Why Universities Should be Teaching Marketing Automation


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Photo credit: Students in Classrooms at UIS 10-15-10 via photopin (license)

Marketing automation uses software and tactics that allow companies to nurture prospects through the entire lead-to-revenue lifecycle. Marketing automation typically generates significantly higher revenue for companies, providing an excellent return on the investment (ROI), sometimes greater than 20x. For these reasons, it’s difficult to understand why adoption is less than 10% of companies in the United States as noted in a blog at Forbes.com by contributing blogger Mike Templeman. Specialists in the strategic use of marketing automation are emerging, but few know how to integrate it into their existing marketing activities. For massive adoption to occur, I believe universities must begin to teach marketing automation to prepare today’s marketing graduates for the real world.

Marketing automation, when used to it’s potential, allows small businesses with limited resources to run complex campaigns successfully, manage their time efficiently, and measure the success of their audience engagement. Mid-sized, fast-growth companies using automation can begin to compete with their larger market competitors by creating high-touch, high-value, relevant content and delivering to the right audience at the right time. Marketing automation also makes it possible for big corporations to connect with each of their prospects and existing customers in a personalized way that would be hard to do otherwise.

There are several benefits to utilizing marketing automation below. By logging into a single marketing automation platform, you are effectively replacing the numerous platforms your team uses to manage many of the following:

  • Inbound
  • SEO / SEM
  • Social Media and Social Scheduling
  • Website Prospecting
  • Forms
  • List Management
  • Email Campaigns
  • Landing Pages
  • Outbound
  • Events and Webinars
  • Lead Nurturing Campaigns
  • Lead Scoring
  • A/B Testing
  • Campaign Reporting
  • Website Visitor Tracking
  • Funnel Reporting

Marketing automation allows you to focus on each prospect.
A significant differentiator for automation is the “if this, then that” behavioral logic that creates rules or restrictions automatically placing prospects and customers within the list segments most relevant to their unique needs.

Marketing automation efficiently uses your staff resources.
By using an automated solution, marketing team members can execute campaigns, create landing pages and lead capture forms without involving anyone in IT or incurring hourly webmaster support. Follow-on campaigns or email nurturing provide the capability to communicate with more prospects and customers than what would be manually possible. Many will enjoy the efficiencies created by marketing automation, but none more than your sales team members. With marketing now providing more information through automated campaigns, the responsibility to educate and nurture no longer wastes the time of your sales team. Now, your sales team can get back to doing what they do best – Closing Sales! Even better news is that with the valuable business intelligence provided by the marketing team through the use of automation tools enables deeper scopes for higher proposals and have an enormous impact on revenue.

Marketing automation provides detailed reporting.
Automated marketing solutions track the behavior of unknown visitors, IP-addresses to your website as well as their engagement with your thought leading content, email campaigns, social media posts, and webpages. Highly visual, the automated reporting provides you with detailed graphs, statistics, and data that can help you optimize your future campaigns, track your marketing budget spend, and repeat what is working.

Marketing automation can save money.
For example, small businesses with tight budgets will find marketing automation can be an optimal solution. As previously mentioned, there is the potential for cost avoidance by not having to engage IT/web resources to create landing pages, but you can also spend less time and money creating and manually distributing messages.

Marketing automation makes it possible for a business to create a consistent brand presence.
Automating your marketing means that you can expand your campaigns across multiple channels. Social posts, emails, and nurture campaigns can be created in advance and scheduled for a time and date in the future. For example, you could create a month’s worth of social media and set them to publish when you are on vacation. When your brand is consistently sharing thought-leading content relevant to your audience, who are more apt to connect with your brand and demand MORE! Allowing prospects to interact with your business in a variety of ways makes it easy for them to reach you, and it increases your visibility, which can help attract more new prospects in need of your company’s solutions.

Marketing automation’s newest user interfaces (UIs) are simpler than ever.
Many solutions offer basic templates that are easy to use with WYSIWYG editors. Several robust platforms such as Act-On Software provide online communities, step-by-step training guides, on-demand video tutorials, and exceptionally knowledgeable (and patient) customer success representatives to walk you through the creation and distribution processes. In short, you will not need prior coding or web design experience to create impactful digital marketing campaigns that attract and capture your audience’s attention.

Marketing automation makes lead nurturing easier.
You don’t have time to manually connect with each prospect the number of times it will take to get their business. You can try, but I assure you, it will be time-consuming and labor intensive. An automated marketing solution can help reach out to a prospect right from the beginning of the lead lifecycle. For example, a prospect visiting your website and signing up to receive your newsletter can connect with your company right away with an automated solution. They will receive a warm welcome and prompt confirmation message, and it’s simple to send new prospects a discount coupon, special offer, poll or survey about their preferences if you desire.

Marketing automation can help build more useful and detailed prospect and customer profiles.
An automated solution is always gathering and compiling information based on demographic and behavioral data such as purchases, email opens and responses, selected preferences, and more. Stored data is used for future segmentation and follow-up by your superstar sales team.

After seeing all the benefits of marketing automation available to businesses today, it seems critical that universities begin integrating not only the theory of marketing automation into senior-level coursework but also the methodology and practical application of this very powerful tool as a lab class. With more knowledge about this efficient and effective marketing solution, graduates would be more competitive in the job market and be able to begin immediately helping businesses be more efficient and generate higher revenue. Companies should start communicating with universities regarding their future marketing-hire skill requirements and encourage them to teach marketing automation as part of their business curriculum. If they follow through on these efforts, it will pay dividends for everyone involved.

*This content was researched from several online articles, compiled, re-worded, word-smithed, and abbreviated. No additional sources provided because the content is unique by Dylan Langer and not plagiarized.

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