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How to Fuel Your B2B Online Advertising with Marketing Automation: Part 1

Preparing for the Long Haul: Kick Off Your Strategy with a Thoughtful Plan

Christina Sapienza, Online Marketing Manager at salesforce.com, shares her experiences using marketing automation to fuel online advertising campaigns in this three-part series.

It’s no secret that online advertising campaigns play a critical role in fueling the sales cycle for B2B companies. Now some of the smartest advertisers are finding ways to leverage tools like marketing automation to maximize every dollar that they spend online. By integrating all online channels into your marketing automation system, you can improve the quality of your lead generation efforts and gain a more holistic visibility into all efforts.

Let’s jump into how you can take direction from concrete data-driven insights to get the right message to the right audience online.

Use Everything at Your Fingertips to Make Smarter Decisions

Take stock of all the online channels that your organization is running and sync them with your marketing automation tool:

  • SEM (paid search)
  • Display & retargeting
  • Social media
  • SEO/Website
  • Email marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Webinars/online events

This will give your team the ability to view how all efforts are performing and make quick game-time decisions. Allow the real-time insights from your marketing automation lead information to guide your online advertising strategy, and then accurately measure the lead quality that flows in. We use this to get closed-loop ROI to track revenue back to individual online channels and use in future optimizations. Be sure to track each asset (i.e. whitepaper vs. infographic) and channel (SEM vs. display) at a granular level for more precise optimizations.

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As you’re building out campaign themes across online and other marketing avenues, streamline all available digital assets to get that true cross-channel integration. Your audience is (hopefully!) going to take multiple actions throughout their path to a sale, so account for each individual conversion event with marketing automation scoring and grading as well as later with campaign optimizations.

Listen to Your Audience

As you’re mapping out your online marketing strategy, use your marketing automation tool as a data source to develop targeted marketing campaigns based on customer profile and activity history. Determine which profile segments are interacting with which online assets, and which are the most effective channels and tactics for each. We find that this gets us an appropriate mix of marketing touchpoints for each audience profile, and avoids prospects becoming frustrated with generic messaging (which we definitely don’t want!). Your data-driven insights will get the right message to the right audience — if you listen to them. 

Always Be Selling…to the Right Prospects, of Course

It’s hard to admit, but B2B marketers have a more limited audience to reach than B2C, so we’re always trying to make the most of prospects we have at our disposal.  Glean real-time learnings about quality prospects and use marketing automation data to generate lists to use in hyper-targeted online efforts based on specific actions taken.

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Uncover new opportunities from within your marketing automation tool to reach a wider prospect pool. You can use audience learnings from cross-channel performance in your marketing automation tool to determine the best marketing mix for your products or services. Then you’re ready to eliminate waste by focusing resources on the best leads – if you find a particular type of lead can be converted more easily into an opportunity, then it should be assigned a different goal. Tools like marketing automation allow marketers to leverage lead scoring and grading to prioritize leads for each marketing tactic. Each channel is unique and lead follow-up should be customized depending on the lead source, further enabling sales to have powerful conversations with prospects.

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Want more information on online advertising and marketing automation? Stay tuned for the next post in my series, which will focus on digging deeper and really getting your hands dirty with specific online campaigns.

Have questions? Leave them in the comments!