Buyer's Guide: Reaping the Fruits of Marketing Automation Tools
This article is from the Publishing Executive Buyer's Guide which is a publisher's reference on emerging technology in the media industry. You can find other Buyer's Guide Sections here:
The magazine industry has proven itself resilient. Despite a still-recovering economy, PwC projects a modest increase in the global magazine market, rising in value from $81.9 billion in 2012 to reach $83.3 billion in 2017. The MPA reported a 5% overall increase in magazine advertising’s “footprint” across print and digital magazines for 2013.
This is all good news, however challenges remain for magazine publishers. While revenues are holding steady, their sources are shifting. According to Alliance for Audited Media, paid print subscriptions for U.S. consumer magazines were down 1.2% in the second half of 2013 and single-copy sales were down 11.1%. Balancing this, digital revenue streams are rising in prominence. Digital revenue from both circulation and advertising will account for 16% of total magazine industry revenues by 2017, up from less than 9% in 2013, according to PwC.
These shifts all indicate a future of greater digital revenue, digital engagement, digital audience development tactics, and a faster-paced, interactive marketing approach. Finding an audience and helping an audience find you becomes crucial, as does retaining and growing those audiences with savvy management of reader data. Those tasks are achieved differently from in the past, and increasingly with marketing automation tools.
Extending Your Reach
Marketing automation tools (such as HubSpot, Marketo, SilverPop, Eloqua) simplify and automate online marketing tasks. Basically, you set certain criteria and the system responds according to the rules. For example, you might have a rule that sends a follow up email to people who recently cancelled a subscription. Or your email newsletter program might tag individuals who read a specific article and follow up with similar content or a sponsor product suggestion.
Audience development and marketing automation tools can provide greater efficiency, agility, and insight by combining capabilities in analytics, multichannel distribution, and automation. These capabilities allow magazine publishers to optimize their marketing platforms to move faster and more responsively to market nuances. By automating what type of content is sent to certain users (whether they only opened an email without clicking or deeply engaged with email content), publishers can segment their audiences and send more meaningful content to users. That content, because it is more precisely targeted can then spur the actions publishers want (subscriptions, social shares, comments, etc.).
More sophisticated tools, particularly those geared toward B2C segments, are distinguished by their ability to manage huge databases of customer information such as purchase history, demographic information, an online behavior. A publisher might want to compare how a subscription campaign performed among various demographics or regions. Publishers can then orient specific content or campaigns toward individual segments.
Mobile capabilities play a large part in enabling an omnichannel presence. Even a simple email campaign must now accommodate any number of unknown platforms and devices. When evaluating marketing automation or email marketing providers, publishers should particularly explore their mobile testing capabilities, as well as their ability to adapt to swift market changes.