You’ve Got Marketing Automation. Now What?
A big trend for 2011 has been the shift toward marketing automation. This is largely due to a rise in social media, SEO/SEM and inbound marketing. These nuances have allowed marketers to do more customer touches with less internal resources. However, marketers are now faced with new challenges as they find themselves completely rethinking their strategies.
So what do you do once you’ve started a marketing automation program? Mac McConnell, Managing Partner & Founder at BlueBird Strateties, wrote a great article for Marketing Automation Software Guide touching on the pain points marketers face after implementing an automation program. Through his experiences, Mac has identified 3 areas marketers struggle with after implementation:
- Lead Sources
- Good Content
- Lead Scoring
Content Syndication and Rockstar Content
For channel marketers, implementing a marketing automation program such as content syndication can be great. But what if you don’t have a good source for content? In his article, Mac says that the biggest choke-point he sees organizations face is updating content, keeping it fresh and relevant for end users. Vendors running content syndication programs should plan ahead when creating content. Think about the different sources of content you have internally to create web content pushed to partner websites. Make sure those sources are able to update content often, perhaps quarterly or even monthly.
And you don’t always have to update all the content you’re syndicating. A quick win for vendors is to simply change out a few promotions each time they update partners’ syndicated showcases.
In the article, Mac shows just how successful great content can be. The example below shows the results of three separate emails sends:
The key here is writing fresh content that helps the buyer meet their goals, not your’s. The yield on any marketing initiative, be it automated or tradition, will ultimately increase with the right message.
Beyond Content — Demand Generation
Once you’ve set the stage with rockstar content and guaranteed you have a fresh source for updates, you can then start worrying about pushing leads to partner websites. Mac says that it is hard to know the full lifecycle of a lead if you have multiple touch points (i.e. tradeshows, content syndication, email campaigns, list rental). Thus, the most important factor for nurturing leads for partners is message consistency.
For channel vendors to truly understand the lead-to-sale process for their solution providers, they must enable partners to function with limited to no marketing resources. Everything Channel released research late last year showing an astounding 63% of solution providers don’t have a dedicated marketing resource. So, to further support Mac’s point, setting up a marketing automation pipeline for partners is simply not enough. Vendors can also help partners run automation programs through managed services and virtual marketing manager programs.
If you can’t provide this type of help to your partners, it may be time to seek some additional help.
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