It can be argued that more than any other function within an enterprise Marketing has been impacted the most by the digital revolution. Marketers have benefited from many advantages such as the ability to make ad copy changes on the fly, access to many more channels for reaching customers, much better targeting and the ability to track results in detail and real time. Of course, there have also been disadvantages and new challenges as marketing has moved online.  Marketers are challenged to stay on top of constantly evolving technology and manage the ever growing number and diversity of communication and ad channels.

The good news is that an entire industry dedicated to helping digital marketers manage, automate and optimize campaigns has been created. There are many new tools to help digital marketers manage their online marketing campaigns and programs, but knowing which one is best for your company and the best time to implement a given tool for your company can be yet another challenge. If you are ready to automate your marketing process or take your marketing automation to the next level, read on.

Automate campaign execution

There are many elements that go into the creation of today’s digital campaign including ad channel, ad copy, budget, geo location, display media and campaign duration. Additionally, with the introduction of social media and content marketing, the definition of a marketing campaign has been broadened. With the ever growing list of campaign elements and channels to manage, the challenge faced by marketers today is how to streamline to ensure flawless execution with minimal resources.  There are a number of social marketing tools available to help schedule and post content on multiple sites simultaneously. Hootsuite and HubSpot are examples of this type of marketing automation tool.

Automate the capture and management of Opt-ins

Digital media has given marketers an increased number of paths available to connect with people who are interested in what they have to say. Marketers can now distribute content in various formats through a wide variety of channels, in addition to search, to connect with potential buyers. Once the connection is made, marketers must seize the opportunity and motivate the interested party to Opt-in.  Examples of tools that can help here include Wufoo and FormSweeper.

Automate lead consolidation

If you are successful at generating Opt-ins to build your list and generate leads, the next challenge becomes how to consolidate all of the Opt-ins into one database so that they can be effectively managed and nurtured and you can learn which sources are providing you with the best leads. Because there are so many marketing channels, tracking them with a single consolidated view is critical to a marketer’s success.  Whether your prospects Opt-in via website inquiry, phone call, social sites, articles, images, chat or other, it is important to be able to access them easily in one database.  Advanced lead management software or marketing automation software can streamline this.  ConversionSweeper and Salesforce would be two examples.

Automate lead quality and lead source tracking

Once you have your Opt-ins or list in an easy to access database, the next hurdle is to track, manage and nurture those leads. The most effective lead management systems track leads through each stage of their life cycle.  At a minimum this would be qualified, disqualified and buyer.  The lead status gives an indication of lead quality which also indicates the level of follow-up required.  Lead source is also a critical piece of information that should be captured for every lead. Knowing the source of your best and most profitable leads helps to focus your marketing efforts on activities that will lead to improved campaign performance and ROI. The lead source information available to you will depend on the type of lead channel.  Brand marketing provides limited lead source information. Leads generated through email or banner marketing campaigns provide more source information including campaign name and lead channel.  Leads generated from paid search ads provide the most detail including search term, ad copy, campaign and keyword. There are a number of lead management tools to help capture lead source and we are now seeing new tools that track both source and quality enter the market. These include Pardot, Marketo and ConversionSweeper.

Automation to optimize campaigns

Once lead source is captured, campaign performance can be measured by analyzing the number of qualified leads, sales win and disqualified lead.  Once you have this information you can even go a step further and measure campaign performance by lead quality value, revenue and marketing ROI.  With lead quality information, marketers can adjust their current campaign to optimize ad spending.  While the optimization process has been manual until now, this process can now be automated thanks to SEM integration support by Varazo, Inc.  The key here is that search marketing campaign bid management is based on lead quality score and cost per quality score.  ClickSweeper is an example of this type of tool.

In summary, digital marketing technology exists to enable marketers to automate part or all of the marketing process and optimize marketing return on investment.  There are many great tools to improve campaign performance and make the entire process more efficient. Check them out and find out what is right for your business.