Marketing automation has been a hot topic of late among B2B marketers. Many an infographic will tell you that companies using marketing automation improve conversion rates, create more sales ready leads, lower costs, increase customer engagement, improve ROI, and so on. The fact is, marketing automation is not the silver bullet that some make it out to be. The companies that enjoy the greatest success with marketing automation do so because they have a strong strategic framework to support their efforts.
If you think back to our earlier post on the subject of developing content strategy, you’ll recall that three important components of content strategy are:
- Understanding Customer Profiles
- Understanding Customer Processes
- Understanding Customer Pain Points
You’ll notice that all three of these bullet points begin with the words “understanding” and “customer”. Sense a theme? Understanding customer profiles, processes, and pain points makes for a solid understanding of your customer. This understanding allows you to create the timely, valuable, and targeted content that fuels marketing automation. Each element and its impact on marketing automation is explored in detail below.
1. Customer Profiles
One of the very first steps of your content strategy is to define who is buying your products. A good customer profile goes beyond the typical demographic/psychographic/technographic information. It outlines both the high-level need that brought the customer to the market and the unique value that brought them to the company. A good customer profile gives you the context and motivation for consuming content and, thus, provides insight into the timing and format in which content should be delivered.
Customer profiles are key for marketing automation because they tell you who you’re speaking with and how they should be spoken to. The automated delivery of content is great, but if the content is not delivered to the right people, in the right way, and at the right time, its effects will be greatly diminished.
2. Customer Processes
Just as it’s important to understand who your customers are, it is also important to understand how they become customers. Each customer profile will likely take their own road from initial interaction to paying customer. A good content strategy will present well-researched and accurate customer processes for each profile.
Customer processes are important for marketing automation because they provide the roadmap for marketing automation efforts. If you understand the steps customers take, you can design automated campaigns to walk contacts from step to step. The relevance of your automated marketing efforts depends on the accuracy of your customer processes.
3. Pain Points
A good content strategy will detail the pain points of its customers. It will look into the customer issues, questions, and misunderstandings about the product. Pain points carry a lot of negative emotion for customers. Accordingly, the ease or resolution of pain points carries significant value to them.
Pain points are important for marketing automation because they are the key to providing valuable content. If automated campaigns are able to deliver fixes to issues, answers to questions, and clarifications to misunderstandings at related stages of the customer process, the chances are greatly increased that prospects will move past the snag. Valuable and timely information also builds trust with prospects and makes your company stand out as a resource rather than a vendor. This can only be accomplished if you understand your customer pain points.
Marketing automation is a great tool to improve efficiency in marketing efforts, but it’s only as good as the strategy in which it’s incorporated. An on-point strategy will deliver significant results, while an underdeveloped strategy will deliver frustration.
Let us know what you think:
- How does your content strategy influence your marketing automation?
- How are your efforts customized for each customer profile?
- Which pieces of content are most effective when combined with automation?