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It's Time to Make Marketing Automation the Indespensible Component of Your Marketing Mix

By Chris Dunn, VP of Demand Generation & Customer Marketing, Dun and Bradstreet

Chris Dunn, VP of Demand Generation & Customer Marketing, Dun and Bradstreet

Marketing automation has fundamentally changed how many companies engage with sales leads and nurture prospects. Leveraging relevant insights from data empowers successful businesses to move potential customers through the buyer’s journey more effectively and with purpose. Today’s marketing automation tools can save much of the time, money, and frustration that often accompany converting leads into customers. However, not all companies are aware of how impactful a sound marketing automation strategy can be for their bottom lines.

Even those unfamiliar with marketing automation experience it on a regular basis. One of the simplest examples is the cart abandonment email used by many ecommerce sites. If a registered user adds an item to their shopping cart but fails to check out, a follow-up email can be sent reminding them to complete the purchase. In this case, data about on-site behavior lets the business know a prospect is primed to buy, enabling the seller to take proactive action to move them along the purchase path. Such lead nurturing efforts can be extremely effective at convincing someone to convert.

While the above example is one of the most common uses of marketing automation, it doesn’t begin to capture the increasing sophistication of marketing automation and how it is evolving. It should come as no surprise that the utility of these tools has grown alongside the democratization of big data. Access to a greater volume of accurate data makes all the difference when unleashing the full potential of marketing automation, and companies have developed innovative ways to execute on this onslaught of information.

"While marketing automation is often thought of as a shiny new object, the truth is that it’s simply a 21st century approach to identifying prospects, nurturing leads, and converting strangers into customers"

One such approach is propensity modeling, a component of predictive analytics that models existing buyer data in order to anticipate how a prospect will behave. A propensity model informed by accurate, up-to-date information can increase ROI by focusing marketing efforts on those people most likely to convert. These prospects may be existing customers who you want to upsell or new visitors to your website who’ve behaved in a specific way, such as submitting their information for a price estimate.

Where does the initial data come from? Many people are surprised to learn that the websites they visit can track their movements and behavior from the time they enter the site until their last page view. Once a tracking cookie has been applied, brands can even follow these visitors across the web and deliver personalized ads featuring the products or services they’ve viewed. Known as remarketing, this technique is the reason you may see ads for cars after visiting a dealer’s website. In cases where a user has logged into a site, behavior can be linked to their email addresses so personalized offers can be delivered.

Marketers can build even richer outreach efforts by marrying their own prospect information with third-party data from an outside provider. For example, the IP addresses of visitors to your site could be matched to a specific company. This bit of added insight can allow you to serve customized content to this prospect, focusing on their industry or business. Such an experience is much more compelling to a visitor than a one-size-fits-all approach.

It’s important to understand that marketing automation efforts don’t need to live just within the confines of your website and email lists. Once you’ve gathered detailed information on leads, your marketing automation should be thought of across your entire marketing mix. While marketing automation is often thought of as a shiny new object, the truth is that it’s simply a 21st century approach to identifying prospects, nurturing leads, and converting strangers into customers.

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