Friday, June 5, 2015

Guiding the Buyers’ Journeys with Marketing Automation

by Dan Freeman 
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Few great journeys take place alone. Columbus had a crew, Jason had his Argonauts, Frodo had the Fellowship of the Ring – and your audience has you. You may not literally be present for every marketing decision, but with a properly designed marketing workflow that guides your buyers at pivotal points throughout their journey, you have an active role in the process. You’re steering the course of events without constantly telling your buyers what to do and where to go.

How do you guide decisions intelligently when you aren’t present in the boardroom while they’re being made? You tailor your marketing message to your audience and stay sensitive to your potential buyers’ behaviors, adjusting the type of content and the rate of information flow to match their needs. When you use personalized, responsive marketing, you’re able to anticipate how your prospect will handle those twists and turns in the road ahead and can prepare accordingly.


Giving your prospective buyers what they need to make key decisions along their marketing journey depends on knowing as much as possible about who they are. Accessible, actionable marketing segments let you address each individual within your global audience as personally as if you were having a face-to-face conversation.

If you were with them in the boardroom, you wouldn’t try to give clients in vastly different industries the same pitch; you’d do your research and shape your presentation to their needs. Marketing automation software can help you segment your customers and prospects by grouping those with common traits together. These segments can have any degree of granularity you choose, dividing current customers from prospective buyers, large firms from small businesses, and members of one industry from those in another.

A marketing automation system then lets you address each of these audience segments with personalized messages. You aren’t a random voice in the crowd telling an anonymous buyer to act now; you’re a knowledgeable guide who understands each potential buyer’s unique challenges. Just as important, marketing automation lets you offer custom-fit solutions that address those concerns precisely.

Responsive Marketing

Automation takes formerly static elements of your marketing campaigns and makes them dynamic. Instead of having a single image and the same lines of copy in every email you send, you’re able to deliver custom graphics and content that are more relevant. By capturing and synthesizing information from your web forms, preference pages and on-site behavior, you gain a clearer and more comprehensive picture of each prospect – a picture that’s essential to building a responsive marketing campaign around that individual buyer.

To illustrate how this rich data can be used to guide a prospect through the buyers’ journey, let’s look at what happens with two customers in the same industry but different budgets. For the first buyer, a software purchasing agent with a large firm, money isn’t an issue; she wants a product that offers plug-and-play utility with outstanding tech support. Your marketing team knows this because of her demographic, firmographic and behavioral data, and it adjusts your marketing campaign to her needs to focus on her concerns. Her journey takes her not through pricing gateways but through service-oriented ones.

Your second customer is just as keenly interested in your product line, but he’s an independent business owner with a limited budget. For the past few years, he’s worn many hats and is happy to wear another by upgrading on his own; add-ons and future capabilities are big selling points to him. He wants a product that can grow with him, but his primary concern is the initial expenditure. To respond to his needs and guide him along his buying journey, your marketing automation system delivers information about your product’s flexibility.

On-Site Targeting

Guiding your audience members on their individual buying journeys via email, a marketing channel you control completely, is one thing; but how do you continue to guide them online?

With a marketing automation feature known as real-time personalization, you can unmask, engage, and convert your anonymous visitors the moment they arrive on your site by delivering personalized content to each individual based on their behaviors, geography, referrer site, referrer terms, entry page or static attributes such their job title, industry, company size, and more.

Let’s go back to our service-conscious customer and our cost-conscious buyer for a moment. Marketing automation not only supplies tailor-made content in email marketing messages, but it also directs these buyers to custom landing pages. Your service-sensitive buyer sees a landing page that describes your 24/7 tech support and access to training courses, while your price-sensitive prospect finds copy directed at economy and future growth

Want to get more out of your marketing automation software or thinking about a purchase? Contact Us.

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