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Does your organization need a marketing automation platform?

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Does your organization need a marketing automation platform?


Marketing automation platforms are a critical part of the martech ecosystem for many businesses, offering many benefits by streamlining manual B2B marketing tasks, including lead management, email campaign development and landing page creation.

But deciding whether or not your company needs a marketing automation platform calls for the same steps involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of your organization’s business needs, staff capabilities, management support and financial resources.

Have we outgrown our current marketing system?

Marketing automation is often a solution for companies that are growing rapidly and need to scale their efforts. If you have data in multiple databases that cannot be consolidated or are using an email system that can’t deliver the level of behavioral targeting you need, it may be time for marketing automation.

What marketing automation capabilities are most critical to our business?

Identify and prioritize your software requirements and the key capabilities you’ll need from the new system. Do your sales reps need real-time access to marketing data? Then native CRM integration is a must-have. Do you have a sophisticated social media presence? Then social marketing management and integration will be important. By knowing what you need, you’ll be in a better position to control the selection process and choose the platform that will most benefit the organization.

What kind of marketing automation platform do we need?

Marketing automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution; it’s important to find the right fit. Nearly all companies offer the same basic capabilities for email, website tracking and a marketing database. Additional capabilities vary, however, so it’s important to identify what you need. Is inbound marketing (social media, blogging, SEO) more important than outbound (email)? Are reporting and analytics the key features you need? Is lead scoring a crucial part of your marketing process? Do you need greater capabilities in audience segmentation and personalization?

What are our goals?

It is critical to know up front what your goals for the marketing automation system will be. Do you want to improve the quality of leads handed off by marketing to sales? Or increase revenue by increasing conversion at key stages in the buying cycle? Do you want to improve visibility into the buying and sales cycles to optimize marketing engagement? Or do you want to reach the growing portion of your leads that are mobile users? Bring key stakeholders together to establish the organization’s goals.

How will this platform integrate with our existing tech stack?

The odds are that you already have a tech stack in place, (e.g., several standalone tools for social media management, SEO, webinar hosting, etc.). You’ll need to identify them all so you can ask the marketing automation vendor about integration. Many vendors offer app marketplaces, which provide faster access to the participating systems. Virtually all marketing automation vendors offer APIs, but they may be an add-on to the price of the platform.

Does management support this purchase?

Every marketer should have an executive sponsor to secure support at the C-level. If you are not the ultimate decision-maker for this purchase, you will need management to buy into the idea before you go any further. Present a compelling case that the benefits of new software vastly outweigh the costs. This could include converting more leads, making sales more efficient and improving campaign ROI.

Do we have the internal skillset and staff necessary?

To maximize your ROI, staff will need training and a willingness to develop and execute new business processes. You may also need to consider several new hires. If your marketing and sales organizations have been operating in silos, they will need to work more cooperatively on lead scoring and routing systems, lead qualification definitions and more effective marketing collateral and communications. Identify someone in the organization who will take the lead on the selection process, as well as who will be using the system once it has been adopted.

How will we measure success?

This is one of the toughest questions, and ties in directly to understanding why you are adopting a marketing automation platform. If your goal is to increase conversions, you’ll need to know what your conversion rate is before automation in order to measure its impact. If it’s to improve email efficiency, be prepared with metrics on open rates, clicks, etc. In addition to measuring against your marketing goals, it’s wise to measure the depth and breadth of platform usage. Many marketers only use basic email capabilities, which ends up being a costly investment.

Have we realistically assessed the cost?

Some marketing automation platforms are all-inclusive, while others feature add-on tools and services that can significantly increase costs. In addition to the cost of the software license itself, consider the costs of ongoing services and training, as well as the indirect costs associated with getting staff up and running on the new system (i.e., more cooperation and data sharing between marketing and sales). If you don’t have your own IT or design staff, be sure to ask questions about what these services cost on an hourly basis. For example, if the platform offers templates, find out how many, and how much it costs to customize template design.

Snapshot: Marketing automation

For today’s marketers, automation platforms are often the center of the marketing stack. They aren’t shiny new technologies, but rather dependable stalwarts that marketers can rely upon to help them stand out in a crowded inbox and on the web amidst a deluge of content.

HubSpot noted late last year that marketing email volume had increased by as much as 52% compared to pre-COVID levels. And, thankfully, response rates have also risen to between 10% and 20% over their benchmark.

To help marketers win the attention battle, marketing automation vendors have expanded from dependence on static email campaigns to offering dynamic content deployment for email, landing pages, mobile and social. They’ve also incorporated features that rely on machine learning and artificial intelligence for functions such as lead scoring, in addition to investing in the user interface and scalability.

The growing popularity of account-based marketing has also been a force influencing vendors’ roadmaps, as marketers seek to serve the buying group in a holistic manner — speaking to all of its members and their different priorities. And, ideally, these tools let marketers send buyer information through their tight integrations with CRMs, giving the sales team a leg up when it comes to closing the deal. Learn more here.



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MARKETING

Amazon announces AWS Clean Rooms

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Elon Musk has acquired Twitter

This week, Amazon announced AWS Clean Rooms, a service that will enable customers who use AWS Advertising and Marketing, as well as other data and media partners, to build data clean rooms. These clean rooms, which can be built in minutes, will keep data secure, while advertisers can use insights from the data to optimize campaigns and make other advertising and marketing decisions based on these insights.

“Using AWS Clean Rooms, customers can collaborate on a range of tasks, such as more effectively generating advertising campaign insights and analyzing investment data while improving data security,” said Dilip Kumar, vice president of AWS Applications, in a company release.

AWS Clean Rooms will become available in early 2023 in some U.S. markets, as well as in Europe and Asia Pacific markets.

Why we care. Through a number of partnerships over the last year, clean rooms have become more widely available for campaigns on the open web, as well as within “digital giants” (aka walled gardens) such as Amazon.

By including partners across identity, measurement and media, AWS can provide clean rooms for advertisers to execute campaigns outside of Amazon while gaining intelligence on campaign performance, all while keeping customer data secure.

Media partnerships. For instance, Fox Corporation is on board with their sports, news and entertainment properties. “It can be challenging for our advertising clients to determine how to best leverage our deep, differentiated set of data sources to optimize their media spend across our combined portfolio of entertainment, sports, and news brands, which reach hundreds of millions of monthly viewers,” said Lindsay Silver, senior vice president of data and commercial technology at Fox Corporation, in a release. “AWS Clean Rooms will enable data collaborations easily and securely in the AWS Cloud, which will help our advertising clients unlock new insights across every Fox brand and screen while protecting consumer data.”

Additionally, DISH Media will allow advertisers and agencies to run their own analysis in AWS Clean Rooms to optimize future campaigns across their audience of 31 million consumers.

Identity. Amazon says new identity capabilities will roll out to advertisers in the coming months to help brands match and link customer records across channels without compromising anonymity. They’ve announced information services company Experian as an AWS Clean Rooms partner in helping brands enrich their first-party data.

“By combining Experian’s identity resolution capabilities with AWS Clean Rooms, customers can securely unify and analyze their collective data to derive deeper insights and deliver more personalized customer experiences,” said Aimee Irwin, senior vice president of strategy and partnerships at Experian, in a statement.

Measurement and analytics. Comscore is also signed on as an AWS Clean Rooms partner. This means that they will be using the AWS cloud to host brands and connect them to Comscore’s Media Metrix suite, powered by Unified Digital Measurement 2.0 and Campaign Ratings.

These partnerships insert the AWS Advertising and Marketing cloud into the digital ad ecosphere at a time when privacy and first-party enrichment are top priorities for brands.

Dig deeper: Why we care about data clean rooms


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About The Author

Chris Wood

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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