Marketing Automation: What You Need to Know Now


Marketing automation – using software such as Eloqua, Marketo, or Hubspot to automate repetitive or manual marketing tasks – is fast becoming a B2B standard. A recent survey noted that 58% of lead generation marketers report using marketing automation technologies that are integrated with their existing CRMs. This represents an increase from 50% in 2012.

Marketing automation makes a lot of sense for life sciences companies. Yet there is a lot of material out there to consider – pros and cons, when to use it, how to do it. Here, we sort the wheat from the chaff, with actionable information to help you think about your strategy.

Top signs you need marketing automation

  • Your campaigns are bogged down by manual and repetitive tasks. You’re building lists and creating emails and landing pages for each new campaign. You’re logging contacts and spending your time on detailed tactics, with no bandwidth to craft strategy. Marketing automation platforms can help you streamline your processes with reusable workflows and templates. It also bridges the gap for smaller marketing teams.
  • Demonstrating ROI is a challenge. You struggle with multiple data sources and are unable to consistently report on campaign effectiveness. The executive team is having a hard time understanding how marketing is driving revenue – and is considering cutting your budget. Marketing automation, with a wealth of metrics captured in one system, campaign-by-campaign, sheds light on ROI. And helps you powerfully demonstrate marketing’s value.
  • There’s a rift between marketing and sales. Your sales team wants higher-quality leads from marketing. And marketing wants revenue attribution from sales. Using multiple systems means that sales has no way to act on data the marketing team can see, from email opens to website visits. Marketing automation software feeds quality prospect data into the CRM the sales team is already using. It also enables sales and marketing to jointly measure, manage, and report on the performance of campaigns.
  • It’s hard to foster an effective digital dialog with prospects. You’re sending emails and tracking responses as best you can. But you’re using a one-size-fits-all approach to communications. Marketing automation software guides existing and potential leads through their consideration process with preloaded emails, content, and calls-to-action. Tailoring communications based on the unique interests and actions of any given lead means that communications are more productive – which is doubly important in life sciences, where consideration times are long.

When marketing automation is NOT the solution

Despite the benefits outlined above, there is a right time and place for marketing automation. Hubspot, a marketing automation software company, says that it’s time to invest “[i]f you’re producing effective inbound marketing content, you’re generating a steady flow of new, organic leads, and you’re ready to scale your successful efforts.”  Without these things in place, however, the software may not bring you the return on a large investment of time and money.

On a related note, marketing automation will not fix a broken marketing strategy. If you’re not sure who you’re targeting and what you’re trying to accomplish, marketing automation is not a replacement for taking the time to solidify your approach.

Keep in mind that there are modified approaches to marketing automation that may be a better fit for your company. Marketing automation packages like Marketo or Eloqua are enterprise-level solutions that cover all the bases, including complete lead management, campaign management and event management. But you may be able to do more by just adding a lightweight tool to your CRM such as ExactTarget, which offers targeted bulk email capabilities.

A checklist to help you decide

If you’re ready to evaluate marketing automation vendors, we recommend Act-On’s Buyer’s Checklist for Marketing Automation. It’s a comprehensive checklist that quickly walks you through finding the right solution for your company, from capabilities to reporting, training, and cost.

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We hope this helped you understand how marketing automation can benefit your company. And please, ask any questions or share your stories in the comments section.

If you’d like to learn even more about marketing automation, see our Life Sciences Marketing portal page for case studies and other content specifically written for marketing professionals in your industry.

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