The last year has been a great one if you are in the world of marketing automation. Most larger IT firms’ marketing departments have been talking about nothing else as they invest tens of thousands of pounds/Euros joining up CRM and websites’ CMS systems. I’ve seen marketing agencies doing very well from signing up as Zoho or HubSpot partners or advising companies on how to make the switch from handcrafting marketing campaigns to automating the lot.
If you’ve missed the trend, which is very unlikely given all the hype around it, the idea is to close the loop between that first interaction with your brand (everything from finding your website online to bumping into you at a trade event or attending an online seminar), to surrounding the early prospect with the right content to move them through education and engagement phases, and finally to purchase of your product or service. As soon as that work is done, the system puts you into a new bucket marked ‘existing customers’ and you are stimulated to buy again, accessorise, upsold or cross-sold.
It’s a system that many of us will be familiar with if we regularly buy from some digital marketing savvy retailers. So, this closed loop, ‘lead nurturing-lead conversion-lead nurturing-repeat’ model is now reaching into the SME B2B world as the likes of HubSpot step up their push in the UK, taking on an army of partners, so that pretty soon even the smallest SMEs will be ‘automating’ their sales and marketing processes. It also means that a new breed of marketing automation whizzes is also hoovering up lots of content generation work. That’s their cross-sell as it were.
And to your average hard-pressed marketer the idea of fully integrated sales and marketing automation sounds incredibly seductive. “Now I can justify all of that spend on trade events, advertising, PR and content generation because I can link it all to those specific sales leads”. It is so because the system tells me it is so. It sounds like a win-win for everyone contributing to the process.
Here at Agility PR, we ought to be seeing a content generation bonanza on the strength of it. After all, Agility PR has been writing media-ready articles, blog posts, website content, case studies, and shooting video case studies, testimonials and tutorials for a range of technology-based businesses for more than 14 years. We are cautiously optimistic that the demand for content is going up generally because of the above.
But a more pressing consideration is that far too much is being spent on building these marketing automation machines and not nearly enough on building quality content to ensure return on all that recent investment.