Marketing Automation Strategy
The Marketing Cycle
You’ll see this graphic quite frequently at Act-On, and it’s an important one to understand. It represents the major goals of marketing, and complements the Buying Process below.
Each stage of the Marketing Cycle overlaps with multiple points in the Buying Process. To make it even more confusing, individual buyers can skip or go back to any point in the process as new information comes up, or budgets and opinions change. Most marketers spend most of their time thinking about the Capture and Nurture phases of the Cycle, because that’s where buyers tend to spend the most time.
The Buying Process
Buyers behave in fairly predictable fashions. Overall, the buying process can be broken down into the following stages:
- Status Quo – Executive and team members are not aware of a business or process challenge.
- Disruption – An event causes the executive or team members to become aware of a problem or challenge that needs to be addressed.
- Discussion – Internal conversations lead to assignment of new goals or tasks.
- Research – Departments research their specialty and report on factors they believe may be contributing. This information is often funneled back to the C-level.
- Deliberation – Proposals and recommendations are considered as they relate to the original problem.
- Decision – Decision is made at the executive level to purchase.
1 – Attract
The Attract phase is all about Disruption. Marketers are trying to get the attention of potential customers, and wake them up to the fact that they have a problem, and let them know a solution is available.
- Website Visitor Tracking
- Social Publish
- Media Library (PDFs, Videos, Content)
- SEO Audits
- Google AdWords
2 – Capture
A Capture is the first big milestone for turning a prospect into a customer, and is the point when the buyer decides it’s worth trading some of their information to get content. Typically, this first capture should only ask for Name and Email Address. People are very used to giving this information away, and it doesn’t feel like a lot to ask. As they continue to consume more content, progressive profiling can let us capture more information for higher-value content, such as detailed guides, webinar recordings, and more.
- Progressive Profiling
3 – Nurture
This typically covers the Discussion, Research, and Deliberation steps of the Buying Process. This phase is typically represented by a funnel, with different levels of the funnel dictated by Lead Score (aka
Behavior Score). Actions that are associated with pre-purchase behavior are given more points, allowing people taking those actions to stand out from the masses. Customers should be encouraged to divide their lists into segments based on lead score, and message them based on where they are in the funnel.
Low scores (0 – 10) are at the top of the funnel, and are typically people who are only just coming out of the Attract and Convert phases. They’ll be targeted with “pain-point” related messaging – “Aren’t you tired of not getting your money’s worth?” “Do you never have enough time to do X?”
Medium scores (11 – 29) are the middle of the funnel, and get messages about solutions and products. “Check out this new case study about how Product Awesome helped Acme Co halve their production costs!”
High scores (30 – 39) are at the bottom of the funnel (we’ve squeezed out everyone who’s not truly interested in buying at the higher stages) and get sales-oriented calls to action. “Don’t miss our sale on Product Awesome! 10% off for first time customers until next month!”
- Lead Scores
- Automated Programs
- Funnel Reports
4 – Convert
This is the point where Marketing and Sales starts to overlap. In this stage, the customer’s lead score is over 40, and they are more than likely ready to be approached by a sales person because their behavior has shown that they are truly interested in making a purchase. Sales people will typically be using Act-On through their CRM – Hot Prospects are identified for them, and they can see exactly what actions the leads they are talking to have taken up until that point. That can often give them insight into what problems their leads are facing, and what they really care about, so that they can tailor their product pitch to match.
- Hot Prospects
- Website Visitor Tracking
- Alerts (Form Submissions and Website Visitors)
5 – Expand
The Cycle continues! After converting to a customer, the next goal will be to continue marketing to customers as well, but this time with an objective to upsell, cross-sell, or simply retain them as a customer.