Marketing automation tools

They let you monitor performance and make changes in real time

Year after year, organizations develop marketing plans based on past performance, with perhaps a few new tactics added into the mix, to see if they can return better results. But often we don’t go far enough in tracking the performance of those campaigns to really understand WHY one message or medium outperformed another.

While we may know that a direct mail campaign, for example, delivered 130 new prospects into our shop and 42 of those made a purchase with an average sale price of $80, what we don’t know is what happened to the other 870 people who received the postcard but didn’t come into the shop.

We also don’t know why 88 people got into their cars and drove to our shop, but then didn’t make a purchase. Beyond that, we likely don’t have any plan in place to automatically follow up with the 42 people who did buy something.

It is crucial to first understand the actions and mindsets of your customers, prospective customers, the people who are aware of your products and choose not to purchase them, and the people who are not yet aware of your organization. Developing buyer personas for each of these types of individuals will help you determine what motivates them, why they did or did not make a purchase, and where they get their information, so that you can work to get in front of them with a message that persuades them to take the next step.

Next, you must have a strong understanding of what actions people take on your website. Where do they come from, what pages do they visit, what calls-to-action are most likely to generate a new lead, which email subject lines are most likely to get opened, which articles are most likely to be read and how are they moving from first-time-visit to lead to sale.

You’ll also want to be sure to track how people are leaving your website. Are they filling up their shopping cart with items only to leave before completing the sale? Are they reading a blog post, clicking through your offer and bailing without completing the offer form? Are leads from social media more or less likely to request a demo than leads from email, and which social media channels are most likely to generate those leads? All of these elements can be tracked with advanced analytics tools, embedded on your website at key points in the customer journey.

Once you’ve got your tracking systems in place, you now have the foundation in place to see what will deliver results in real time. Develop a Facebook ad and test out different headlines or topics, publish a bold new video and monitor how many people watch it all the way through and share it on social networks, cross-promote related products or services to existing customers and see which result in new sales.

With marketing automation tools, you can segment individuals and trigger different messages to them based on who they are, what they’re interested in and what actions they’ve taken.

For example, someone who has visited your website multiple times but never made a purchase may need a bit more hand-holding to persuade them along. Perhaps a side-by-side comparison to a competitor or a case study showing the real-life results you’ve produced for someone in their situation would do the trick. Alternately, a customer who has purchased one or two items in the past may just need a reminder that you have other products that may be of interest. Marketing automation programs and segmented contact lists allow these communications to be delivered to individuals without your team having to manually write and send emails or follow up directly.

One of the greatest benefits of marketing analytics and automation are their ability to allow you to monitor performance in real time and make immediate changes to campaigns that aren’t working, or continue to build up those that are delivering high-quality leads and sales.

Melissa Albano-Davis, principal of Grapevine Marketing, Manchester, can be reached at 603-685-4782, ext. 101, or by e-mail at

Categories: Marketing & Advertising