In today’s dynamic, online marketplace, B2B marketers need to engage with buyers and customers at every phase of their decision-making process. It is now the marketing team’s responsibility to nurture prospects from initial awareness, through product consideration, all the way to sales readiness and beyond. And to help with that, we have marketing automation.

In an earlier post, we discussed how you can use marketing automation to manage the targeting, timing, and content of marketing messages that are delivered to prospects in response to their inbound actions and online activities, such as the emails they read, the links they click, the forms they submit or the webinars they attend. Here, we’ll go into some detail about how marketers use marketing automation to cope with the growing volume, speed, and complexity of marketing campaigns.

More Campaigns Means More Content

To make content marketing campaigns successful, marketing teams have to provide prospects and leads at every stage of the buying cycle with information that resonates with their current needs, job roles, intent, and interest level. They have to greatly increase the amount and types of content they produce and they have to produce better content than ever before.

According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, 70 percent of marketers are creating more content than they did in the previous year, and most professional marketers say that content success relies on traditional parameters of quality such as compelling storytelling and originality. At the same time, 54% of marketers say that producing engaging content is one of their most persistent challenges, an acknowledgement that it requires effort and expertise to create content that stands out among the noise.

Tracking and Responding to Buyer Interest

Using marketing automation systems such as Marketo and Hubspot, you can monitor when business decision makers consume your webcasts, white papers, e-books, and blogs, and find out which messages they read, view, respond to, or share. Armed with that data, you can nurture and mark a prospect’s progress from initial awareness to legitimate sales qualified lead, and automatically deliver highly relevant, personalized information that delivers real value and helps build relationships with buyers.

Deliver Content Quickly (Read: Immediately)

To deliver the information that moves prospects closer to sales, you have to react almost instantaneously, or you risk getting lost in the background noise and letting opportunities slip by. Marketing automation makes content personalization, advanced segmenting, and granular targeting operationally feasible at a greatly reduced cost. It eliminates the guesswork in identifying which content assets are most effective with which buyers, and automatically triggered, immediate delivery increases content relevancy to buyer intent and generates high conversion rates.

Good Campaigns Still Don’t Come Easy

You can’t do without good people and good ideas; behavioral-based targeting requires adequate data, quality content, effective processes, and varied staff resources. You need writers, designers, and marketing professionals to develop campaigns and content, business analysts to interpret data, and operational experts to manage email, web, social media, business intelligence, and other technologies.

Do More With Less

With marketing automation, marketing teams can complete campaigns in a fraction of the time it would take to do with manual processes. In fact, you can use marketing automation to develop programs that would be otherwise logistically impossible. With comprehensive personalization and targeting options, B2B marketers can drive leads, improve conversion rates, and produce more revenue.

Some companies have reported that using marketing automation has doubled their marketing efficiency — delivering up to twice as many programs on the same budget—and increased their monthly conversions by as much as 25 percent. By automating your content marketing operations, you can reduce the cost and time it takes to deliver relevant content to interested leads, exactly when they are looking for it, before they move on to a competitor’s message, or some other online diversion.

In subsequent posts, we will examine how you can use marketing automation to measure the impact of lead-nurturing activities and help marketing and sales executives clarify the boundary between lead qualification and sales readiness.

If you’d like to learn more how to streamline campaign management set-up and improve results, check out the Marketing Automation Owners Manual.