In our Marketing Cloud blog series, we’ve discussed two of the five W’s (Why and the Who) of marketing technology. Today we’re going to answer the question:
What capabilities do I need in a marketing cloud?
In response to the evolving role of marketing, a growing trend in the industry has led to the emergence of marketing clouds that cover a number of categories and a wide variety of capabilities. While some of the “nice to have” features are an added plus, many of them may be a lower priority in building your organization’s marketing technology stack depending on where your company falls on the marketing maturity model. On the next leg of our marketing cloud journey, one of the most important questions you need to understand and answer is, “What trends are driving the adoption of marketing technology platforms and what are my key business priorities as a marketer?”
5 Must-Have Features in a B2B Marketing Automation Platform
- Customer Journey Mapping – Understanding the customer journey for your brand is not only important from a requirements perspective when selecting a marketing cloud that fits your future goals and business objectives, but this common practice will also play a critical role in helping you to visualize and map every interaction so you can capitalize on every opportunity to engage across the entire customer lifecycle. We’ve often had entire experience design projects helping a customer to simply understand how customers interact with their brand in order to define a 1:1 customer journey across channels and devices. Having this build-in functionality within your marketing cloud can put you in the driver’s seat with that process and improve the customer experience.
- Campaign Execution & Lead Management – Marketers continue to be measured on the level of customer engagement and the ability to grow the pipeline for their business. To do that, teams need a centralized way to create, deliver and manage marketing campaigns. Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to not only engage with your audience but to convert them into potential buyers of your brands’ products or services. Having a robust email marketing platform helps marketers to not only produce dynamic campaigns, but analyze campaign performance all in one place. Most importantly, once a lead comes in how it’s scored, assigned and tracked is one of the most critical steps in the marketing process.
- 1:1 Personalization – Behavioral targeting and delivering personalized content are two of the most important tactics marketers can employ in order to win and retain customers in the “Age of the Customer”. To become customer-obsessed, marketers can leverage behavioral data with marketing automation tools to deliver laser focused content in real time to boost conversions and deliver more marketing qualified leads for your business.
- Business Integration – Integration is key to success with a marketing cloud! Often times, marketing functions and platforms are siloed. In order to be able to measure overall performance, these functions and systems must be tightly integrated in order to show the hand-off between marketing and sales. Secondly, in order to meet the growing demands of the connected consumer in an omni-channel, always-on world it is critical for marketers to have the ability to manage things like social media listening, digital advertising, mobile and email marketing, and customer data all in one place.
- Marketing Analytics & Sales Intelligence – Marketing has quickly become the most data-driven function within a business. Analytics around a variety of different marketing functions, including: campaign results, web activity, customer behaviors, and content performance can help marketers demonstrate business value and focus on the metrics that matter to their business. A technology revolution has also transpired as a result of the Sales 2.0 movement fusing data, processes, and sales efforts to improve productivity and optimize results. The market demand for integrated CRM and sales intelligence data has prompted many of the leading solution providers to turn to predictive analytics vendors, like Salesforce and Microsoft’s backing of InsideSales.com startup, to capitalize on the opportunity at hand to create a deeper integration between sales and marketing technology platforms for a competitive advantage.
How would you rank these five marketing cloud ‘must-have’s’? Do they align with your organization’s top marketing objectives for 2015?