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The marketing automation generation: Fulfilling the mandate for customer life cycle marketing
B2B marketing automation specialists have become skilled at generating qualified leads from inquiries, but columnist Scott Vaughn believes that to be most effective, they need to expand their view and consider the entire customer life cycle.
Nearly a decade into the marketing automation (MA) revolution, we’ve developed a crop of B2B marketing professionals who have built successful careers on the use of tools to nurture and develop qualified leads. “I am Eloqua- (or HubSpot- or Marketo-) certified” appears boldly on B2B marketers’ LinkedIn profiles.
With all the progress around developing data-driven and automation-equipped pros and processes, unintended consequences are beginning to rear their ugly head. We’ve developed a generation of marketers whose lens of the world starts with an inquiry and stops with an opportunity (or, in the best case, a net-new customer). It’s understandable. This is what marketing departments have coveted — the ability to generate qualified leads for sales.
Today, however, revenue expectations require that B2B marketers have complete command of the entire customer life cycle. This means developing strategies and sharpening skills related to every stage — from early engagement efforts to driving inquiries to converting prospects and accounts down the funnel to expanding business with existing customers.
In fact, word on the street is SiriusDecisions, one of the leading authorities that has risen to prominence during the marketing automation era, is recognizing the mounting problem. They’re rumored to be expanding their oft-cited B2B “Demand Waterfall” to include all the work required before an inquiry and after a new customer is secured to help marketers capitalize on the bigger business contribution.
Whether you’re a B2B marketing pro whose world revolves around your marketing automation skills or a marketing exec leading a team of marketing automation experts, it’s time to take a step back and make sure your marketing efforts are focused on a complete view of the customer revenue life cycle. I’ve outlined core areas B2B marketers can concentrate on to address the unintended challenges created by the marketing automation era.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.