword used more often when manufacturing companies are laying out their marketing plan for the next year, and years to come. There is no denying that the digital area is not just a phase, it’s here to stay and companies need to have a digital presence to engage their customers, grow their business, and stay ahead of the competition.
Implementing a marketing automation platform may seem like a daunting task, and by no means is as easy as flipping a switch. But, once integrated into an overall digital marketing strategy, marketing automation will be a powerful revenue stream. The ability to track leads to close and true ROI is every organization’s dream. Integrating a marketing automation platform provides marketers with rich, powerful tools to manage online programs and insights to improve campaigns. Without successful implementation companies will more than likely miss out on the full potential of marketing automation. I’ll lay some ground rules for a successful marketing automation implementation process with the following 5 tips.
- Know Your Goals.
So you’ve realized that marketing automation may be a solution to help grow your business. Before selecting a software, though, you must know what the requirements are and identify the goals and objectives implementing this software will help achieve. In a lot of cases implementing a marketing automation platform will allow you to eliminate other tools currently being used to manage and maintain online marketing efforts.
- Create a Plan.
Having a presence across multiple channels is great, but companies need to have a workflow process in place for handling and managing leads as they come into the database. Really knowing and understanding what type of content a lead will be presented will depends on where they are at in the buying cycle, how interested that lead is in your products or services and how often the lead will be contacted all need to be well documented and thought out. Here are a few other things to consider:
- Who will have access? Select admin and users to use the tool
- Define what other systems integrate with the platform selected
- Migration of current contact and any op-outs from current system
- Work with the sales team to determine lead qualification
- Content marketing plan should be in place
- Add visitor tracking code to your website
- Add landing pages that match the organization branding and messaging
- Sync your CRM and Marketing Automation platform to manage lead to closed deals
These are just a few of the items that should be on your checklist when integrating a marketing automation platform. Your platform vendor/partner will be able to provide a much more detailed checklist that should be added to your overall plan.
- Consider what it will take to implement.
If you have selected a marketing automation software you will also need to consider what it will take to implement, run and manage the system to ensure that your manufacturing organization is taking full benefit of the software. Budget will need to be determined—there are many different kinds of marketing automation platforms out there so make sure you’re selecting one to meet your needs and not just the cheapest one. Also, make sure that you have the right staff and resources to support the system. If necessary, hire a consultant or agency to help with the planning, implementation, and execution.
Cost for how the organization will adapt to the culture change of implementing a marketing automation platform will also need to be considered. Marketing automation can help support both the marketing and sales department—acknowledging these challenges in the beginning will save you a huge headache in the long run.
- Get your feet wet before diving in.
Having a bunch of brand new tools and features at your fingertips, it may be tempting to just jump right in and start building out multiple campaigns, setting up multiple channels and landing pages…the list goes on and on. My advice would be to start small and get familiar with the platform and all of its features. Start with a simple campaign, ensure that the proper tracking and analytics has been set up and work from there. As you become more familiar with all of the benefits and features build out your campaigns tweaking as necessary from the insights you are gathering. Once you have a solid understanding of the platforms and you’re able to track the data properly then build out more and more this way you have a solid understanding of the data and insights you are looking at and reporting on.
- Agency partners can help.
Consider working with an agency partner through the implementation process and beyond. A qualified agency partner will be able to provide the guidance and expert advice when implementing and planning. Agency partners can also assist with ongoing strategy, content creation and campaign development. When choosing a marketing automation vendor most will have a list of preferred partner agencies that can consult in the implementation stage all the way through execution, tracking, and reporting.
The recently released 2015 B2B manufacturing marketing report from Content Marketing Institute is packed with stats and helpful information on benchmarks, budgets, and trends for 2015. A fellow colleague of mine, Paul Richlovsky, pulled out some of the more interesting facts, which you can find here: Content marketing answers for B2B manufacturers. Marketing automation backed with a solid content marketing plan can be a powerful tool to ensure the growth of your manufacturing business. Whether deciding to take on these initiatives in-house or through an agency partner, both should be cornerstones of your overall strategy.
You might also like Fathom’s essential guide to tradeshow marketing.