Make Marketing Automation Work for You

Marketing automation has quickly become one of the fastest-growing segments of enterprise marketing, according to IDC. This backend technology fueling cross-channel campaigns has become a $5 billion industry in a few short years.

In fact, by 2020, Gartner predicts that companies will manage 85% of their customer relationships without talking to a human. But for the nearly 100,000 businesses using marketing automation to engage their customers today, only 15 percent are using the full capabilities of these systems.

If you’re among them, you know the challenges:

1. Complexity of the platforms.
2. Lack of integration with your applications, systems and data.
3. The ever-expanding technology tool sets.
4. Data that isn’t meaningful or actionable.
5. A shortage of qualified marketing operations experts.

With these obstacles, why do so many companies – from Fortune 100 to 100-person organizations – use automated solutions to reach and engage customers? Done right, marketing automation increases leads and nurtures potential customers. It also helps boost customer lifetime value, grow revenue and improve customer retention through greater targeting, campaign productivity and measurability.

That’s the promise two of the biggest players will make in May, when SalesForce and Marketo host competing summits – in Atlanta and Las Vegas – to showcase what’s next in this space.

Marketo boasts of the most powerful platform in the industry, but most companies need help implementing and running it at scale. SalesForce owns the CRM space, adding two automated platforms (Pardot and Exact Target) to its marketing cloud (SFMC). But given the challenges they’ve had integrating these technologies in their own suite, it’s not surprising that companies need support to integrate it across their enterprise systems.

Roughly 25,000 marketing-technology professionals are expected to converge on these conferences. Our Centric teams will join them.

Having launched the Seattle team in 2014 with three people, we now have 115 developers, systems integrators and custom solution-providers who build and run Marketo and SFMC campaigns at the highest scale imaginable.

Don’t underestimate the complexity of setting up an automation platform that works in your environment – with your data, your technology and your people.

By providing on-demand Marketing Operations expertise to organizations in Seattle and around the globe, we help companies maximize the ROI on their marketing automation investments, while executing cross-channel campaigns and accelerating integration across systems, teams, tools and data sets.

What has all of this experience taught us? Don’t underestimate the complexity of setting up an automation platform that works in your environment – with your data, your technology and your people. Understand your existing processes first, then develop solutions to modify the platform – not the other way around. Prioritize projects for quick, measurable results at the start. Most importantly, establish your business strategy up front, setting realistic expectations, timelines and milestones. 

What else have we learned? That marketing automation can be challenging. The initial financial commitment requires thoughtful budgeting. But the long-term rewards for the customer’s experience and the company’s bottom line make it worthwhile.

Originally posted on GeekWire.