This blog was written before Pardot was renamed to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. You can read more about the name change and what it means here.
We’ve all heard about inbound marketing. Lots of businesses were probably doing it before it even had a name, which came about in 2005 from a guy called Brian Halligan. He’s the CEO of a large automation company known for creating huge volumes of great content.
The gist of inbound marketing is to produce lots of compelling content like blogs, infographics, ebooks etc. and use them to create a pull’ effect that brings visitors to your site. This is an excellent way to market your brand. It does pose a new question though; how does this tie in with the way we’ve set up our marketing automation tools?
Old style marketing automation methodology
To fully understand how inbound marketing works with marketing automation tools, we need to go back in time (like, a few years ago).
Back then, marketing automation was very linear by design. Automation programs consisted of a series of emails that would have a pause in between where it would check for a click or an open. You’d then make a decision on how to treat them based on whether they clicked/opened or not. For example, you might send an email, see if they clicked and if they did then add them to a salesperson's list so they could give them a call and if they didn’t then send them the next email a week later.
It was good at the time, but now it’s not good enough.
What happens if someone engages with you on social or downloads a piece of content unrelated to that automation program? Would you still want to send them on the same nurture path?
The answer is you no, you’ll probably want to treat them differently.
Present day marketing automation tools & your inbound leads
Fast forward to today’s automation capabilities and it’s a different story.
The most effective way for an organisation to succeed in marketing today is to be able to send every single prospect content in context. Sending them the right message at the right time, every time. This can only be achieved through a marketing automation tool such as Pardot and once set up, your inbound traffic is essentially being nurtured while your marketing team are focusing on other important things.
Here’s an example of how today’s automation could look:
I won’t go into too much detail here, but you can already see that this is superior to the previous program. You’ve got a clear plan and direction for every prospect, dynamic content for personalisation and rules that direct people onto the appropriate path.
What’s most important here is the automation rule that pulls people out of the program. This is what you use to really understand and personalise the user experience. How awful would it be if I was showing clear interest in product B but you were still sending me content about product A? This automation stops this from happening and lets me, as a user, choose to hear about product B and even move onto C, D, E etc. The whole time I’m engaging with you I’m telling you something, and the marketing automation tool is allowing you to adapt and change messaging according to my behaviour.
Handy Pardot tip: When someone leaves a Pardot Engagement Studio and re-enters, they’ll always carry on from where they left off. They won’t start again from the beginning.
You could also set up another automation rule that immediately flags your dream prospects. I’d highly recommend setting this up and leaving it running for as long as that criteria is valid.
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