The savvy marketer has come to understand the value of marketing automation. Leads that have been nurtured and have demonstrated interest and engagement (so-called digital body language) with marketing assets over time are more valuable to Sales than purchased names. Using marketing automation, Marketing can play an active role in the development of leads through the entire sales funnel. This is well understood. However, some forward-looking companies have taken marketing automation beyond lead generation and have found a role for it with existing customers.
Since marketing automation is essentially a rules-based system that guides communications with a target audience, it is a natural fit for companies that want to increase customer engagement with their product, upsell/cross-sell, or renew subscriptions. Both on-premise and SaaS-based offerings can be a good fit for customer-centric marketing automation. As customers interact with your software or platform, usage information is gathered in the form of logs or through analytics. It then becomes a simple matter of grouping individuals with similar usage patterns and targeting them with messages that align with your business goals.
Most software and platforms directed at the enterprise were built with a set of core capabilities that have been augmented and enhanced over time. Very few were built with marketing-to-customers as a core capability. At best, some systems have automated system messages based on triggered events. Rather than spend precious development cycles building rules-based messaging into your product, why not leverage one of the many marketing automation platforms available today and develop simple integration between your product and a marketing automation platform. The integration doesn’t need to be real-time in most cases, nor does it need to be bi-directional. Simple file transfer using FTP can often suffice. Let’s look at a couple of real-world examples from our clients.
Let’s say that you have a Social platform targeted at the enterprise. You know that everything begins with a robust profile or graph – and without one, the engagement with your product will be minimal, at best. Why not build a campaign that targets those individuals who have only partially completed their profile? To accomplish this, you will first need to get the “qualified” individuals into your marketing automation system. Once the list of names that meets your criteria is in the marketing automation system, it then becomes a simple matter of developing a campaign that encourages individuals to complete their profile. It could be an award of some type, or simply a series of reminders sent over time. Once they have completed the profile, you would remove them from the campaign by updating the “qualified” list. Maybe you then target them with another campaign as they move along your product’s “maturity” cycle.
In another case, let’s say you have a SaaS-based offering that requires an annual renewal for an enhanced level of service. Why not use marketing automation to target those companies that are coming up for renewal in the next 60 days. You could message them with actual usage statistics that demonstrate the value they have been receiving from the service over the past year, and offer special deals for customers that meet certain criteria. Most marketing automation systems allow you to store a number of data fields in the contact record that can be used to drive content in communications. You can use those fields to store data from your product and deliver custom, fine-tuned messages that drive conversions.
These are just two ways that Accelent clients are currently using marketing automation to target existing customers to drive revenues – beyond lead generation. How are you using marketing automation to drive revenue?