Marketing Automation ROI – How Processes Can Help You Get Your Money’s Worth

Aug 22, 2017

By Deborah Gibbs

So you’ve signed on the dotted line, and implemented a shiny new marketing automation instance. Now you need to get the most value out of that wonderful system – and increase the quality of your digital engagement.

How do you do that? There are many approaches to solve that challenge. Here’s one to think about: Update your internal processes for producing marketing communications.

Sometimes, digital teams rely on approaches to campaign strategy and creative production that started when “batch-and-blast” was the only way to do email marketing.

If you want to get more from marketing automation than just pre-scheduled “blasts” to specific audiences, you may need to change the internal processes you use to build demand generation campaigns.

Below are a few process tips to boost your ROI. (For the sake of this blog post, I will use examples from Marketo, but the principles apply to all marketing automation systems.)

1) Start campaign planning by identifying the digital behaviors tied to sales-ready leads. Traditionally, marcom planning has begun with positioning, “prospect pain,” and product-related promotions, among other things. These are still valid, but you should add a review of digital behavior also, which helps you use your MA system to target the most valuable digital body language in your ecosystem.

Understanding digital body language and its correlation to sales-readiness is a unique contribution that marcom experts make to their companies’ revenue and should be a standard tool in their kit.

2) Use digital analytics to brainstorm new nurture programs or digital campaigns. As a part of their creative process, marketers have always reached for lists of top-selling products or calendars of industry events. Of course, drip campaigns or nurture programs related to these traditionally important activities are now standard in most marketing automation instances.

However, there is so much more that MA tools can do. Digital analytics from SEO/SEM, website behavior, social media and email marketing, for example, provide a rich source of new ideas for using an MA system.

3) Add marketing automation technical requirements to your production checklists. Most experienced marketers have mastered the non-technical aspects of the communications planning process. However, sometimes the MA system’s technical requirements are an after-thought:  In Marketo, for example, engagement program transition criteria, lead routing instructions, campaign IDs, channels, tags, custom URLs, optional form fields and personalization tokens are easily overlooked technical details. At the last moment, when deadlines loom, marketers may find themselves scrambling for missing pieces of technical data.

Optimize your processes by incorporating technical, strategic and creative elements into your checklists and planning tools. This will speed up the execution of your campaigns, reduce technical errors and ensure better-quality analytics in your MA tool later.

4) Add your marketing automation Admin to process improvement meetings, especially if your team resides in multiple locations. This non-technical tactic could result in significant improvement in the technical quality of your contact database and technical architecture over time. As teams grow and spread across the country, or across the world, knowledge about how to share workspaces, manage email frequency or maintain naming conventions can get lost.

Your marketing automation Admins can be your best-practices advocates and recommend processes to help growing digital marketing teams keep their MA system functioning in an optimal manner.

5) Add advanced marketing automation features to your annual plans. Looking for fresh ideas for next year’s revenue goals? Spend some time in your marketing automation community or learning center and explore advanced features you don’t use every day.

Technical upgrades to your system ideally require time to scope, configure, test and deploy at full scale. As common sense will tell us all, the time to try such an upgrade is not right before your biggest lead-generation event of the year, when you’re under the gun to produce results. Adding technical upgrades to your annual planning processes will significantly your ROI over the long term.

Would you like help optimizing your processes for marketing automation? Talk to us about your needs for campaign improvement.

Suggested Reading:

Program Planning Templates for B2B Marketers – Marketo
Five Steps to Growing Your Business with Marketing Automation – Pardot
Why You Should Be Creating a Quarterly Campaign Plan – Pardot
Campaign Management 101: Where Do I Start?

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