As CMOs, our hearts are driven toward creativity but our jobs are measured by the metrics we collect. We use data like page views, unique site visits, recorded contacts and average time on site to determine if what we do actually has an effect on the bottom line of the business.
One of a CMO’s most challenging tasks is rebranding and launching a new website. How can a CMO guarantee that the substantial investment in a brand and website relaunch will have a positive effect on the company?
I believe that the answer lies in setting your website infrastructure up for digital business success, while using marketing automation to verify and optimise it all. I’m not alone on this path. According to SiriusDecisions, there are nearly 11 times more B2B organisations using marketing automation now than in 2011.
A Digital Business Platform with room to grow your tools
Companies of all sizes see the concept of digital business as the long-term approach to better customer engagement and revenue generation. Digital business is the combination of e-commerce, content and personalised experiences. Each of these elements can be easily handled with separate products and solutions, but ideally, they’re held together by a digital business platform.
This doesn’t mean that as a CMO, you should buy into suites. On the contrary: I am a staunch defender of the Open Suite approach, where a digital business platform builds on its own openness, allowing other products to be integrated seamlessly. When commerce, content and personalisation are bundled together and unified over a digital business platform, that’s when you can start to think about bringing in the most critical element that informs this trinity: marketing automation.
CMOs love marketing automation. Eloqua, Marketo, Infusionsoft and Pardot provide platforms that help derive and predict online behavior. CMOs use this information to carefully adjust their investments and create a customer journey that produces action and revenue. According to a 2014 Heinz marketing survey, over 83% of participants reported improved sales efforts because of marketing automation.
However, what happens when a new tool emerges that gives more insight at less cost? That’s when you’ll need to be able to rely on your digital business platform to switch out one tool for another. Replacing your marketing automation system is neither easy nor fast. In fact, most implementations of personalisation and analytical tools come at the expense of time. The technical and administrative resources needed to even consider alternatives to your current marketing automation can take 9-12 months. Licensing, training, evaluation and implementation can take even longer. It will take months to have a glimpse of what new tools can bring to your sales and marketing efforts. The Heinz survey found that the biggest increases in productivity takes place only after two years.
Organisations should thus select content management systems that make the inclusion and integration of marketing automation easy. If a vendor has made significant investments in ensuring that customers can easily test and evaluate marketing automation systems and analytical tools within the CMS, that’s a good sign. Because what it really means is this: you’ll be able to quickly test tens of thousands of pages with your current marketing automation system, or with new tools that you are evaluating.
Six questions to ask before a website relaunch
Personally, I’m a huge advocate of Pardot, Eloqua and Infusionsoft. These tools have allowed me to evaluate and justify web content management investments prior to the first engineer being assigned to the project. Launching a new corporate brand website is not a light switch but a seesaw. You build the base framework by focusing on the identity of the user first, getting that person identified and managed through the marketing automation system and tailoring every step of the mobile, desktop and app experience to that user’s profile.
Before redesigning or launching any corporate website initiative, a CMO should ask the following questions:
1. Does our current website target the needs of site visitors?
2. Do we understand the click-through path and customer journey of every site visitor?
3. Do we have an understanding of the full lifecycle of sales, from first contact to first purchase?
4. How can we track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns?
5. Do we measure the ROI of every piece of content?
6. Do we have a proven scoring and segmentation system for inbound contacts and segment by role and job function?
As CMOs, we must remember that the concept of the “home page” - that one location where every user lands - is over. We need to make identity a priority and focus on relationships between customers and projects. We must create advocates before customers.
Integrating marketing automation into your content management ensures that your website launch isn’t just a possibility. It’s guaranteed.
By Christopher Justice, Chief Marketing Officer for Magnolia International.
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