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5 Innovative Uses of Marketing Automation Software

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You’ve heard it before. Marketing automation software is all the rage. It can help you eliminate tedious marketing tasks, send more targeted emails, score and grade your leads, and track the ROI on your marketing campaigns. But is that all you’ve heard? Me too.

Clueless Marketing Automation GIF

With the marketing automation industry expected to grow by 60% in 2014, many first-time buyers are seeking out information on these sorts of bare-bones, basic features to get their marketing automation system up and running for the first time. As such, that’s the sort of basic information that marketing automation bloggers have rushed to churn out.

However, recent surveys have also reported that 25% of B2B Fortune 500 companies already use marketing automation, as well as 76% of the world’s largest SaaS companies. If you’re among this crowd of folks (like our marketing team here at Capterra), and you’ve been using marketing automation for a few years already, you may be wondering… where do we go next? What are other uses of marketing automation software?

Recently, I reached out to some trail-blazers and early adopters of marketing automation technology to see how they’ve used their system in unique, innovative ways. Here are 5 campaigns they shared with me that you can apply to your marketing automation strategy:

1. Boost Subscriber Engagement with Blog Content

Brittany Berger, the Digital Content Supervisor at eZanga, uses the Vocus Marketing Suite to nurture existing blog subscribers and encourage them to read additional blog posts on similar topics. She uses the workflow functionality in Vocus to create individual email tracks based on the various content topics eZanga regularly covers on their blog.

For instance, when an existing blog subscriber clicks on her post, “3 Ways Co-Marketing Can Help Your Small Business” (also pictured below), the Vocus workflow for “co-marketing” triggers a follow-up email with a link to another post that shares tips on how to write for co-marketing partners.

eZanga Blog Post:

 eZanga Blog

eZanga Follow-up Workflow Email:

 comarketing_workflow_email

As a result, eZanga was able to boost subscriber engagement with their blog content, and they saw growth in repeat traffic to the blog after implementing the segmented workflows. As a bonus, Brittany mentions that setting up the workflows also “got us familiar with the way our software handled workflows so that we’re completely ready to build out more later,” for when they plan to create more advanced lead nurturing tracks to qualify sales leads.

2. Get More Leads from Your Thank You Pages

At SIGNiX, a cloud-based e-signature business, the marketing department had been using Hubspot  for more than five years. This past February, their Marketing Director, Emily Maxie, decided they needed to find a way to increase the number of quote requests coming through the SIGNiX website.

While they had plenty of leads in the top-of-the-funnel—people downloading white papers, ebooks, worksheets, and other collateral— they weren’t seeing as many of those content-downloaders go on to request a quote and eventually convert to a sale as they’d hoped.

Emily and her team realized that on their thank you pages for the ebooks and whitepapers, there was a small button CTA on the right that said “Get a Quote”:

Old SIGNiX Thank You Page:

 thank you page before

With the help of Hubspot’s embedded form functionality, they added the “request a quote” form directly to every thank you page. That way, visitors wouldn’t have to click the button to request a quote, and could do so right from the thank you page:

New SIGNiX Thank You Page:

thank_you_page_after

After making this simple change, SIGNiX has more than doubled their number of quote requests. Emily shared with me that 52% of quote requests now come from their thank you pages.

3. Monitor (and Route) Customer Complaints from Social Media

Azuqua is both a provider and user of marketing automation software. (They’re eating their own dog food, as some might say.) Azuqua allows companies to easily build custom processes between other web-based tools, without having to code complex integrations or API connections. Marketers can use the Azuqua platform to easily link their CRM software (such as MS Dynamics, Salesforce, or Pipedrive) with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Azuqua’s Marketing Manager, Claire Koerner, put the system to use in order to monitor sentiment of online mentions of the Azuqua brand, and properly route any negative mentions or complaints to herself in real time so that she can follow-up quickly.

Twitter Sentiment to CRM to Email

Claire explains the process in more detail:

“With so much noise on social media – not to mention the many other priorities we have growing a startup, we use Azuqua to automate our Twitter marketing efforts – and specifically catch any negative mentions of our company. By creating cloud processes, called Flõs, in Azuqua, we are automatically alerted in email any time our company has a negative mention on Twitter. This saves us from having to manually sift through every Twitter mention (or hire someone to do this task), and instead be alerted only of those mentions that are negative and therefore immediately relevant. Because this Flõ runs every minute, we are able to respond very quickly to any negative tweet, and have the opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a loyal fan. As a result of this automated approach, we are able to direct our marketing efforts to other areas of the business, such as lead generation.”

Even if you don’t use Azuqua, several other marketing automation solutions have also integrated similar social media monitoring tools into their platforms to allow for advanced CRM routing and notifications.

4. Tease a New Product Launch Using Digital Advertising

Nautique, a water sports boat manufacturer, used Aimbase marketing automation to tease the reveal of a new product, the Super Air Nautique G23.

Nautique’s target age demographic for the campaign was twenty-somethings, and they used digital media such as web banners, Facebook ads, email marketing, and paid search campaigns to preview the launch of the new wake sports boat.

Nautique Teaser Ad:

AVALA-(300x250)

 

Nautique Launch Email:

revealemail

When someone clicked on the digital ads and filled out a lead form, Nautique funneled the leads into Aimbase, and then nurtured each individual with updates leading up to the launch of the new boat.

As a result of the pre-launch teaser and post-launch campaigns, Nautique generated nearly 1,500 leads and saw a campaign ROI of nearly 6,000%.

While this campaign may not seem wildly outside-the-box when it comes to marketing automation (depending on where you are in your implementation process), I think it does a good job of showing how multi-channel marketing works so much more effectively when you have marketing automation software to back up your campaigns. Nautique was able to put marketing budget toward these teaser ads, build a list of interested prospects, and create some suspense around the launch, and then measure (and prove) that their ad spend was worthwhile, because they had a list of opted-in leads prior to the product launch.

5. Create a Personalized Member Portal for Customers on a Microsite

BMW took their marketing automation to the next level with the help of ChannelNet and its SiteBuilder software technology. While most marketers know that marketing automation software can help them better personalize content with generic {First Name} or {Company} fields dropped into the text, BMW was able to hyper-personalize their marketing by creating an individual microsite for each of its lease customers.

Paula Tompkins, the CEO and founder of ChannelNet, explains how the campaign worked:

“For BMW, we used personal URLs (PURLs), or customer microsites, to create a cadence of lifecycle marketing communications that start with a warm welcome and then focus on the lease-end period. The customer simply clicks on the PURL link and is taken to his or her personalized website. This approach enables customers to easily check their lease terms and review end-of-term information. Content, promotions and messaging change depending on the time frame associated with where the customer is in the lease-end process. Over 700,000 personalized websites have been created for BMW leasing customers.”

 Jane-Smith-Homepage

Jane-Smith-Mileage-Adjustment-Program

So the next time you’re brainstorming marketing automation campaigns, think outside the box with these marketers’ unique examples in mind. While you can easily spend months and months testing different subject lines, button colors, and form fields, often times, it takes a REALLY big idea to redefine what “success” looks like for your marketing team.

What other unique, innovative marketing automation campaigns have inspired you? Share them in the comments below!

Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.

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About the Author

Katie Hollar

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Katie is the Director of Marketing at Capterra - a free resource that helps businesses find the right software. Her work has been published in VentureBeat, MarketingProfs, CustomerThink, and the Demand Gen Report, and she has been featured in CIO, AdAge, and Website Magazine. Katie has a love of all things marketing, but she is particularly fond of social media and marketing automation. She is a UVA grad (Wahoowa!) and in her free time enjoys reading, running, and cooking. Follow her on Twitter @khollar.

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