Great marketing automation starts with a strong content-generating machine. It leads to increased market share, revenue and profitability. It ends with improved clinical outcomes. Here are 10 steps to total marketing automation success:

  1. Get strategic. Outline the challenge that your organization or division faces and the goal in creating content in the first place. For example, the challenge may be to educate the 8.1 million diabetes patients across the United States who are undiagnosed or unaware of their condition. The goal may then be to educate those patients, get them to see a physician and thereby benefit from the intensive insulin management offered by your organization. When the content development is grounded in strategy, everyone contributing to marketing automation is clear on what is to be created – and more importantly, why.
  2. Identify the target audience. Articulate in writing and share with everyone working on marketing automation efforts target market demographics. Here is a basic demographic profile for the proposed marketing automation campaign outlined above:
  3. Identify the target persona. This goes far beyond target audience, detailing the personality traits, fears, interests and more about the actual person who will read the content coming out of the marketing automation effort. For example, this person may:
  • Be overweight
  • Have a relative with type 2 diabetes
  • Not be physically active
  • Have had gestational diabetes
  • Have had polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Be adverse to seeking medical help
  1. Survey the target audience. Ask questions about what concerns them most about diabetes. Use responses as topics for individual pieces of content. Validate target persona criteria with surveys, too.
  2. Create the editorial calendar. Google Docs is a simple way to track content assignments. Outline due date, content piece subject or working title, type of post (see #6, below), and a column for project managers to mark when each piece has been completed. Give all project managers or contributors access, depending on the size and internal structure of your organization.
  3. Vary content types. Consider The Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas to add plenty of variety to content. The more varied, the more engaging for the target audience.
  4. Nail calls to action. Marketing automation is dead in the water without strong calls to action. High performers are those starting with “Yes,” as in, “Yes, make me healthier!” as well as those starting with strong action words, such as, “Connect with an expert” rather than “Learn more” or “Start today” instead of “Click here.”
  5. Call in the troops. The more contributors, the better, so long as they are each well trained in brand standards and the marketing automation strategy. Consider inviting guest contributors, too. It’s amazing the sheer volume of content that can be created by just a half dozen contributors.
  6. Upgrade the CRM. Automation only works well when it’s supported by a strong CRM. Infusionsoft is a good starting point, while Veeva and Cegedim are excellent choices for those looking to dominate an area of the medical device industry.
  7. Measure, report and respond. Regularly monitor performance analytics and produce marketing automation performance reports at least quarterly. Based upon this data, the marketing automation team can remain agile, maximizing efforts that are high performing and minimizing those that are low performing.

In which of these areas can your team make the most improvement? Pick three, and ratchet up your marketing automation efforts now.