Marketing organizations are aggressively modernizing, automating and adding more digitally centered marketing methods as they focus on their mandate to discover prospects and create new customers. To meet the challenge, CMOs have turbocharged Marketing Ops teams and are building their “Marketing Cloud”, leveraging marketing automation for nurturing prospects, adding CRM for managing pipeline and customer relationships, and spending millions on super-charged, branded websites and social pages, while pumping billions into media to promote their offerings.
With all of this progress, we’re still missing a vital component in the quest to modernize our marketing approach. We are NOT connecting the prospects generated by our media investment, nor their data, with our marketing systems and processes – a critical missing link.
The prospect and audience marketing effort – predominantly driven by third-party media investment via content syndication, search and advertising – is still very fragmented and, worse, seldom measured or optimized. Disconnected and unable to adequately track and optimize media spend, marketing organizations struggle with lead velocity (getting the prospect into the nurturing or sales process quickly and efficiently), mixed data quality, and a lack of ability to attribute source or measure ROI. This is a hard blow to marketing executives as they realize how much money they’re actually spending on media to create prospects—$40 billion+ on digital advertising alone in 2013, according to the IAB.
So, how can CMOs and marketing pros better integrate prospect and customer generation with marketing operations, processes and systems? Here are 3 areas of focus to modernize your approach and obtain better return on media and technology investment:
- Automate-integrate third-party media investment and data with marketing systems and processes to eliminate manual, resource-intensive tasks. Today, engaging with the media community (publishers, affiliates, and other sources) combined with the internal marketing processes necessary to get data into systems requires manual processes, hours of data scrubbing, and lots of spreadsheets passed between media providers and marketing teams. A smart approach is to automate by integrating the prospect and lead data garnered from media campaigns and partners directly with your marketing automation system (for nurturing prospects through the buyer’s journey) and/or your CRM (for timely sales follow-up).
- Govern and validate prospect information in order to inject quality, actionable data, thereby increasing lead velocity and lowering media costs. Once you decide to directly inject prospect data from your third party media sources, it is essential that the media-generated data is validated, cleansed and formatted for your marketing systems (Eloqua, Marketo, Salesforce, Pardot, etc.). This assures you get what you paid for from your media investment. Moreover, auto-formatting and normalizing the data for your specific marketing automation system allows you to more rapidly get down to the business of nurturing and developing customers.
- “Close the marketing loop” to garner insights, adapt to new opportunities and optimize campaigns and marketing programs. Today, we can gather data from every campaign we run but most of it we can’t and don’t act on. Whether you deploy banners, email, content syndication, telemarketing, search or a combination and whether you utilize cost per acquisition, lead, sale, click or incoming call, you need to analyze data on performance by media channel, media source, creative, content, offers and campaigns all in one place. Then you can more easily garner insights that can be applied to optimize campaigns by focusing on higher performing tactics, working more with standout media partners who are delivering, and applying the resulting audience data for improved campaign performance.
If you are investing in media to generate prospects and acquire customers, make sure you take action on the missing link – integrate media and prospect data directly to your marketing systems and processes. Both your prospects and your sales teams will thank you!