When budgets shrink, margins are slim and market financials are uncertain what do small, mid or enterprise level businesses have in common?
Marketing is the first cut.
The tangibles however – those budget line items and associated personnel that actually pay for themselves – are classically lower on the cut list, at times spared cuts altogether. But marketing, well that’s different. And let’s face it – most marketing departments don’t come close to paying for themselves. When was the last time yours did? When did your company actually realize profit from money spent on media buys and ad campaigns?
Most companies don’t even attempt to measure marketing ROI. Most marketers don’t know the definition of ROI (seriously – I’ve had to explain the concept many times). But in their defense, marketing has never had return on investment expectations. There’s never been accountability for media spends. Times have changed though. The narrative is different. Whether in-house or agency outsourced, unmeasured marketing is unjustified.
The digital age has rapidly evolved marketing from once intangible to that of tangibility. Marketing automation software holds marketing efforts accountable and – managed correctly by qualified digital practitioners – the solution more than pays for itself through sales intelligence and lead generation. i.e. Tangible Marketing.
Marketing efforts can be seen, known, measured and optimized based on hard data, not gut feelings.
Act-On Marketing Automation Software
Reporting tools offer visualization of marketing effectiveness in real-time, compares marketing performance over-time and in-time attributes marketing spends to revenue.
Marketing automation comes in all shapes and sizes – and there’s no one size fits all. Budgets, unique business needs, sales goals, digital strategies, historic outcomes, resources and many more variables play a role in determining best fit.
The scope of function from one automation platform to another can vary dramatically but all are customer centric. By tracking activity from initial engagement and conversions to closed sales and repeat sales the technology automates the process of managing and optimizing all customer experience stages with your product or service.
The more you pay, the more you get. Robust platforms have all the bells & whistles
♦ Email Marketing with A/B testing
♦ Social Media
♦ PPC Google AdWords tracking
♦ Lead Management and nurturing
♦ Campaign Management
♦ Sales & CRM Integration
♦ Reporting and Analysis
♦ Web Management
♦ 3rd Party Integrations such as
API Access, Apple Mail, Cisco WebEx Event Center, Citrix GoToWebinar, Gmail, Google AdWords, WordPress, and More
All the bells and whistles may be unnecessary for you. Small to mid-size companies typically require less functionality to achieve their digital marketing goals. Starting with less and scaling to more make sense when marketing automation is a new concept for your company, resources are limited or there’s budgetary challenges (does anyone not have that these days?)
But one factor is a must for whichever tool you choose – it has to pay for itself or don’t bother. Managed correctly it should. If internal marketing bandwidth is stretched or the necessary knowledge isn’t there, outsourcing training and implementation to a certified digital consulting agency is worth the investment. ROI is realized when automated sales intelligence combined with lead generation and nurturing supports and augments your sales team efforts. Automation doesn’t take the place of sales professionals rather it amplifies objectives and helps overcome challenges sales may face saving time and money in the process.
The tangibles associated with Act-On software makes it best fit for d.Mark, and as an Agency Partner we’ve found a best fit for many business partners. It’s an affordable, integrated platform that simplifies cross-channel customer engagement and supports sales teams with mission critical information.
In the end unique business needs and ROI expectations dictate d.Mark recommendations. When selecting yours on your own be sure to qualify what percentage of capabilities will actually be used. Why pay twice the price for something you’ll use half of?
Digital marketing strategies that have less emphasis on comprehensive website visitor tracking or social media integration typically call for d.Mark’s new Affiliate Partner, Hatchbuck.
We’ve found their solution a good starting place for businesses wanting to gain greater sales intelligence for lead generation, nurturing and ultimate conversions from current email marketing efforts. For businesses just beginning to embark on digital strategies or those wanting to evolve from run of the mill free solutions like MailChimp or Constant Contact, Hatchbuck is a really good option.
d.Mark’s process in qualifying the best fit for business partners (and how you should approach it on your own) is developing digital marketing strategies built around business objectives that encompass specialist digital activities such as search marketing (SEO/SEM), paid online & offline advertising, content marketing and social media. Each element works in concert to inform and engage with those who matter most to your business. In so doing, valuable opportunities are created and the best possible return on investment is realized.
Until recently marketing’s never had tangibility, more often considered the “cost of doing business”. As an intangible, marketing seldom had accountability. There will always be segments within any organization that have no financial metrics to justify taking up space on payroll’s roster but in 2015 marketing no longer is, or needs to be one of them.
Marketing only pays for itself when raw data validates it has. Measurability = Justifiability
Related d.Mark Resources