Adopting Automation & Artificial Intelligence

Content Is King, But That’s Not Enough

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Content Is King For More Reasons Than You May Know

Here are a few of the standouts:

  • It has long been the Google magnet for organic SEO.
  • It forces a deeper understanding of the customer experience.
  • It enables brand affinity in a ‘flat’ online world.
  • It builds brand equity and share of voice in highly competitive markets.
  • It provides a path for customer collaboration in product development.
  • It creates a brand persona that is personalized to customers and qualified candidates alike.
  • It feeds the sales pipeline in the form of lead generation, product demand and customer engagement.

Over the last several years ‘content‘ has become the backbone to successful marketing campaigns. Companies small to large disperse time and money to establish themselves as the thought-leader in a category, often never pitching their own product or services in the process. This is the mantra of our customer-driven age, and no doubt it is here to stay.

“Yet, simply providing content that doesn’t push products isn’t enough. In order for content to support sales, brands need to have sufficient technology for tracking readers’ activity and then providing more targeted articles or videos before eventually pitching products that will meet individuals’ specific needs.”

CMO Technology News, 5/31/17

When it comes to sales enabling technology,  none has become more influential, important and affordable to sales and marketing teams than CRM + Marketing Automation. This powerful combination offers both sides of the revenue pipeline (mktg & sales) to work smarter and collaboratively in supporting each customer through their individual buying journey.

CRM + Marketing Automation combines as a single engine that makes every piece of content, event, sales promotion, customer contact, public relations, product development, advertising, sponsorship, trade show, sales contest and more, accountable.   Track lead generation, ROI, customer preferences, process barriers, individual sales performance, product viability and demand, and a host of customized answers to the ‘gray areas’ of a company’s day-to-day business.

CRM + Marketing Automation used to a technology caviar affordable only to big business.  That landscape has changed, and now even the smallest start-up can leverage those same technologies to compete against larger competitors.  Never before has there been this affordable of a tool available to truly level the playing field between a small company and a Fortune 500, and measure how each piece of content contributes (or doesn’t) to company growth.

Learn more.         Sign Up For A Demo     About Lisa Toren

Retail Beacon Technology: A Digital Hit Or Miss?

eMarketer, a top thought-leader in digital marketing, has a great article about the status of beacon technology adoption in retail today.  For those not familiar with beacon technology, this is a quick and great read.  Here’s a valuable snippet of content, but don’t let this prevent you from reading this brief article in full:

What’s Going On with Beacons? – eMarketer

…retailers are currently more invested in customer experience personalization tactics like targeted marketing campaigns, training in-store associates and collecting data on customers’ preferences than they are on in-store technologies such as beacons. “

 

10-Minute Marketing Automation Q&A

Marketing Automation is a simple, affordable cloud-based campaign solution used to generate leads, drive sales and optimize ROI.

It enables you to easily build and own a database of prospects, leads and customers, and nurture them through various buying stages. Automate tasks, save time and empower your sales efforts by identifying when a contact has turned into a hot prospect.

Marketing Automation offers a long list of benefits for any size company, and today is one of the most fundamental requirements for helping your business grow.  And cloud-based means no IT maintenance or support is required.

Marketing Automation has changed the way successful companies market their products and services.

Every company today should be using some aspect of marketing automation. When used correctly, it can drastically improve customer loyalty, brand exposure and conversion from leads to sales.  For midsize and smaller growing companies, it’s a powerful tool for competing against big companies with deep pockets.  In fact, it’s the same type of system they are using to compete with you!

Whether you’re a small company that wants to take it more slowly, a midsize company ready to win the competitive race, or a fast-growing company that needs a full-service team leading the charge in marketing, advertising and automation, there is a custom fit that is more than affordable.

Since Marketing Automation is customized to each client’s business, we recommend taking advantage of our no-cost or obligation 10-minute Q&A with a Project Manager to discuss your company and how marketing automation may fit.  Rest assured this is not a slick sales tactic, but rather a true opportunity to ask questions of someone on our team who helps our clients after the sale.

Click here to schedule your 10-minute Q&A.

The Benefits Of Marketing Automation Plus Predictive Modeling

Marketing Automation, a common solution behind many of today’s most successful companies, is a proven and affordable way for any company to generate and nurture leads through the pipeline, eliminate wasteful spending, and improve sales. But did you know that establishing a customized predictive marketing model for what success actually looks like will make automation technology that much better?  Our take on what a predictive model should include is a bit different than the norm because we customize it around your business drivers, average sales price, and other internal data relevant to your bottom line.  Other models are typically based on what is called machine learning, or customer data that comes from a variety of life cycle intersections.  This is great, but midsize and smaller growing companies often do not have the deep pockets or internal analysts to tackle this more complicated approach.

So what makes the Inside Track model a best-fit for midsize and smaller growing companies?  We align all aspects of a campaign into a common standard, which we use to keep vendors accountable, drive campaign results and achieve measurable ROI.  This means everything you do from a promotional standpoint is measured on an apples to apples basis.  It’s really the only way to separate those tactics and outlets that generate revenue from those that don’t.  This type of modeling provides key insights into every vendor, event or other marketing effort’s contribution to your goals.  Keep the winners, eliminate the losers, and make your every marketing dollar count.

Together, Marketing Automation and Predictive Modeling are the surest way to manage advertising and marketing campaigns from start to finish, giving you an Inside Track for maximized return.

3 Good Questions To Ask Your Marketing Agency

Selecting a marketing agency can feel like a daunting task.  So can sticking with an agency that doesn’t seem to fit.  Here are three good questions to help you with the selection process.

 

Do You Work With My Competitors?
Many agencies specialize in sectors.  This means they become experts to a niche of business (ie., automotive, banking, nonprofit, etc.) and build their practice based on clients who fit that mold.  There certainly is value in that model, but there’s also a good chance the same advice they’re giving you they’re also giving your competitor.  Know up front whether the agency is exclusively representing your business in a given industry or market, or if you’re one of many.  If it were my money on the table I’d seek representation by an agency that offers category exclusivity along with defined non-compete terms for when the relationship ends.

Do You Receive Pre-Set Preferential Pricing From Media Vendors?
Sounds like a good deal, right?  But here’s the flip side … media outlets often give pre-set preferential rates to agencies who commit to a volume of business.  Sometimes these things are published, sometimes they’re a handshake deal behind the scenes.  So a good question to ask your agency is how and why they get those rates, because their obligation to that media outlet may preclude them from seeking exposure on other outlets that may be a better fit. It can also cause them to be more habitual with advertising spend, going to the same rep for the same thing time after time.

The other consideration to keep in mind is that media outlets rarely value-price their best inventory because that’s the basis of how they make their money.  This means you may get a perceived deal, but your campaign stands a good chance of being loaded into off-peak exposure where audiences are small. In other words … good rates for crummy inventory.  The alternative is to select an agency that leverages every dollar of your budget based on your specific business needs and can prove the ROI of each vendor.  Rather than a cheap package that looks good on paper, they should couple their knowledge for how, when and where to negotiate with a custom fit program based on research and defined goals, marketing automation and predictive modeling based on your specific business drivers.

Is Everything Done In-House?
This would be a good thing, right?  Here’s the catch.  The more services delivered from in-house staff the higher the overhead.  The more the overhead the higher the markup and greater need to steer clients into those competencies in order to keep the lights on.  Many clients can be best served by a lean agency model like Inside Track,  where core in-house skills are complemented with contracted top freelancers/specialty agencies. This means less overhead and more efficient costs for you, plus dedicated experts on every facet of your campaign without oversized markups.  And when it comes to media planning, buying,  placement, and marketing automation, it’s critical to work with a shop that specializes in these unique skill-sets.

Inside Track Marketing & Media, Inc., specializes  in advertising, media planning, buying and execution, marketing automation, predictive marketing, dynamic email marketing and has an entire ecosystem of independent campaign specialists at the ready.  You’ll have a single point of contact at Inside Track and best in class campaign experts all managed through us.  

Think of us as the hub of a wheel and top experts as the spokes steering your campaign as it rolls forward.

5 Ways Marketing Automation Drives Sales

Marketing Automation (MA) is the engine behind many of today’s most successful B2B and B2C campaigns.  It’s affordable to businesses of all sizes, and offers almost immediate results as companies scale use to fit their unique needs.  But did you know it goes beyond marketing alone by feeding sales departments and teams with the critical information to support building and closing business?  Here are five stand-out reasons why your sales team should be armed with automation:

  1. Eliminate Cold Calling:  The days of cold calling are long gone.  Customers are savvy, key contacts have screeners, and the direct-line to a decision-maker is likely an unpublished mobile number.  While they are indeed elusive, they are also connected.  They use mobile devices and laptops to access relevant content to their jobs and lifestyles.  They research purchases for home and business procurement.  They verify brands, specifications, availability, pricing, competitors, research and recruit employees and more.  Cold calling rarely works today, but the right content, at the right time does, and scoring leads by how they engage with your brand provides salespeople with the insights a cold call could never achieve.  Marketing automation makes this possible.
  2. Personalize and Segment Messages By Industry, Persona, Buying History, Product Interest, More:  We are now and for the foreseeable future in a purely 1:1 relationship with leads and customers.  A one-size-fits-all approach to messaging no longer resonates.  Successful sales departments use automation to align product information, sales events, pricing specials and loyalty opportunities with each customer’s unique interests.  Doing so elevates the chances of building the type of customer engagement that drives sales and repeat business.
  3. Identify The Best Leads:  Leads come in all forms.  Some cool, some warm, others hot.  If all you’re working with is a static database, or scratch pad of messages scattered on a desk, there really is no way to identify the best lead, which results in salespeople spending a lot of time on unqualified opportunities.  The various tools integrated in marketing automation solve this problem.  The system can actually automate a notification to a salesperson when a lead hits the tipping point toward becoming a sale.  For leads not quite there, automated and triggered campaigns help nurture them through the sales funnel until they do, making the most of a salesperson’s time and increasing opportunity to drive revenue because they aren’t spinning wheels on leads not yet ready.
  4.  Get CRM As A Built-In Tool:  The best marketing automation systems include a built-in CRM for midsize and smaller growing companies, plus the option to interface with other CRM systems a company may be using, like Salesforce.  By tying automation and CRM together, business leaders gain key insights into the cost/return ratio of a lead, customer and repeat customer.  For salespeople, it provides a combined platform where they can enter their own sales data, projections and more, and view the life of the lead and what they are researching on your website, what emails they’re interested in, where they are clicking.  This insight becomes invaluable to a salesperson looking to gain credibility with a prospect by focusing on what they are showing interest in versus starting a conversation from scratch.
  5. Automate Manual Tasks:  Salespeople have good reason to grimace when they hear the word ‘paperwork’.  It is their least favorite thing to do, and takes them away from what you’ve hired them for.  Marketing automation is a win-win business tool for both salespeople and the backend requirements of specifying, processing and fulfilling orders.  Automating certain aspects of the sales process and customer onboarding enables salespeople to spend more time selling and less time shuffling paper.  The result?  Increase sales opportunities for business growth.

Constant Change: A Small Business Advantage

For more than half a century marketing decisions relied heavily on the steady habits of traditional population media behaviors like watching broadcast television, reading newspapers and listening to the radio.  Today the population is anything but traditional, media habits are a roller-coaster of fragmentation, and competition across media outlets is fierce as audiences inherently decline.  This is bad news for big media, and fantastic news for small business.

With technology, the decline of media power brokers and cumbersome red-tape preventing large companies from being nimble, today’s marketing landscape offers BIG opportunity for small business.  With this opportunity comes ongoing market confusion, predatory pricing practices and difficulty in identifying which tactics deliver the best ROI for each individual business.  It is beyond a full-time job and requires deep industry expertise in marketing mix integration, vendor negotiation, campaign optimization and more.  Most business owners and leaders have far too much on their plate to even scratch the surface.  That’s where we come in.

Small businesses are in the driver’s seat.  And we’re their secret weapon for growth.  Inside Track delivers affordable expertise across the entire multi-channel marketing landscape and leverages marketing automation to help businesses grow.  We price for small business while delivering large marketing and advertising department capabilities.  Ala carte or full-service.  Everything you need or we collaborate with your current resources for a seamless solution to drives sales, accountability and return.

You Deserve To Know How Each Marketing Dollar Performed

Marketing Automation + Predictive Modeling

You deserve to know how each dollar spent on marketing and advertising actually performed. How it fed into your revenue pipeline.  The cost per lead of every vendor in the mix.  The lifecycle of each lead.  Our predictive modeling system aligns all aspects of a campaign into a common standard, which we use to keep vendors accountable, drive campaign results and achieve measurable ROI.

Marketing Automation, a common solution behind today’s most successful companies, is a proven and affordable way for any company to generate and nurture leads through the pipeline, eliminate wasteful spending and improve sales.   Together, Marketing Automation and Predictive Modeling are the surest way to manage advertising and marketing campaigns from start to finish, giving you an Inside Track for maximized return.

Contact us to schedule a Fast Track 10-minute demo.  855-865-2224.  

Marketing Automation: Give The Big Dog A Run For The Money

We live in a world of promotion. From the grocery store to the ballet, industrial pipes to solar power. B2C and B2B, not-for-profit and government. Every organization remains viable in great part due to self-promotion. Some do it better than others, and deeper pockets can certainly provide advantages. But never underestimate the lean, hungry, nimble organizations that use technology to give the big dog a run for his money.

Gaining a competitive edge can feel like a monumental task, particularly with the overload of marketplace options. Big data, social media, digital, mobile, television, public relations, etc., are mere fragments of a ginormous marketing ecosystem. It can be utterly exhausting.

 Marketing Automation is one of the most affordable solutions for businesses small to large, and has proven itself mighty effective in nurturing both new leads and loyal customers through the sales and customer service pipeline.  According to Forrester Research, of the most successful companies in the U.S., close to 80% use Marketing Automation. It can drive revenue, shorten the sales cycle, increase deal sizes, reduce cost-per-lead, eliminate manual marketing tasks and deliver ROI transparency, to name a few. Here’s the greatest advantage … Marketing Automation levels the field between big business and the rest of the players. It’s a game changer for smaller, nimble, growing companies because Marketing Automation enables them to scale their promotional efforts exponentially, yet affordably.

Marketing Automation is a powerful tool that can be effectively used by underdogs across all industries and sectors.  

  Ready to capture a few bones from the competition?

 Contact us or go to insidetrackm.com to learn more.