5 Reasons B2B Marketers Need to Automate Top-of-Funnel Marketing

key_stats_for_Tofu_and_DO.pngYesterday, Scott Brinker published a really great blog post that highlights the mainstream recognition of MarTech and the marketing technologist role. His conclusions were drawn from a recent DataXu report (Modernizing the Mix: Transforming Marketing Through Technology and Analytics), which I suggest every tech-focused marketer read.

In addition to highlighting the rise of marketing technology and technologists, I wasn’t all to surprised to find a substantial amount of survey information point to how, even with all this marketing tech investment, marketers’ chief obstacles remain lack of efficiency and transparency at the top of the funnel.

For a while now, my colleagues and I have been discussing how B2B marketers should move beyond the idea of simply generating demand and focus instead on orchestrating it. With all the tech, engagement channels and data sources at our disposal, creating prospect interest isn’t difficult – but doing so efficiently so that you can scale your sales pipeline without drastically increasing resource investment is incredibly difficult.

Look at some of these survey findings:

The largest threats to marketing team success

No. 1 Being stretched too thin due to working with and managing too many vendors (23%)

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This is a huge problem for marketers, especially as they try to scale, because they typically must expand their ecosystem of data and lead providers. The majority of marketing teams I speak to are leveraging 20+ data vendors per quarter. The one-off communication, performance measurement, data processing, and campaign optimization tasks are enormous burdens that diminish returns at scale.

No. 2 Poor visibility into metrics on whether or not our marketing is working (21%)

As the DataXu report states, “Aggregating and normalizing channel-specific campaign data for which “apples-to-apples” equivalents may not exist to create a single holistic performance report can be time-intensive and challenging.”

This is largely the result of an expanding list of disparate data sources and lead providers. You simply can’t get an apples-to-apples comparison unless your data is standardized and measured uniformly.

The biggest marketing challenges faced today

No. 1 Creating the most efficient marketing mix across channels to drive results (41%)

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According to the report, “Traditional econometrics studies or bottom-up attribution methods leading to cross-channel optimization take significant amounts of both time and resources. Few marketers today find themselves with an excess of either.” Again, it’s really difficult to optimize your demand marketing efforts if you can’t efficiently measure and holistically optimize your channels and data sources.

No. 2 Quantifying the effect my marketing efforts have on new sales revenue results (18%)

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Just as disconnected top-of-funnel marketing channels and data sources prevent visibility and optimization, they also preclude marketers from being able to successfully attribute specific values (e.g., opportunities, customers, revenue, etc.) to individual initiatives, creative assets, data sources or lead vendors.

All of these issues result from lack of top-funnel efficiency and transparency

CRM systems have automated and brought accurate measurement to the bottom of the funnel. Marketing automation systems have done the same for the mid-funnel. Yet, top-of-funnel marketing activities remain woefully manual and top-funnel data sources remain disconnected from both one another and from lower-funnel processes.

This is why over 50% of the 532 marketers surveyed in the report stated that they’re starting to see more collaboration between MarTech systems and AdTech tools.

But fixing the above issues comes down to more than just collaboration between AdTech and MarTech. Advertising is just one instrument in the orchestra – it must be coordinated adeptly in concert with inbound initiatives, events and third-party efforts. Top-funnel automation provides this much-needed next step in full-funnel demand orchestration.

Top-of-funnel marketing automation isn’t a silver bullet – a change in mindset and procedural alignment is also very much needed. However, adopting technology that centralizes top-funnel channels and data sources, automates data validation, cleansing and standardization, and enables full-funnel measurement goes a long way in alleviating such mounting challenges. It enables demand marketers to scale business more efficiently.

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