Why marketing automation is important for every business – including yours

Why marketing automation is important for every business – including yours

Many companies know the term “marketing automation”. But what, exactly, is it? 

In short, marketing automation is this: the digital tools that make marketing simpler and more effective. 

At a broader level, marketing automation refers to the software that makes every part of a marketing campaign – such as emails, social media, blog posts, web pages and more –easier, more effective and less time-consuming to produce. In other words, marketing automation software lets companies easily create strategic, creative campaigns that get real results. 

The role of customer centricity 

In business today, customer expectations are higher than ever. Buyers expect consistent, one-on-one cross-channel journeys and a connected, cohesive customer experience. One of the main purposes of marketing automation is to help companies get this right with every customer, every time. In other words, by delivering the right content, at the right time, to the right people. 

Does your company need marketing automation? 

Industry leaders in nearly every vertical use marketing automation to help drive their businesses forward, connect with their customers, and boost brand loyalty. But does every business need it? Here are some of the benefits:  

  • Improved productivity. Marketing automation means your marketing team no longer needs to perform repetitive, mundane tasks. Instead, they can spend more of their time coming up with strategies to move your business forward creatively. 
  • Personalisation. At the click of a button, you can create a tailored and unique experience for every customer, whether you speak to hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of people. With automatic data ingestion from every area of your business, you can enable comprehensive insights into each customer automatically, and speak clearly to their specific wants and needs. 
  • Simplified multi-channel management. Marketing automation helps you keep track of every campaign and every marketing channel from one single hub. 
  • A consistent experience. Marketing automation helps unify all your marketing campaigns, so you can ensure that every customer receives a consistent, on-brand experience.  
  • Better ROI. By targeting customers more effectively, your marketing spend has the potential to yield greater results for every rand spent. 

Should you give marketing automation a try? 

Here’s a quick set of questions to answer about your business.  

  • Can you take a list of customers and easily assess their fit and likelihood to buy? 
  • Can you identify, track and engage individual buyers online? 
  • Are you able to comb through sales leads based on interest and engagement? 
  • Can you measure the specific revenue contribution of every marketing campaign you run?

If the answer to any of these questions is no – or you find your marketing teams spending excess time getting the answers to these questions – marketing automation could be the answer you’re looking for. 

Want to find out more? Chat to us about Dynamics 365 Marketing. Packed with tons of new features and capabilities, it’s the leading tool for driving effective, streamlined marketing campaigns in any industry. 

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8 key benefits of marketing automation

8 key benefits of marketing automation

8 key benefits of marketing automation 

In a nutshell, marketing automation refers to all the digital tools that help marketers reach customers more efficiently, effectively and scalably. But what are the real differences between business that use marketing automation and those that don’t? We broke it down.

 

  1. Lower staff costs

Marketing automation means fewer people can effectively do the work of more. How? By helping marketers to be more efficient. The reason: with marketing automation software, almost no time is spent on repetitive “busy work” such as manually creating emails or responding to certain triggers. Imagine a world in which one employee has the same output and effectiveness as a team of 25.

 

  1. Faster, more effective targeting across multiple channels

One of the most powerful benefits that marketing automation offers marketers is the ability to reach customers in a personalised way – both online and offline – at scale.

Whether via phone, text, push notification, email and more, marketing automation makes it easy to deliver targeted messages to your customers at the right time, with zero hassle.

Without marketing automation, running targeted, multi-channel campaigns at scale is almost impossible.

 

  1. Continual A/B campaign testing

There’s only so much time in a day. That’s why, traditionally, marketers test assets such as emails and landing pages only a handful of times before deploying them – and then leave it at that.

Marketing automation tools change everything. Suddenly, you can easily run ongoing A/B tests. That means constant feedback on performance and the ability to constantly iterate, change, and tweak, for optimal performance.

 

  1. Accurate reporting end to end

When using fragmented tools and platforms, reporting on marketing campaigns’ effectiveness can be time consuming and error-prone.

With marketing automation software, everything is simplified – summarised in a single place, no matter the channel. Suddenly, insights are available at a snap of the fingers.

Better yet, marketing automation platforms provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire marketing process.  That helps reveal areas of drop off and complication easily, so you can fix problem spots quickly.

 

  1. Intelligent segmentation and a 360-degree view

Do you know who your customers are? Do you fully understand their wants, needs and desires?

The best marketing automation tools use clever analytics and AI to break down your customers more granularly than would ever be possible otherwise. No matter how many customers you have, you can understand each of them individually, to provide them with the most effective, tailored messaging possible.

 

  1. Better data management

When your business has thousands or tens of thousands of leads, keeping track of engagements can be a daunting task. Marketing automation simplifies and streamlines the process, so that no interaction data is ever wasted, lost, or unaccounted for.

 

  1. Scalable processes and a platform for growth

As your company expands, your marketing activities need to keep pace. Manual processes are difficult to scale. But automated processes scale instantly to fit as many customers and leads as they need to.

 

  1. Better lead nurturing

Sales take time and leads need nurturing. With marketing automation software, you can track campaigns’ effectiveness and respond to your prospective customers’ needs effectively at every stage of the buying journey.

 

In short, marketing automation makes marketing more effective, more reactive, more proactive, more scalable and more personalised. It frees up marketers’ time, so they can focus more on creative, ambitious ways of moving business forward. Finally, it primes companies for growth, as scaling is instant and automatic. No lags and no delays.

All this and more is possible with Dynamics 365 Marketing. Want to learn more?
Chat to us today to learn how to put these new features to work in your business. 

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Drive personalized interactions with real-time customer journey orchestration

Drive personalized interactions with real-time customer journey orchestration

Faced with a historic level of social and business disruption, companies have been forced to respond quickly and strategically to meet the challenge. To help address this challenge, and elevate customer experiences, we are introducing real-time customer journey orchestration capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing.

 

Elevate customer experiences

Connecting with people has never been more important, and customer expectations have never been higher. Customer tolerance for disjointed experiences, or even worse, tone-deaf communications is unacceptable. Organizations that deliver better end-to-end customer experiences (CX) are taking share. Despite a decade of discussion about the importance of CX, many companies have failed to elevate their experiences to the level desired.

Beyond the human value of great experiences, elevated experiences are critical to driving business value—enabling growth and driving brand equity, preventing churn, and enabling higher marketing and customer engagement return on investment.

Dynamics 365 Marketing is working to revolutionize how organizations address these challenges to enable teams such as marketing, sales, customer success, commerce, or customer service to create engaging and impactful customer-led experiences.

We are announcing real-time customer journey orchestration capabilities in Dynamics 365 Marketing will be released for preview as part of the April 2021 release wave 1 updates in Europe and North America. This landmark innovation brings together the worlds of customer experience and marketing automation and is designed to help businesses:

  • Engage customers in real-time
  • Win customers and earn loyalty faster
  • Personalize customer experiences with AI
  • Build customer trust with a unified, adaptable platform

Plus, commercial Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 customers will get six months of free access to Dynamics 365 Marketing at no additional cost. We’ll have more details on this offer to share soon, along with eligibility details, and we are excited to see you reap the benefits of these solutions together.

 

Moving from segment-based marketing to real-time interactions

Customer journey orchestration helps you make the next great leap in customer experiences: from segment-based marketing campaigns to moments-based interactions, creating a personalized, holistic customer journey for each individual. This enables you to strengthen your relationships at every touchpoint across both digital and physical, breaking down walls between marketing, sales, commerce, and service organizations. Dynamics 365 Marketing responds to customer actions during the journey.

Win customers and earn loyalty

In the highly competitive technology market, HP’s brand is built on its high-quality products and differentiated service. Loyalty is critical to enabling business performance (Customer Lifetime Value, Gross Margin, etc.) and every support call is an opportunity. HP is working to turn support interactions into personalized engagement moments using Dynamics 365 Marketing with customer journey orchestration. This will allow HP to break down longstanding data silos, better engage customers in real-time with the most impactful messaging, and leverage AI-driven recommendations.

logo, icon “With customer journey orchestration in Dynamics 365 Marketing, our agents will gain a real-time 360-degree view of each customer and their support experience,” explains Brian Johnston, Business Architect, HP. “We’ll be making the most of our customers’ time and treating them with empathy and understanding. It makes HP feel real to the customer, and it makes the customer feel real to HP”

The result will be an enhanced and highly-personalized customer service experience that improves quality of service, builds customer lifetime loyalty, and also saves the company money by shortening the time spent solving problems.

 

Personalize customer experiences with AI to enable more engaging content

Authoring impactful content quickly and easily is a big challenge. With built-in AI recommendations for content, channels, customer segmentation, and analytics, companies can be sure to deliver the right message. The reimagined email editor helps select and deliver the best image, video, document, or fragment using AI. A new centralized asset library allows you to search, version, manage and use AI to tag your digital assets.

Journey authoring is also assisted by AI with targeted customer segments, channel optimization, and experimentation. As customers engage, the customer journey adapts and responds to interactions with relevant content driving further engagement.

We’re engineering AI throughout Dynamics 365 Marketing to help you create engaging and impactful messages faster. Powerful experimentation capabilities and analytics track progress towards your business objectives, helping you to exceed business goals.

Campari raises the bar for delivering customer experiences

The Campari Group, home to some of the world’s iconic alcoholic spirit brands, knows how to create great brand experiences and is always working to deepen its relationships with customers. To gain a 360-degree customer view and enhance the personalization of its marketing, sales, and customer service efforts, Campari Group deployed Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Marketing. With AI-driven recommendations and customer journey orchestration, Campari Group can now personalize real-time marketing messages for maximum impact across all customer touchpoints.

a sign lit up at night

“Customer journey orchestration enables contextually relevant and consistent real-time conversations with every customer across all interaction points,” explains Chad Niemuth, Vice President, Global IT – Marketing and Sales. “We can more precisely align marketing messages for each communication channel to gain the greatest impact. We see the effects in in-store sales and also in e-commerce, which is particularly important during COVID.”

Within weeks, Campari Group connected all the data points in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and deployed its first email marketing automation campaign against those segments in the United States. Roll-out in the United Kingdom and Australia followed shortly.

Stronger connections with Microsoft Teams

The dramatic shift to online meetings and virtual events has made it even more important for event managers to easily use Teams and Dynamics 365 Marketing.

At Microsoft Ignite, we announced new and updated features that enable you to run rich webinars and events, true to your brand with a professional experience for attendees. We also announced the ability of Teams to easily follow up with event attendees with Dynamics 365 Marketing. This allows you to continue connecting with attendees, nurturing them into loyal customers.

Turn insights into action

Microsoft’s customer data platform, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, makes it easy to unify customer data, identify high-value customer segments, or those likely to churn. When you combine it with Dynamics 365 Marketing, you can engage customers in a personalized way and in real-time to drive meaningful actions. Seamlessly use segments from Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to target marketing campaigns. Personalize content with rich profile information, and create individual journeys based on customer history and preferences. With the addition of Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, you build custom AI models and improve relevancy with advanced segmentation and targeting that can then be brought to life with Dynamics 365 Marketing.

Learning customers’ preferences and sentiment is critical to personalizing engagement. Today, we are also announcing real-time survey capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Voice that enable you to adapt customer journeys or trigger relevant communications. For example, if a customer is not satisfied with a specific product feature or service, the response can quickly stop marketing campaigns while also notifying an account manager for personalized follow-up.

Together, these connected applications help companies personalize moments that matter across all touchpoints in a customer’s journey and build deeper customer relationships with more meaningful engagement across both digital and physical channels.

 

Agencies bring customer-first approach to journey creation

Developing highly impactful and personalized experiences across the customer journey requires a fresh approach. We are excited to be working with a number of leading agencies that have expertise in transforming customer experiences to deliver stronger connections to leading brands and measurable business impact.

VMLY&R logo

“VMLY&R is excited to partner with Microsoft, helping empower organizations to reimagine and transform customer experiences. Harnessing the power of AI, data, and insights to create connected customer and brand experiences have never been more important. We look forward to collaborating with Microsoft and the Dynamics 365 team to deliver amazing customer experiences for organizations around the world,” says David Mitchell, Chief Technology Officer, VMLY&R.

Agencies such as VMLY&R (a WPP company) and Kin + Carta use creativity, technology, and culture to create experiences that engage customers one-on-one across every touchpoint from marketing through service, across both digital and physical experiences.

logo

“As people have more and more ways to interact with brands, it’s never been more vital to deliver a consistent, seamless experience for customers and to look towards the future to find innovative ways to meet their needs,” says Rob McGowan, Managing Director of Edit, part of the Kin+Carta connective. “It’s this challenge that we believe the new customer journey orchestration features in Dynamics 365 Marketing are ideally placed to answer.”

Learn more and get started

To learn more about how your organization can elevate your customer experiences, visit the Dynamics 365 Marketing webpage and contact us to explore all capabilities in Dynamics 365 Marketing.

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A partnership to empower marketing for a brilliant customer experience

A partnership to empower marketing for a brilliant customer experience

The CRM Team and Simple join forces!

Empowering marketing, to deliver a brilliant customer experience

London and South Africa, March 04, 2021: The CRM Team, expert implementers of world-leading customer engagement technology, and Simple MRM Ltd, enablers of result-driven marketing and customer experience, announce a favourable partnership.

The alliance is a natural fit between two Microsoft partners focused on transforming the customer experience through technology. Properly coordinated sales and marketing improves engagement and advocacy with a brand, ultimately increasing the lifetime value of the customer.

The CRM Team brings together tons of customer data with AI in Microsoft Dynamics 365, to create a single customer record, providing sales, marketing and service teams with unique insights to take action, automate repetitive processes and engage customers like never before. As experts in project and change management, the team deliver fastest time to value for customers investing in Microsoft technologies.

Simple empowers teams further as the command centre for managing marketing resources, delegating jobs at pace to build campaigns that wow customers, with content that’s brand compliant, consistent and approved by business leaders. This governed material is readily available to the wider team to strengthen all customer engagements, increase productivity and unleash more effective marketing.  

Our partnership with Simple is designed with our customers’ marketing teams in mind. We consistently heard of specific challenges that marketing teams face, and these were only made worse during the pandemic. The solution from Simple helps us address these challenges. And the insight, expertise and engagement model provided by Nick and his team will ensure that we can instantly transform how marketing teams collaborate, innovate and adapt.”

Paul Slade, CEO- The CRM Team

Simple is your command centre for managing marketing resources, budgets, assets, campaigns and customer experiences. As a single central tool for directing marketing operations, Simple lets you focus on creating brilliant marketing and customer experiences.

 

“Simple is built on Microsoft to empower all things marketing, but the enterprise solution has wide-reaching benefits across all departments, giving stakeholder visibility and enabling marketing, sales and service teams alike. The CRM Team are the perfect partner to support customers in delivering their targeted business outcomes through leveraging technology, to jointly transform business operations.” 

Aden Forrest, CEO – Simple MRM Ltd

Deliver a brilliant customer experience!

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Marketing Automation is What Your Business Needs, Right Now

Marketing Automation is What Your Business Needs, Right Now

 

Marketing Automation is What Your Business Needs – Right Now

 

$25 billion! If you are not part of this spend chances are your competition is! An April 2018 report from global research agency Forrester concluded:

‘As digital marketing complexity increases, more marketers are embracing automation tools to improve efficiency and speed to market. In our first Marketing Automation Technology Forecast … we expect global spending on marketing automation tools to surpass $25 billion by 2023, implying a 14% annual growth rate.’1

Personalisation, reactivity, relevance: words like these get thrown around a lot in marketing today. The reason: giants like Google, Facebook, YouTube and Amazon are changing what customers – including yours – are coming to expect from their daily digital experiences. Gone is the one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. In its place: relevance and reactivity – with a high degree of personalisation.

The Forrester report highlighted:

  1. Spending on marketing technology is increasing – 55% of global marketers planning to increase their expenditure on marketing technology in 2019.
  2. Personalisation enhances customer experience. More than that, it is now the norm:

‘Customers reward firms for personal, relevant, and value-added individualized experiences. As personalisation becomes the standard, consumers now expect this level of engagement across channels and digital touchpoints. Marketing automation technologies can help marketers scale their personalisation efforts.’

Slick, speedy, insightful and intelligent, top-tier marketing automation tools are remaking how marketers both reach and talk to their customers.

 

What is marketing automation exactly?

At base, marketing automation is a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that allows companies to run massive marketing campaigns with ease. No mess. No fuss. No unnecessary admin. More than that, marketing automation means companies can track and nurture leads at the touch of a button, sync customer information into a centralized hub and reach prospects in new, tailored, automated ways.   In a nutshell: gone are manual processes. Ditto for misaligned marketing and sales goals. In their place is a single solution that handles all elements of the marketing process, leaving marketers free to focus on the creative and relationship-based elements of their roles, not the admin burdens.

What can I do with a marketing automation tool?

It’s all about accuracy and ease. Marketing automation covers:

  • Social marketing
  • Landing page creation
  • Campaign management
  • Prediction and scoring
  • Lead management
  • Social marketing
  • Email marketing

More specifically, marketing automation is about:

  • Reaching out to prospects – With automated, customized messages across email, web, social media, and text.
  • Qualifying leads – Understanding where customers are in the purchase journey, and providing relevant information.
  • Suggesting the right products at the right time – By storing purchase histories, customer information and methods of contact, marketing automation means customers receive relevant suggestions – not the same old shot-in-the-dark product recommendations.
  • Information sharing between marketing and sales – By sharing insights gathered during the marketing process with sales teams, the entire organization becomes more reactive, responsive and attuned to customers’ needs.
  • Running multichannel marketing campaigns with ease – Marketing automation allows organisations to set up orchestrated email marketing, web landing pages, webinars, phone calls, events and more.
  • Leveraging the power of social media – More and more of our time is spent on social media channels. Marketing automation helps companies not only build up a robust social presence, but source new leads, and engage meaningfully with prospects.
  • Hand over sales-ready leads – Marketing automation allows companies to identify which leads are ready for sales engagement, with lead scoring and sales readiness grades.

Customer journeys are the sum of individual personalized experiences with a brand. With marketing automation, companies can tailor every interaction based on customer data to create resonant, seamless journeys through every brand touchpoint.

Upping the upside

The benefits of marketing automation are many, but here’s a snapshot:

  • The ability to both automate and streamline the segmentation process to find the right audiences rapidly and at scale.
  • Messaging and landing pages are tailored automatically using customer profiles.
  • Creating relevant and personalised experiences becomes possible, with a few simple clicks.

A great marketing automation tool’s other great feature is what it lets marketers know about campaign performance. Integrated analytics allows companies unprecedented insight into how their campaigns are performing. Meaning ROI is never murky, and the result of campaign spending is always crystal clear.

The sum-up

With marketing automation, companies can effectively and meaningfully connect with customers through their purchasing journey, no matter how far along they are, be it acquisition or advocacy.   Providing great, relevant content to customers in the way they prefer not only drives sales, but helps turn prospects to brand advocates.

Best of all, it’s automated. And happens in a snap.

Do you want to learn more about marketing automation? Read what our marketing automation solution offers you.

References 

1 https://go.forrester.com/blogs/global-marketing-automation-spending-will-reach-25-billion-by-2023/

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Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

The sales and marketing funnel is all about conversion. Curious prospective buyers enter at the top and happy customers exit at the bottom.

But what happens when your funnel looks more like a sieve?

By certain estimates, as many as 8 out of 10 marketing leads fail to convert. Other stats focus on buyers’ readiness. By some calculations, only half of the leads are ready to buy.

However, by simply implementing a few intelligent, tried-and-trusted tools and techniques, it’s possible to:

  • Convert more leads
  • Source higher-quality leads
  • Significantly shorten the sales cycle
  • Boost revenue

Which is exactly what today’s leading companies are doing with nurture campaigns.

 

From generic to genius

It’s the age of the individual. Today’s customers won’t settle for generic content and messaging. They want to be met on their own terms. They want to know their custom is valued. They want to be treated as an individual. To have their unique tastes and preferences catered to.

More than this, they want to feel that the company whose products or services they’re buying is engaged and aware of how they want to be treated.

It’s a reciprocal relationship. And it’s the foundation of long-term business and repeat customers.  

Building that kind of relationship takes time. It involves creating awareness. It centres on emphasising knowledge and expertise. It hinges on openness to answering questions and dispelling lingering doubts. Finally, it’s about onboarding new, quality customers likely to buy again and again.

 

Why you need to nurture – hint: it’s about connection

Every day, each of us is swamped with messages from companies trying to catch our attention.

Hey you, buy this!

What about you, sir? Madam? Look at this amazing product!

How can you imagine life without Product X? Product X will change everything!

What happens when we’re exposed to something over and over? Our brains begin to screen it out, so we can focus on other (more important) things.

Think about the way you stop noticing the background noise in a restaurant, so you can listen to the conversation at your own table. Or the way you forget about your breathing – until someone reminds you about it, that is.

Here’s the thing: every day, consumers are subject to the same marketing background noise. And after a while, it’s all the same, over and over, so people just filter it out.

 

From Noise to ‘Notice Me!’

Is there a way to craft a message that’s listened to? To be the single voice customers hear above the marketing noise?

The answer simple. Yes.

How?

  1. Have a great product or service
  2. Connect meaningfully – and personally – with prospects.

Enter the nurture campaign.

It’s a journey, not a pit stop

Unlike regular, once-off marketing campaigns, nurture campaigns are repeated exposures to your company and its products/services.

From establishing thought leadership to introducing positioning, the aim of a nurture campaign is to help a prospect evolve from an explorer or discoverer of company and its capabilities to a decider and finally – a buyer.

The best lead nurturing campaigns ensure that as many qualified prospects as possible end up as buyers.

How? By keeping prospective customers interested and engaged. By avoiding information overload. By making sure marketing messages are highly personalised – tailored not only to who the prospect is, but where they are in their buying journey.

 

How the right CRM system helps companies build amazing nurture campaigns

It all starts with prospecting and the lead. From there, it’s about qualifying and – when a buyer begins to get warm – accelerating their journey. Email and content marketing are the cornerstones, but keeping it personal is the key. Moreover, focusing efforts where they’ll yield the most returns – with intelligent lead scoring – is what it’s all about. Then there’s getting the timing just perfect – approaching prospects at a time that they’re most receptive.

The key to unlocking these capabilities is using the right technology. Managing an effective lead nurturing programme – on a massive scale – requires the right data and the right systems. Automation is critical. As is intelligence.

Dynamics 365 delivers all this and more. Find about more by seeing how our marketing solutions enable incredible, personalised lead nurturing.

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