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12.04.2014
One of the published findings from the Gartner 360 Summit in 2014 was the statement that “by 2020, 85 percent of customer relationships with businesses will be managed without human interaction.” While technology is impacting on customer service and communications, the rise of 'marketing automation' offers the most compelling evidence that humans are starting to take a back seat.
Larger organisations are investing in 'Marketing Suites' that combine content management, social media, email, analytics and CRM within a semi-automated process.
Anyone who works in SME marketing won't be surprised by this; budgets are tight and time is even tighter. Given that 95% of small businesses use email as a primary channel for communicating with prospects and customers and 75% believe email is the most cost effective option for personalising communications and measuring effectiveness, you would think it offers the ideal first step into marketing automation.
Earlier this year Our Social Times published a research report on digital marketing trends among agencies. I'll be exploring this question later this month in an online discussion Marketing Automation on a Shoestring. To kick-start the debate we we've created a useful infographic, below, which seeks to explain how small businesses can make use of automation techniques and processes. Facebook contests and campaigns are powerful ways for brands to engage with customers in social. Like many of my posts, this topic may be obvious to some, but unfortunately, based on the literally tens of messages I have personally received this week alone, it is far from obvious to others. If you are like most people, you have never heard of Gary Vaynerchuk, but if you are like most geeks, he is an idol. There are plenty of articles online about how to promote your business through social media, but there don’t seem to be too many on how to promote a content website with Facebook and Twitter.
While the buzz surrounding social media is growing, so is the number of people who just don’t get it. One of the most important metrics in evaluating the ultimate value of any cloud software product is the customer retention rate, a number that encapsulates the value obtained versus client expectations. Note that websites do not equate with customers as a single customer may use marketing automation software on dozens or even hundreds of websites.


These can be costly to implement but the outcomes, in terms of more presonalised, responsive marketing that delivers customers or qualified leads without as much human intervention, are evidently worth it. An eMarketer report published this year revealed that 74% of marketers who use data-driven marketing say they have benefited from a competitive advantage in customer engagement and loyalty and 55% say they have increased revenues. A recent Gleanster study found that only 14% of SMEs rate themselves as advanced users of marketing automation and that, perhaps more tellingly, 90% of small businesses that haven’t invested in marketing automation say that the primary reason is the expense. The question of whether the perception of automation being expensive is correct, though is worth exploring. Creating different mailing lists with a series of auto-responders aimed at nurturing leads through ever more tailored communications is often the starting point towards personalisation.
Most of the small agencies we surveyed cited 'lack of time' and 'lack of money' as the primary reasons for not engaging in many new digital marketing activities and yet, we discovered, the root of the problem was often a lack of knowledge.
Over the past two years, ever since I joined Twitter (Follow me here), I, along with many people I know, have had a lot of questions about the micro blogging service. Of course, some of the advice is relevant to both businesses and content websites but a lot of the ideas for businesses are just not relevant for content sites. I woke up this morning and naturally logged into Twitter to see what news I missed while I was sleeping. In fact, I come across tens of people daily that use Twitter and have a significant following but are totally clueless about maximizing it.
Demand for marketing automation software is growing overall but aggregates mask marketplace turbulence. This, combined with a systematic approach to web tracking and a smart CRM strategy, forms the backbone of many marketing automation systems. I suspect that, to date, many SMEs simply haven't learnt enough about how to implement marketing automation. I have tried to cover the topic from all possible angles, and when I am asked about Twitter, I generally send the person asking an email with a whole long list of links to posts I have written.


You know how when you want to go work out or for a jog, you make yourself a playlist that always has the song “The Eye of The Tiger”?
While a small fraction of SEO projects involve fixing the technical kinks on a site that would otherwise get rankings, most campaigns are about manipulating the bots and gaming the algorithm into associating your site with your keywords. Since I focus most of my efforts these days on promoting content, I have put together a list of tips which are useful for getting as many as people as possible to a website. I know there is a lot of material out there when it comes to optimizing a website for search engines, but common sense dictates that if you want people to come across your site on Google, you will use attractive keywords and titles in your article. I analyzed the top 20 firms for which we have data—and which fall roughly into the marketing automation space—and calculated the percent change in websites using their software since January 1, 2014. According to the data, only two of the 20 firms—Pardot and Act-On—have increased their website count by more than ten percent since the beginning of 2014. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to insert links to other articles of yours and place them on relevant words as anchor text. Twitter has been working hard on implementing new features over the past few months, some more successful than others, and I thought this was just another new functionality to add to the collection. They sometimes publish the number and growth rate of their customer base but not a single one lets on to retention rate, or its inverse—churn.Not to worry. Seven of the 20 platforms have actually lost websites, a few by over 20 percent.The data also implies that churn is higher than many would believe. Software tracking company Datanyze scans over 18 million of the world’s most-trafficked websites, hunting for JavaScript embeds and web tags that indicate the presence of hosted software—in this case a marketing automation platform.



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