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Marketing departments have a unique relationship to the masses of data that any organization accumulates. While big data can provide big-picture insights for most departments, marketers also need access to granular data about individual leads, as that allows for more powerful personalized messaging.

Demographic data into who a lead is can guide a marketer in designing a campaign. However, as the lead moves down the funnel, behavioral data into how the lead interacts with that campaign is just as critical—if not more so—in determining the best way to close the deal.

To gain insights and take action, marketers turn to automation tools. 99% of all marketers at every size organization have used some form of automation, so the availability of the technology is not what separates everyday from exemplary marketing teams.

Finding the right mix of capabilities within an automation tool that maximizes individual insights with the ability to take action based on those insights is critical to maintaining a powerful, large-scale marketing strategy.


Setting a campaign up for success  

"American from Houston, Texas. Over 40 years old. Has 3 children. Owns a plane Appeared in a film alongside Danny Glover." All of these data points apply equally to Dennis Quaid and Beyoncé Knowles, but marketing to both of those individuals using the exact same tactics would probably be a mistake.

Profile the people

Every individual is a complex interplay of personal demographics, some of which are more obviously helpful than others. The best marketing automation tools help marketers determine how specific demographic combinations impact the effectiveness of their messaging, making it easier to determine which strategies are most likely to succeed.

For example, armed with the information that people tend to prefer giving information to chatbots over filling in forms, marketing teams can build a simple chatbot, then monitor all channel interactions from a single dashboard to judge the efficacy of that one touchpoint versus another.

Build the plan 

These aggregated analytics into individual actions--viewable in real time, as the leads move through the funnel--should likewise be flexible enough to provide insights into cross-sections of demographics. How is engagement among men who appeared in films alongside Martin Short versus women who appeared in films alongside Mike Myers?

Marketing automation tools allow planning for multi-touch, multi-channel campaigns and general reporting of conversions and ROI. What sets excellent marketing automation apart is an immediate, detailed insight into the lead's receptiveness to one customer journey blueprint or outreach channel versus another.


Monitoring and adjusting to ensure success  

Automation tools reduce workload by centralizing the creation and distribution of every individual element--from promotional emails to discount code text messages to social media posts--within a single platform. They also optimize the workforce by making every action viewable by every stakeholder within that same platform.

Measure the effectiveness

Here marketing automation tools offer insights to something more than the performance of an Instagram post or an entire multichannel campaign: the efforts and effectiveness of the marketers themselves becomes plain.

For about half of organizations--where marketing teams are not answerable to specific KPIs and cannot report on the ROI of what they produce--implementing a marketing automation tool that offers actionable insights should be a top priority.

This will require reporting and interfaces that are customizable according to the internal stakeholder, an essential function when stakeholder engagement makes or breaks a new tool's implementation.

Customize the reports 

Much like lead segmentation by demographic data, the process of qualifying and scoring leads is not one-size-fits-all. Marketers should leverage the engagement insight from their automation tools so they can choose the most effective touchpoints, then maximize the effectiveness of each touchpoint.

Whereas some organizations will want a complex scoring rubric to be applied to every contact as they move across multiple touchpoints, others will prefer a simpler, binary lead qualification process that passes leads to sales only after a particular action is completed. Teams ought to be able to take whatever approach they have found to be effective--even on a campaign-by-campaign basis.

Seeing into the effectiveness of every touchpoint in their marketing ecosystem helps the team to do better than copy-paste one campaign schedule to the next. Iterating and testing variations improves engagement levels on an ongoing and ever-improving basis.

The predictable pattern of development, deployment, monitoring, revision, and redeployment is made that much easier by the ability to centralize every piece of content going out.


Doing it all over again (but better)  

Campaign management and lead journey blueprint features within marketing automation tools simplify the process of running and repeating outreach, but the analytics available as soon as a campaign starts shrink the excuses for a "set it and forget it" strategy.

Aggregating all engagements from across touchpoints provides one necessary kind of insight. Tracking the speed of a lead through the funnel provides another. Comparing the two metrics in a central dashboard provides yet another--evaluating the efficacy of an entire marketing strategy.

Prioritize the investment 

Seeing the engagement of one ad placement versus another will improve ad spend, but the "Investment" at the end of ROI refers to more than cash. Though marketing automation can reduce the overall effort necessary for developing a campaign, individual elements require significantly different investments of time. Building a case study takes much more time than drafting a social post.

Armed with continuously updated data on which touchpoints are most effective, marketers can strategize about where they should prioritize their efforts in the future, whether that is a year out or two steps ahead in the current campaign.

In some instances, the most valuable pivot a marketer can make is cutting a lead loose. Setting exit triggers to eliminate individual leads who are not meaningfully engaging creates space for marketers to refocus their efforts. Leads most likely to convert get the most attention, and when they qualify for the CRM, the marketing team is once again freed up to nurture the next set of leads.

Maintain the investment 

Marketers can continue to provide value after the lead becomes a customer by using data from the organization CRM to continue that nurturing process. As new products become available, marketers can increase cross-sell and upsell by identifying individuals who might be interested, then target them with an automated campaign.

These forward-thinking implementations of marketing automation--in part because they standardize the constant review and revision of approaches to individual audiences and individuals--help future-proof marketing efforts and improve leads' interactions with a brand.


Zoho offers a suite of intelligent enterprise business software, including an award-winning CRM suite, the industry's only comprehensive analytics and BI platform, and a powerful low-code development ecosystem.