Marketing Automation: Your Content Marketing Strategy’s Powerful Partner

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By Brenda Caine, Content Strategist, Content4Demand

All the marketing automation in the world won’t achieve squat without quality content.

MA software allows us to deploy campaigns that deliver content based on individual behavior and measure our results. When it’s integrated with our CRM systems, we can follow those prospects through the sales pipeline and measure marketing’s contribution to revenue. (And we all know that if we don’t show how our efforts impact the bottom line, we probably won’t be around long.)

Leading B2B companies that know how to optimize MA are seeing some impressive numbers, according to Smart Insights:

The truth is that most companies aren’t getting the full potential from their MA platforms. There are lots of reasons why, including the marketing team not knowing how to take full advantage of the MA tool’s features or not having the technical expertise to set up and track correctly.

But beyond the technology, there’s a much bigger problem. The most feature-rich, most powerful MA solution won’t do you any good without sound strategy and strong content.

If you’re evaluating marketing automation for your business, there are three components to get right:

  • Choose the right MA tool for your business needs.

    Are you just starting out in MA? Choose an easy-to-use solution that offers basic features and an intuitive interface. Your marketing team should be able to start using it effectively without a week of intensive training or certification. Of course, it needs to be affordable.

    If you’re a large enterprise, you’re going to need more features that integrate MA into the rest of your marketing and sales technology stack, and you’ll probably need robust analytics and reporting capabilities.

    G2 Crowd’s handy comparison chart can help you assess some of the most popular MA tools.

  • Make sure you have the technical expertise to implement and manage your MA software effectively.

    The old computer-science adage “garbage in, garbage out” applies well here. You can’t adopt a MA system and expect it to run itself. You need someone on your team who knows how to build lists based on segmentation criteria and can integrate your MA tool with your CRM or other third-party applications (e.g., a webinar platform). If you use a more basic tool, there’s less to learn — but you still need to take the time to understand the system you’re using.

    With a more robust enterprise solution, you’ll need a marketing automation manager certified in that solution — someone who can dive into the back end and make sure everything is set up and working properly. If all the t’s aren’t crossed and i’s dotted, you may end up with a broken nurture campaign or leads that never get tracked through to closed deals, which means you can’t take credit for your brilliant work.

  • Build strategic content marketing programs based on research and a rich asset library.

    As I said at the beginning, the best MA tool in the world won’t do you any good without solid content to deliver. Don’t fall into the trap that you don’t need the same level of expertise on the content side as you do on the technical side. If you don’t have the expertise in house to build a quality content marketing program, don’t expect good results.

    Build content marketing campaigns that match your content to your prospect. You need to flesh out each persona and understand its pain points. You need messaging that addresses those pain points effectively. You need engaging copy with compelling graphics. You need to make sure you choose the right content format for the buyer’s journey stage. This is too important not to execute flawlessly; consider partnering with content marketing experts who can help you knock it out of the park.

Don’t think technology alone can make your content marketing successful. Content always comes first. MA software is simply the vehicle for delivering and tracking it — the machine that powers your content. Keep this in mind, and you’ll be on your way to marketing glory.

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For more information about the role Marketing Automation plays in attracting, engaging and converting B2B buyers, click here to download the latest white paper from Demand Gen Report, “Busting Common Myths of Marketing Automation.”


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Brenda Caine is a content strategist for Content4Demand. She enjoys the challenge of developing effective content marketing strategy for B2B clients as well as writing content. She fell into marketing for technology companies by accident when she landed a temporary job for a data backup company in San Diego at age 24, deciding to make it a full-time career when the opportunity arose. When she’s not immersed in technology, you can find her dancing in the ballet studio, lifting weights at the gym or strolling down the avenue in a 1930s dress with a smart hat to match. 

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