We've entered a digital world where marketing data has improved, advertising costs have been lowered and the time it takes to change a marketing strategy has been substantially reduced. However, despite these advancements, it doesn't mean that companies using marketing automation can't benefit from in-the-field customer feedback. In fact, an argument can easily be made that outside input is essential to making marketing automation work.
Tunnel vision is always a problem in digital marketing. It's easy to get caught up in the idea that you have everything you need to grow your digital brand right at your fingertips. You know what customers are doing at this very moment. Social media, online searches, your website, company blog, Twitter and several other online sources offer instant market feedback. However, there are 5 reasons why marketing automation still needs outside input. What are these reasons? Read on.
1. Hidden Market Intel
There will always be market intelligence that can't be gathered online. There is simply no accounting for a salesperson's ability to ask a customer leading questions, the kind of questions that open up the conversation and uncover hidden market intel. This is vital marketing data you can't gather online. You'll only get it with a salesperson who is well-versed in interpersonal relationship building. Will that help your marketing automation to deliver more focused content? Yes, it will.
2. Competitor Pricing
Not all markets advertise their prices. In fact, many of them like to keep that pricing a secret up until the very last moment. Business-to-business (B2B) salespeople know that competitor pricing isn't easy to track. It's hidden. It's behind the scenes and it isn't flashing on a computer screen or mailed out in a flier. Competitor pricing in B2B markets will always be more accurate when they come direct from salespeople in the field.
3. Competitor Strengths and Weaknesses
Your competitors don't broadcast their flaws and there are too many companies who try in vain to hide the obvious. However, the obvious isn't so obvious online. Sometimes the best information is gathered directly from customers and different buyer personas. It's gathered on customer visits from production employees, inventory managers and purchasing agents. It's gathered by walking a shop floor, looking around you and witnessing what's going on.
4. Rumors and Innuendo
Not everybody voices their opinions online. Now, does that mean your marketing automation should be focused on discrediting your competitors? No, it doesn't. However, it does mean you can use the information you gather from customers' visits to improve your message.
There are always rumors and innuendo in every market. Changing ownership, new product launches and potential upgrades are just some of the information that is available when you're directly in front of customers.
5. The Message Before it Goes Online
Salespeople are responsible for forecasting. They must provide your company with an estimate of sales based on historical figures and leading indicators. Customers who win new contracts don't immediately announce it online. They keep it close. They only notify their incumbent suppliers. They ask for discretion and secrecy. You're not betraying that secrecy. You're simply preparing your team for the eventual marketing data they'll use to make your marketing automation better.
Marketing automation allows you to deliver concise messages to the right buyer personas at the right time. However, all the marketing data you need about your buyer personas can't come from a single source. It often comes from having feet on the ground.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.