The 5 Most Important Marketing Campaign Software Applications


  • Marketing campaigns are needed to acquire sales leads and feed the sales funnel. It's a continuous process that is dramatically improved with the right technologies.
  • Marketing campaign software applications bring process automation, information reporting and scale to sales lead acquisitions.
  • There are dozens of marketing campaign technologies. But there are 5 marketing software technologies that operate as the underlying infrastructure apps needed to acquire high volumes of high-quality leads at an effective cost per lead.
Johnny Grow Revenue Growth Consulting

Marketing Campaign Software to Acquire More Leads at Less Cost

Marketing Campaign Research found that the Best-in-Class marketers (i.e., the top 15 percent) achieved an average of 11 percent more sales leads and much higher quality leads using a marketing campaign optimization process. These marketers managed more campaigns (an average of 4 to 9 in parallel) and more complex campaigns (such as omni-channel and integrated marketing campaigns.) They also made far more frequent changes to their lead generation programs based on real-time performance.

And as you might suspect they leveraged some common marketing campaign software apps to design, implement, measure and adjust their programs to achieve the top results.

Marketers are acquiring more Marketing Technologies (MarTech) for just this purpose. Gartner marketing technology surveys find that even as spending limits hit other parts of the company, MarTech purchases are on the rise and now account for 26.2% of the marketing budget. That's compared to 24.8% spend for media, 24.5% spend for in-house labor, and 23.7% spend for agencies, making MarTech the single biggest investment.

But it's not just about spending more money. It's about making the right investments. The research also shows there are 5 marketing campaign software tools that are most needed to meet the goal of acquiring the volume and quality of leads to fill the sales funnel.

Here are those 5 campaign technologies.


Marketing Automation Platforms

Sales lead management research findings published in the Marketing Transformation Report advised that marketing automation platforms (MAP), sometimes called marketing automation software or marketing clouds, are the most used campaign and lead management technology by far.

The MAP is the central marketing technology platform. It's the lead system of record and automates the six processes of digital lead tracking, lead acquisition, lead scoring, nurture campaigns, lead transfer to sales and lead analytics.

Some consultants suggest there are additional processes managed with this technology, and that's true, but they are really ancillary services that fold into the prior six.

The MAP performs some critical campaign management functions, such as the below.

  1. It creates target lists by filtering the customer or lead database according to the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), customer segments, personas or other target audience criteria.
  2. It builds rich customer profiles, via account enrichment (more on that below) to increase engagement relevance, personalization, context and conversions.
  3. It develops the outbound email or other distribution artifact, and the landing page and form to capture inbound responses or inquiries.
  4. It tracks visitor browsing and scores their online behaviors to determine when the lead is sales-ready. And when it is, it automatically forwards the lead to the salesforce along with their history or digital footprints.

This marketing campaign software application brings precision, process, scale and analysis to lead management processes.

Market leaders for this type of marketing campaign software include Adobe Experience Cloud and Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Marketing Campaign Software

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

The MAP and CRM software are symbiotic.

The MAP manages the lead from acquisition to transfer to the salesforce. CRM software  then manages the lead from the sale opportunity to closure. However, each app pulls data from the other throughout the buyer journey.

For example, campaigns executed in the MAP extract account and contact data from the CRM system to improve relevance and conversions. For existing customers, the MAP extracts customer firmographics, contact demographics, purchase history, service history and other data that aids personalization and improves offer conversions.

Similarly, even after the sales lead is transferred to the CRM system, the MAP must continuously update the lead or sale opportunity record in the CRM system, so the salesperson is aware of the leads continued interests and online behaviors. Both systems should contribute to the 360-degree customer view.

MAPs offer packaged integration to the more popular CRM systems. The integrations are typically quite minimal but can be extended using the constructs within the tool.

CRM and MAP Integration

A tight integration between the two systems is needed to convert buyer data into sales intelligence and maximize conversions.

CRM software market leaders include Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. SAP CRM and various Oracle CRM solutions are popular for customers that use those vendors ERP systems but are seldom considered otherwise.


Customer Data Platforms

This is the tool to deliver personalization at scale and increase conversions by high single digits.

Customer Data Platforms (CDP) use third party data or other data sources to append, update or replace account and contact data. It's a data enrichment tool and process that reviews lead, contact and account data in the CRM system and flags data inconsistencies, identifies bogus data, merges duplicate data, replaces inaccurate data, removes obsolete data and appends incomplete records.

The goal of customer data enrichment is not to get as much customer data as possible. But instead to get as much accurate and specific customer data as can be used for processes to acquire, grow and retain customers. Adding more data than you will use increases maintenance and cost but not value.

CDPs integrate to CRM software more often than the MAP but the MAP pulls the data from CRM as needed.

CRM Data Enrichment Process

Personalized digital communications are much more than inserting the contact's first name at the beginning of an email. To achieve customer engagement that resonates and contributes to a dialogue, the content should be personalized by customer type, buyer interest and purchase journey.

For example, there are significant differences between what's important to a manufacturing company or a financial services company, a big company or a small company, or the CEO or the IT director.

The ability to apply richer lead and customer profile records using demographic data (i.e., role, title), firmographic data (i.e., industry, company size) and behavioral data (buyer interests) allows you to appeal to what's most important to each person.


Campaign Conversion Tools

This is your suite of specialty apps to drive incremental improvements to campaign conversions.

Sometimes the process is called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and is aided by purpose-built conversion optimization tools.

The most common tools are A/B or multivariate testing apps. They can be applied to improve outbound engagement artifacts, such as email, or inbound inquiries such as website landing pages. Because campaign correspondence volume is high and conversion rates are low, even small improvements generate a noticeable impact to lead acquisitions volume and downstream sales funnel value.

For example, in several industries, B2B landing page conversions are about 3 percent. When we work with these clients to make improvements, it's common to increase the conversion rate to 6 percent. While only a 3 percent increase, that doubles the volume of lead acquisitions. And many of our clients have grown conversion rates even higher.

Another conversion tool is Conversational Marketing. It's highly effective at converting website visitors to new leads.

It uses a suite of automation tools, such as chatbots, natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence, to engage online visitors in one-on-one conversations, and gets them to complete an online registration form to acquire content or speak to a person.

Conversational Marketing

It's a relatively new sales lead conversion technology. The previously referenced research found that that adoption is still low, but Best-in-Class marketers overwhelmingly use this type of software.


Dashboards and Analytics

Marketing campaign analytics and reporting are essential for continuous performance improvements. The MAP or CRM system can tie every lead, customer and revenue dollar back to the campaign that sourced them.

But some important reporting remains elusive because it's not delivered with MAP or CRM software. For example, these systems generally don't capture costs so key reports such as campaign ROI and ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) must be custom made. And to make campaign ROI accurate you also have to solve the problem of campaign attribution.

It's important to resist the temptation to only measure metrics that are easy to measure and be without the reporting that delivers the insights needed to improve lead generation programs.

Dashboards are an effective tool to get the right information to the right marketers in real-time. But they too may need to be customized to deliver the most useful information.

Marketing Dashboard Campaign Portfolio

The dashboard above is one we created that captures important metrics, permits drill down to source data and displays dynamic links for Alerts and recommended Actions based on threshold values. It's those links that advance information from being interesting to being actionable.

Most dashboards only display historical data. Better dashboards shift from lagging to leading indicators. And the best dashboards permit metrics to be interactive, so marketers can perform What-If modeling and pro forma scenario planning.

About a century ago a legendary business leader named John Wanamaker said, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." Today we can configure campaign metrics and reports to know which half isn't working.

See the 5 most important marketing campaign software apps needed to acquire high volumes of high-quality leads at an effective cost per lead.

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