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The Director’s Guide To Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation Inbound Leads

If you’re not taking marketing automation seriously and incorporating it into your overall strategy, the chances are that you’re selling your company short. Last year:

  • 51% of companies used some form of marketing automation, with 58% of B2B companies having implementation plans in place.
  • 63% of professionals planned to raise their marketing budgets for automation.
  • 4 out of 5 marketers saw automation as a critical part of their overall success.

With this said, the term automation invokes a lot of fear and anxiety in the uninitiated, from people not looking forward to learning new platforms to worrying about their job security. 

In reality, though, marketing automation is less about supplanting professionals, and more about removing tedium and busywork from their daily operations. Here’s a top-down look on how to understand and utilize marketing automation in your business.

What Is Marketing Automation?
In essence, marketing automation is an umbrella term for using different software platforms to automate aspects of marketing activities. The marketing team puts together an overall strategy, or workflow, for the software, which it then executes to provide automated communications across a variety of different channels.

On paper, it seems easy, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that marketing automation is a replacement for a well-planned strategy. Marketing automation lives or dies off of the nature of the workflows that you create. As a result, you need to know your audience, and what they respond to or your investment in the process won’t pay off. 

Along with this, you need a solid CRM with prospects in your database to increase ROI with marketing automation. If you have a small existing list of leads, you’re going to see diminishing returns. At the same time, if you buy a cheap list of potential leads and use marketing automation to spam them, you’re just going to hurt your brand’s reputation. So, before implementing marketing automation, have a plan in place to handle database/lead decay.

Replacing Common Platforms
One of the major benefits of using marketing automation is that it allows you to replace a multitude of software platforms. A change like this also means more capacity for your marketing team to dedicate on additional tactics. Here are a few examples worth looking at:

Lead Forms: These used to be the gold standard when it came to lead collection. They consisted of attaching a lead form to something like an e-book or another type of enticing content. The lead’s information would then go into an accompanying database, which compiled warm leads to mine. In the past, this process would be quite time-consuming, from setting up the form to filtering for people who may have filled things out incorrectly. Skipping these steps with automation means you spend less time combing through the database and more time figuring out how to grow it.

Landing Pages: Marketing automation generally serves as the middle of a marketing funnel, helping convert prospects from the lead lists you create to the moment of conversion. For many businesses, landing pages are that point of conversion. Where marketing automation helps is cutting out a lot of the work of data collection (using heatmaps, checking KPIs) to see how your landing pages are performing. Automatically forward people to your landing pages, and see if your marketing is creating an effective bridge from lead generation to conversion.

Email: Replacing email outright isn’t necessarily what marketing automation is about, but more about ending the back and forth process that comes with an email campaign. For example, if someone doesn’t respond to your marketing email at first, it’s generally good practice to send a followup. However, drafting the email and remembering to send it can be a vexing task. Marketing automation allows you to set this all up in advance. Not only does it mean less tasking work, but it also ensures you’re not sending extra emails to prospects that don’t need them.

As a final note, statistically speaking, custom/dynamic automated marketing performs the best out of all automated marketing. And it’s pretty easy to understand why: it helps differentiate you from conventional sales/marketing copy, while also allowing you to target individual customer needs. Marketing automation is also a major timesaver when it comes to dynamic content. For example, you can:

  • Set when your marketing emails/communications will be sent based on past prospect actions.
  • Set different fields in your communications to account for names, companies, and other information. 
  • Add unique imagery/product suggestions based on past behavior.

Marketing Automation And Your Sales Funnel
So let’s say that you’re confident about using marMarketing Funnel Growthketing automation, and are ready to start implementing it. How exactly do you integrate this workflow into your existing sales funnel? Remember, as we mentioned earlier, marketing automation does a lot of work in the middle of the sales funnel. But, you also need to integrate multiple touch points at the top and bottom of the funnel to see the full impact.

How many touch points do you need? It will vary based on the clients, but here are some of the most common examples.

Phone calls: Whether this is a cold call or a followup to an in-person meeting, these are generally the starting point for a lot of sales funnels, especially for big-ticket purchases or services.

Emails: Often, these are the most effective ways to regularly contact a prospect with followup for answering questions and reinforcing services to help convert a sale. You can also use this as a reminder or to let them know about other opportunities.

Social media: Social media as a touch point may seem a bit odd but think of it as the touch point before the touch point. If you reach out to a prospect cold, they may not be interested in your service at that moment and turn you away. Doing things like providing them content on social media and engaging with them in a personal manner will warm them up to your offerings.

So, how does marketing automation come into play here? You can create a workflow based on a prospect liking a series of posts. Then, automatically, send a followup email right after the database triggers the actions of liking the posts. This approach hits multiple touch points for a fraction of the work, meaning it’s easier to personalize the marketing and connect with more prospects.

Marketing automation has gone from a novelty for many businesses to an essential tool. The ability to simplify a multitude of tasks not only helps streamline the workflow of your marketing team but also saves time. However, there are still two main touch points that you’ll need to overcome to transition into automation:

  • Finding a seamless way to transfer from legacy systems.
  • Implementing if you don’t have a marketing team or agency partner.

In both cases, working with a veteran marketing agency like Glint Advertising is your ideal solution. We can help provide consultation and resources for you to move your marketing strategy toward automation.

Highest ROI Marketing Platforms for Q1 2020

Many people assume that you need to have an annual marketing plan ready before the year even starts to see any success. This philosophy is great in theory (being prepared), but it is often rare that a marketing plan doesn’t alter based on business conditions and opportunities. However, for those who are still trying to put something together, keep in mind ROI (return on investment) should be the overarching focus with the plan. Here are some of the top platforms to consider in 2020.

How Does ROI In Marketing Work?
Before getting into the platforms themselves, let’s briefly talk about the importance of marketing ROI. Many marketers get lost in all the KPIs out there and lose sight of what’s most important. As an example, say that you put together a social media campaign utilizing a popular influencer, who isn’t necessarily related to your niche. The influencer does their job, leveraging their fanbase to try and visit your sites, but you don’t necessarily get many conversions. Conversion drop is probably happening because the fanbase the influencer reaches is less likely to buy your product or service. 

If the marketing team was focusing the tactic on web traffic, they might see this as a success. However, in terms of ROI, this is probably not an ideal tactic. With low conversions vs. paying for the influencer, you may even end up losing money when all is said and done. However, if this is a branding play and you’re looking to create the first touchpoint with this audience, then this could be very powerful, long-term.

So, how can you tell if a given platform has a successful ROI? The best way to measure this is by taking your sales growth from the venture, removing the marketing costs, then dividing by the marketing costs. If you saw a sales growth of $2,000 from a campaign that cost $200, you received a 900% ROI from it. There are other measurements worth looking out for, like branded queries or referrals, but that’s the base calculation you want to have in mind. Now, we can start getting into specific platforms.

Video Marketing
For many marketers, a successful video campaign is the crown jewel of their overall strategy. From increasing your traffic to growing revenue, a single successful set of videos can deliver a variety of different benefits. On top of this, when looking at ROI, this is one of the strongest options possible. Some marketers may be wary of video due to cost perception, but new technology has made it easier than ever to break in. In fact, some professional-grade videos can be created utilizing newer smartphones, smart lighting, and a little planning. Along with this, video tends to draw people in for longer periods than many other digital and traditional tactics. Thus it can allow you to tell a better story.

So, with that said, how do you guarantee video marketing success? As video marketing continues to grow, bad editing or poor audio isn’t going to cut it, so first, video quality matters. Another thing you want to make sure you’re doing is taking full advantage of the platform hosting your video. A video series about your services provides the opportunity to define facts while crafting a narrative. It may be worth working with outside help to create a true video script if you’re struggling in this area. 

CRM/Marketing Automation
Depending on whom you ask, these are two separate categories of software, and both play a vital role in marketing ROI. For example, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool is generally associated more with the sales world, helping to chart all interactions with clients and prospects. Marketing automation is more about helping companies streamline some of their existing marketing tasks utilizing automated responses and drip campaigns. Since sales are uniquely tied to marketing and marketing typically needs a sales converter to close, Glint believes these categories should be combined and provides this type of blended platform for their clients. Learn more about the Glint platform here.

Most people assume ROI is mainly financial, and while that is true, it can also be evaluated through time involvement cost. Using the previous influencer example, it takes time to find the right influencer, negotiating, rolling out the campaign, and running the calculations to determine if the campaign was successful. Marketing Automation platforms help cut down on your time costs by automating and personalizing basic, but necessary tasks.

Social Advertising
Successful advertising is all about being where your audience is, and that means having a social media plan in place. These are great platforms to build marketing ROI because the cost of entry is relatively affordable, and there is an extensive audience available that can be segmented. With this in mind, let’s do a quick run-through of some actionable advice for marketing success on three of 2020’s most popular platforms.

Facebook

  • Have concrete goals in mind (driving traffic, conversions, adding value)
  • Use all of Facebook’s features to help determine who your ads/marketing target
  • Be proactive when it comes to creating engagement opportunities
  • Schedule content ahead for optimized timing

 

Instagram

  • Optimize your biography for a strong first impression
  • Ensure your visual content stays at a high quality
  • Optimize through smart use of hashtags
  • Maintain a regular pace of content

 

Linkedin

  • Remember you are targeting a business audience
  • Analyze competitor pages for advice
  • Use commenting and engagement to drive your content
  • Be sure to understand why people use Linkedin (connections, business development) when drafting content

 

Creating An Overarching Campaign Strategy
It’s also important to remember that you need an overall marketing strategy in place, not just a concept. Using only video marketing, or Marketing Automation, or social advertising isn’t likely to yield success. One major trend that we’re seeing is finding ways to link traditional and digital marketing together and ensuring you have at least three points of integration. An approach like this also allows companies using legacy approaches to leverage their expertise while competing in the digital age. 

An example of this in practice is vanity URLs. These are essentially URLs that make it easier for people to remember a web address, while also redirecting to a longer URL with tracking info. On one end, you’re increasing your brand presence by making it easier for people to remember your site/pages. On the other hand, you’re able to grab some vital tracking info to power your decision making. This is a great type of measurement to start tracking marketing ROI.

Call tracking operates on a similar principle. Many companies underestimate precisely how much of a role calls can play in lead generation, whether it’s cold calling or following up on other marketing efforts via a phone call. Call tracking allows you to tie campaigns to a single business number helping you determine which marketing tactics are delivering. It’s also important to note that the calls are recorded to help you better train your sales team on the way’s to handle and close inbound calls. Like other marketing tracking, this makes it easier to determine which methods are successful, and which need to be improved. 

2020 may be rolling along, but that doesn’t mean you have missed the boat in terms of your marketing strategy. Making some key adjustments throughout the year can contribute to better ROI and the impact of marketing. However, when you’re making shifts, a good starting point is to consider working with a veteran marketing agency, like Glint Advertising. By taking a look at your current goals and marketing plans, we can help you find the ideal platforms to grow your business.

Broadcast vs. Cable TV Advertising

TVs Fightig

One marketing platform that often comes up in discussions is the idea of advertising on television. Rewind a few decades, and running a TV commercial was seen as the holy grail of advertising. If you look at events like the Super Bowl today (and the ad spend it commands), it’s easy to see that TV is still a powerful platform. However, the landscape has changed a lot, with both broadcast and cable TV as options, which is best? Let’s take a closer look.

Why Advertise On Television?
At first glance, many people are quick to say that television advertising is either dying or completely dead. What’s more accurate to say, though, is that it’s in a time of transition. With the advent of the DVR, many people choose to skip ads they may have otherwise watched. Also, the growing popularity of streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and newer options like Disney+ means that more people, particularly younger demographics, are more likely to avoid watching cable or broadcast TV altogether, meaning they’ll miss out on those ads. So, while TV may not be the dominant ad platform it was in the past, it still has its uses.

Specific Demographics:
We mentioned how younger audiences are favoring streaming platforms. However, that doesn’t apply to everyone. Older demographics may still prefer TV, which means products and services marketed to them will do well on the platform. 

Message Penetration: 
Many unfavorable takes on TV advertising compare it to digital advertising. While some comparison points are valid, a lot of digital ads are essentially disrupting people from enjoying the content they’re reading or viewing. Digital ads are delivered so quickly they often don’t resonate with consmers. With TV, people are generally watching it at a state of rest; this makes it easier for your message to sink in.

Legitimacy: 
The fact is that advertising on TV, even if it’s a bit less lucrative now, is still seen as a key way to show that your company has “arrived.” Couple your commercial spot with the right messaging and this space can significantly enhance your brand perception and drive engagement.

Creative Freedom: 
For the most part, with a digital ad, you can only do so much in terms of presentation before your audience choices to lose interest or click to discover more. Commercials allow for more time to present your offering, which can help tip a consumer towards your brand.


The Benefits of Choosing Broadcast TV
To understand the benefits of broadcast TV, it’s important first to discuss the nature of TV distribution and where a given ad will show. 

Broadcast TV generally entails major channels, like ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. Each of these channels, on top of its broadcast programming, will also generally have local affiliates for a given designated market area. 

Cable television distribution is quite different. Generally, ads are sold in smaller geographic areas known as “zones.” Whether or not you see that as a positive or negative is something we’ll discuss with cable, but for now, let’s focus on broadcast TV advertising benefits.

Larger Geographical Reach: 
Ultimately, in terms of faces put in front of your ads, broadcast TV will give you greater bang for your buck. Also, buying broadcast ad space means that you’ll be able to have customers see your ad no matter what distribution path they choose, such as satellite, broadcast, or cable.

Audience Viewing: 
Broadcast TV daytime programming, which is significantly less expensive for advertising than primetime, generally puts together content that skews towards older, female audiences. If this is your target demographic, it’s a great way to reach a wide span of potential clients. Also, advertising during local news is a great way to appeal to a broader demographic at a fraction of primetime costs.

Better Insulated Against Digital: 
The idea of people “cutting the cord” has grown more popular as digital streaming platforms and cable packages begin to compete. However, broadcast TV generally performs a lot better. Even people who opt to stream broadcast programming on their computer can still see your ads.

The Benefits of Choosing Cable
As mentioned before, when buying cable advertising, you’re investing in zones rather than broad areas of a region. An approach like this leads to perhaps the most important aspect of buying cable, audience narrowing. 

Microtargeting: 
As an example of cable ads for a specific audience, small businesses like dentists’ offices or automotive repair services generally don’t draw in an audience from more than 20 minutes away. As a result, broadcast TV ads would put you in front of many customers that would never end up converting. Narrowing your geographic area, which cable can do for you, puts your ads in front of an audience that is close and saves you money, which provides a better ROI.

Interest Targeting: 
Most cable channels provide content around a specific interest, like Food Network for cooking or HGTV for home improvement. If your business markets to that niche, you have a built-in ready audience for your product or service.

OTT Advertising: 
You may be concerned about reaching younger demographics that favor streaming over conventional cable. You can get around this with OTT (over the top) advertising. These ads generally cost less than conventional ads and can be viewed through tablets, phones, computers, and connected TVs (CTVs).

You may be a bit surprised that we haven’t talked about cost yet. The main reason for this is that out of cable and broadcast TV, there isn’t a single one that is always going to be more or less expensive than the other. The real cost drivers in terms of TV advertising take into account universal factors like:

  • The channel the ad will run in
  • The program the ad will be run alongside
  • The duration of the ad
  • The amount of area coverage for the ad
  • Production costs for the ad

The less particular you are with placement also means that you can find cheap and expensive options both on cable and broadcast television. For example, programs like the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, and Olympics, which have massive appeal and reach, are some of the most expensive ad spaces available, and they are on broadcast TV. However, shows like The Walking Dead that are massive cable draws also are costly. So, the easiest way to think of it is like this:

  • Broadcast: Higher ceiling, more expensive on average
  • Cable: Lower floor, but could still be costly for prime ad space

Watching TV

Along with this, if you have a high production budget or want a nationwide reach for your ad, it will likely cost more to produce the spot no matter what platform it’s on. Some ways to save when buying advertising space is committing to a longer advertising run. Of course, you need to have enough material to keep your commercials fresh and feel confident that that decision will put you in front of the right audience. 

Ultimately, the decision to advertise on cable tv or broadcast tv comes down to where your audience is and your budget. However, whichever ad platform fits you best, you want to make sure you have strong advertising content to get the most potential for a return on your investment. If you are looking for more options in this area, be sure to partner with a skilled banding, advertising, and marketing agency, like Glint Advertising. By taking a look at your current goals and marketing plans, we can help you find the best vehicle for your advertising content. 

Intern Insights, Jamie Mendoza

Jamie Mendoza Red Telephone BoothAs a college student, it is imperative to have internships under your belt before applying for a job. I’ve heard the horror stories. The ones that depict the intern as just a cog in a machine, going on coffee runs and doing miscellaneous tasks like filing papers. So when Glint Advertising called and offered me an internship, I had no idea what I was in for. I did know I wanted to learn everything I possibly could during my time there, which I did. What I didn’t expect was to learn who I am as a person and how I would fit into this industry.

The Glint team is brilliant in the way that they take every challenge as an opportunity, and are just as eager to learn as their interns. The passion they put into their clients’ work is the same they demonstrate towards teaching. My experience in this industry was microscopic, and they took that in stride. I quickly found what you learn in a classroom that barely scratches the surface of what it’s actually like at an agency. Here are some important tips I’ve learned about how to navigate the business world.

An hour of creativity can go a long way for a client but is only a minor piece of the puzzle.
Going above and beyond is what puts you ahead, but there are so many factors you must take into consideration if you want to be successful.

Have a reason to show up to work every day.
Everyone’s reason will vary, but passion is contagious and can make a significant difference for your job and your clients.

Always be confident in your ideas and what you’re presenting.
Confident people own the choices they make and accept the outcomes that come with them. Removing self-doubt will not only ensure your own trust but will allow your clients to believe in you as well.

Don’t be afraid of talking about money.
As awkward as the topic may be, it’s the universal component that makes the world go round for all parties. Getting that conversation going during the initial meeting will save you many difficult conversations later on.

Always ask questions, even if you’re scared of the answer.
Learning something new about yourself or your work, even if that something is negative, means you have the will to correct it. So ask all those hard questions, because a good leader is never scared of an opportunity to learn.

Be thankful.
This industry is very competitive, so being hired as an intern or an employee is an incredible opportunity. Be grateful for every challenge, triumph, defeat, and victory, because someone believed in you enough to give you this chance. Don’t let it go to waste.

Along with these tips, I’ve also learned a great deal about myself and what I can accomplish. I now appreciate constructive criticism and can learn from my mistakes. I can consult and take suggestions from my coworkers, but also make confident decisions based on my own knowledge of the topic. I learned you must sometimes fail to succeed, and that’s okay. On top of it all, I created strong professional relationships with the Glint team and will continue to seek their guidance for as long as I can.

My summer with Glint has allowed me to grow personally and gain new knowledge of the advertising industry. Although I already had passion for this career, this internship cultivated a new perspective for me and the things I can achieve as a business professional. Like a sixth-grader on the playground, Glint opened my eyes toward opportunities that I could capitalize on. I’ll spare you the comparison of the monkey bars to social media strategy, as they are both as fun as they are challenging. Even though I’m sad my time as a Glint intern is coming to an end, I’m eager to see where my career will take me.

Looking for an internship? Give us a call at 817-616-0320 or drop us a note at agency@glintadv.com and learn what it takes.

The Evolution of Consumer Purchase Behavior

Shopping_Behaviors

Way back in the year 2010, smartphones had only just started gaining popularity, and the first tablets were being unveiled. The stores that were scattered all across the country were regularly filled with motivated shoppers looking to spend some of their hard earned money. Nowadays, this is a sight that is usually only seen during special events like Black Friday with more and more purchases being made without ever stepping foot inside of a retail store.

While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is worth taking a look at how consumer purchase behavior has shifted over the last decade.

How Consumers Found Companies a Decade Ago
There were a couple of valuable marketing insights known as the first moment of truth and the second moment of truth. These terms were first coined by P&G almost 15 years ago and were groundbreaking concepts when they first emerged. They referred to the process in which a consumer forms opinions regarding which companies they will develop loyalty towards.

In the world of business, brand loyalty is everything and accounts for an average of 65% of the business that a company gets. Therefore, if a company is not able to develop a close enough link to its customers, then its amount of repeat business will sharply decline.

This first moment of truth occurred when a consumer first encounters a product on a store shelf. They would use their senses to analyze the product and then decide whether or not to purchase it. Once they purchased it and brought it home, they would arrive at the second moment of truth which was determined when the consumer used the product and evaluated its effectiveness.

These two moments of truth would combine to form an opinion of the product, and therefore the brand, in the mind of the consumer. They would then use this opinion to judge whether or not they would continue to use the company’s products or not. With the rise of digital technology, these moments of truth no longer exist in this order.

How Consumers Find Companies Today
Although the first and second moments of truth are still more or less relevant, there is now a moment that occurs before either of those begins. It is what Google deemed the zero moment of truth. Instead of the first experience that a consumer has with a product being when they engage with it in a store, it now starts by looking at a screen.

Mobile Shopping on Phone

It is estimated that about 81% of all purchases begin with the consumer doing an online search, which is the zero moment of truth. This means that consumers are researching a product before the retailer even knows they are in the market for it, and they have to evaluate it on a picture and information alone. However, convincing a consumer to consider a product based off of only a picture and some basic information is only a small part of the challenge. The bigger struggle is getting the consumer to engage further with the product your company is offering.

When a consumer does an online search, they are using keywords to try and come up with the results that best relate to what they are interested in. The search engine results page is then presented to them with a list of different companies. If someone’s company is near the bottom of that first page of results, or on another page entirely, then it is very unlikely that it will be considered by the consumer. So even before a company has to worry about winning over the loyalty of a consumer, they have to worry about getting in front of a consumer.

How Consumers Decide Which Company to Choose
As previously mentioned, the end goal of a company is to get the consumer to form loyalty to their brand. A significant component of developing loyalty is being able to trust the company. If a consumer feels like they cannot trust a company in any way, then chances are that they will never have loyalty towards them.

Trust is something that exists on a multitude of levels, so much so that even most consumers do not fully understand how they decide whether or not to trust a company. When it comes to doing anything that is at all risky, such as deciding which company to give their business to, consumers tend to rely more on their intuition than anything else. This can make it tricky for companies to figure out how to best display their website, products, and overall company image.

That does not mean that all hope is lost when it comes to knowing how to develop trust between the company and its consumers. It just means that it will likely require a bit of trial and error. Companies should be putting effort into the obvious factors, such as website security certification and detailed return policies, but they should also be paying attention to less obvious factors as well.

While we have all been told as kids not to judge a book by its cover, that is exactly what many consumers are doing. They took a look at a company’s website for a few seconds and might read a couple of lines of text but are mostly just taking in the aesthetics of it before clicking away. So while having descriptive company and product information is important, the font type, background color, and images used tend to be even more critical.

The Consumerism Power Shift
A decade ago, companies had a much stronger influence over whether or not consumers bought their products and services. Simply plastering their name and image everywhere was usually enough to get a lot of sales. However, in the age of digital technology, that power dynamic has shifted, and it is now in the hands of consumers. Showing up with a decent product is no longer enough to win over the hearts of consumers.

Companies now have to be active about engaging with consumers and finding out what it is that they want to see in a company and product. They should then do their best to reflect those desires in their operations. Consumers are also becoming more able to assess whether or not a company cares about its customers or what it is doing. Therefore, a company cannot be trying to fake passion because consumers will see right through that.

Overcoming this may require making changes to a company’s staff, culture, and brand that can be reinforced by the majority of employees portraying passion around what they do. When an employee is miserable at their job, then it is bound to show up in the work they do. Once that work is put out into a product for consumers to see, they will be able to sense that lack of passion, and it will hurt a company’s chances of getting the sale. So in many ways, earning the business of consumers starts with developing a healthy workplace where employees are happy and have a passion for what they do.

The world of consumerism is an ever-changing one, and just like it has changed over the last decade, it will continue to do so in years to come. If you have questions or need help positioning your product or business, please contact Glint by emailing us at agency@glintadv.com or better yet, give us a call at 817-616-0320.