Having twins that have just turned five teaches you a lot about the power of imagination. Yesterday I witnessed how a few empty boxes can turn into a racing car fuelled by magnetic letters and from its position in the corner of the lounge, I am sure it won the Monaco Grand Prix.
So what has this got to do with Marketing Automation? In very simple terms a five year old has a huge appetite to explore, imagination to blend worlds together and unquestionable belief that daddy can fix everything. As adults we sadly loose some of this, we are time poor, a little cynical, often lack imagination and definitely know we can only fix somethings.
As a marketer, I remember a fragmented world of email engines, spreadsheets and websites that were a nightmare to change. My daily exacerbation was “if only I could?”. Then Marketing Automation arrived, initially a bit ragged around the edges, but still everything that I had wished for.
So here is a bold statement, I believe that most companies who have invested in Marketing Automation are only scratching the surface in terms of leveraging its full potential. The premise for this statement is experience, I spend a lot of time talking to different organisations mainly focused on B2B marketing. What I find is that the majority of people are being smart in terms of using Marketing Automation to do what they do better, but they are not changing the game and definitely not capitalising on the power of Marketing Automation to transform how they market.
Let’s take just one example, lead nurturing. There is a lot of talk that today the greatest part of the buying cycle takes place before sales engagement. We all know this, because we are all talking about it. However, very few are really addressing it. Marketing automation enables us to deliver this ‘hands-off’ engagement with potential buyers and cleverly progress their buying cycle towards our sales cycle. We can capture the first point of engagement, we can trigger content to be delivered to them and we can nurture them based on what we can learn about them at each step.
How many people are doing this well, my view is only a few. The majority of organisations are just stepping up how they send traditional eMarketing. They are not linking the worlds of inbound and outbound, they are not leveraging lead scoring to determine how to engage next and they are most definitely not leveraging the power of Marketing Automation to connect the right people, with the right content at the right time.
I don’t want to prescribe that we go back to basics, that is too much of a cliché. But I do believe we need to change our thinking. Maybe we need to learn from the five year olds. Don’t look at what it is in front of us, but imagine what it could be. Take a step back and reimagine marketing, what is your dream, what do you want tomorrow to look like, but do not do this in terms of increments on today.
Map two things in your mind, what is the journey you want to take customers and prospects on and what does brilliant look like. Now unlock your imagination, ignite your belief and make it happen, I can assure you it is possible and Marketing Automation is the tool that can make it possible.