The title of the research is:Marketing Automation as a Key to Enhance Marketing Performance in Irish Non-ProfitOrganisations. INTRODUCTION Non-ProfitOrganisations play a central role in improving and enriching people lives andcivil society. Cuts in funding and the decrease of organisations providingservices have created a greater pressure and more difficult challenges for the IrishNon-Profit sector. Non-ProfitOrganisations deliver a wide variety of services – in health, social services,education, emergency relief, culture, recreation, social justice, civil andhuman rights. It is crucial to provide them with tools to improve performance.
The research exploresthe potential of Irish Non-Profit Organisations to use Marketing Automationsolutions to improve their marketing mixes. The literaturereview was divided into three sections: the first section provides a definitionof Marketing Automation and the solutions typically involved in MarketingAutomation software; the section that follows illustrates the current use ofMarketing Automation technologies by organisations; and the final section addressesthe issues faced on the adoption and implementation of marketing by Non-ProfitOrganisations. Case Study is themethodology selected to research; case companies are going to be studied by theconduction of semi-structured interviews in order to answer the research question:How can Marketing Automation contribute to improve Marketing performance inIrish Non-Profit Organisations? The value of theresearch relies on: 1) the evaluation of the use and impact of MarketingAutomation solutions, and 2) the definition of which Marketing Automationsolutions can be adopted by Irish Non-Profit Organisations to overcome theirmain limitations when implementing marketing strategies with the aim to obtainbetter results. LITERATURE REVIEWI. Marketing AutomationMarketing Resource Management (MRM) is de?ned as a set of processes andcapabilities that aim to enhance an enterprise’s ability to optimise the use ofinternal and external marketing resources.
MRM involves the de?nition and implementationof processes and software solutions to plan, budget, execute and measure theimpact of the marketing efforts (Doyle, 2003).According to Todor (2016) Marketing Automation is the use of software toautomate marketing processes such as customer segmentation, marketing analysis,customer relationship management, campaign management, channel management,content management and competition monitoring. Marketing Automation makesprocesses, that would have otherwise been performed manually, much moreefficient, and makes new processes possible. Marketing Automation solutions typically include: landing page support,lead management and scoring, campaign management, email marketing, dynamiccontent and analytics.
1. LandingPage SupportMarketing Automation software allows organisations to personaliselanding pages on the Websites based on the knowledge of the characteristics andbehaviours of the visitors. In addition, it also provides templates for landingpages design and A/B testing to allow marketers build landing pages customisedfor different target segments and to determine which landing pages have thebest results driving conversions (Lamont, 2015).2. LeadManagement and ScoringA lead is the contact and demographic information of a customer who isinterested in a specific product or service. Marketing Automation is used bymarketers to generate leads, to create customer interest into the products ofservices offered by an organisation.
The lead is created when the customerexpress interest, then each lead is prioritised based on the likehood ofbecoming a customer. Nurturing leads is the implementation of marketing andsales customised follow-up processes to convert a lead into a customer (Todor,2016).3. CampaignManagementMarketers can analyse data of the customers by tracking, monitoring andmanaging the progress of marketing campaigns, since the first time thecustomers view a product or service and when those same customers purchase theproduct or service (Todor, 2016). Automation marketing platforms allowmarketers to implement marketing campaigns ranging from simple to complexcampaigns integrating different online channels through a visual campaignbuilder that leverages the behaviours of the target audiences (Todor, 2017).Marketers use campaign management software for planning, executing,analysing and optimising advertising campaigns. The software allows theimplementation of campaigns across multiple channels, including email, display,search and social media.
It also provides the tools to measure the contributionof each channel in driving a conversion and to determine the Return ofInvestment of each campaign implemented.4. EmailMarketingAccording to Rowe (2016), Email Marketing software provides marketerswith email scheduling, including autoresponders for forms and landing pages;personalised messaging with automatic segmentation and content that changesbased on prospect engagement; and optimised sending that is supported by A/Btesting. Email Marketing technologies enable marketers to implement automated emailcampaigns, including segmentation to deliver timely, personalised emails, toincrease the interaction and communication between a company and potentialcustomers. This interaction and communication is customised in a level thatallows marketers to enhance interest in the product or services offered by thecompany to finally trigger the buying decision (Todor, 2017).5. Dynamic ContentPersonalising content is one of the most important characteristics ofMarketing Automation. Dynamic content is technique used by marketers tocommunicate their value proposition effectively in each stage of lead lifecycle,based on the analysis of the information about the prospect, his interests andpast behaviour (Todor, 2016).
Marketing Automation solutions integrate data of different sources toprovide an understanding of the customers online behaviours in order to delivertimely and relevant automated communications for potential and existingcustomers according to their individual needs with the aim to create a personalisedexperience at every specific customer interaction across all channels (Järvinen& Taiminen, 2015). 6. AnalyticsAccording to Gordon and Perrey (2015), advances in data, modelling andautomated analysis are creating ever more re?ned ways of targeting andmeasuring the returns on marketing investments, while generating powerful understandingabout consumers’ behaviours. Marketing Automation provides the ability to perform, track and measurethe marketing efforts. It gives a fuller view of the customer behaviour bytracking individually identi?able visitors using search data, website, emailcampaigns and social content to gain a richer history of what they have doneand what they are likely to want to see next, (Grossberg, 2016). Marketing Automation allows marketers to capture more customerbehaviours from more sources, the customer data and each individual’sbehaviours give greater precision to inform and drive every interaction in realtime and make more feasible to guide a prospect to a buy decision (Todor,2017).II. Marketing Automation in Leading OrganisationsLeading organisations have a clear focus on innovation.
Innovationblends the art and science of anticipating the future. It requiresunderstanding what the full potential of technologies will be, of knowing whatcustomers need and want, and building organisational and ecosystem widecapabilities to execute and deliver (Ikeda & Marshall, 2016). Companies that embed new technologies into their business strategies andprocesses can achieve competitiveness by: enabling a differentiated andengaging customer experience, obtaining fast-mover advantage with more rapid software-basedinnovation and increasing the capacity to innovate by reducing waste andshifting resources to high-value activities (Lesser & Ban, 2016).Leading companies have adopted Marketing Automation solutions to drivebetter performance. A quarter of all B2B Fortune 500 companies are alreadyusing Marketing Automation, along with 76% of the world’s largest SaaScompanies (Pardot, 2013).
The global Marketing Automation software market size was valued at USD3.35 billion in 2016; and according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc., itis expected to reach USD 7.63 billion by 2025. Earlier, the applications of the technology were limited to largeenterprises.
However, after recognizing the importance of the technology, Smalland Mid-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) also started integrating them, SMEs areexpected to become the largest segment in the market. The early adopters ofthis technology were mainly Business-to-Business industries, includingmanufacturing, software, and business services. Currently, variousBusiness-to-Consumer models, such as financial services, media &entertainment, healthcare, and retail, also have adopted the technology (Grand ViewResearch, 2017). Marketing Automation can have an extraordinary positive impact onrevenue and efficiency.
According to the research “State of MarketingAutomation Benchmarks for Success” conducted by Adestra (2017), the mostimportant objectives of a Marketing Automation strategy specified by marketers are:optimising productivity, increasing marketing ROI, improving campaignmanagement, improving database quality, acquiring more customers, measuringperformance and aligning Marketing and Sales efforts.Marketers stated that the biggest benefits of Marketing Automation are:saving time, increasing customer engagement, delivering more timelycommunications and increasing opportunities including up-selling (Adestra,Marketer vs Machine, 2015).The “Lead-Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study” conducted by theLenskold Group (2013) indicates better performance of companies that haveadopted Marketing Automation solutions compared to companies that haven’t: a) 45%regularly repurpose content for efficiency, compared with 28% of companieswithout Marketing Automation, b) 54% capture intelligence for the sales team,compared to 25% without Marketing Automation, c) 49% customise content to theBuyer Journey stages, compared to 21% without Marketing Automation, and d) 59%can use intelligent targeting to trigger content, compared to 17% without MarketingAutomation.III. Marketingin Nonprofit OrganisationsLevine and Zahradnik (2012) state that Nonpro?t Organisations are facedwith different challenges: ever-increasing competition for clients, contracts,and funding sources; strive to remain ?scally solvent amid; strains of the?nancial crisis; reduced government funding, shift from grants to servicecontracts, and fierce competition for foundation and support.
In addition, the rapid adoption of technologies by consumers, howconsumers interact with online channels, and the increasing proportion ofconsumers that are more savvy and difficult to reach, have had a strong impacton organisations and how they plan and deliver marketing strategies (Quinton& Fennemore, 2013). In Ireland, funding cuts have led to a dramatic downsizing of thecommunity and voluntary sector; services and programmes have been reduced orsuspended or cut entirely. Current factors in the Irish Non-Profit sector (lessfunding, fewer organisations and more demands for services) have created greatpressures for the sector and present serious challenges for organisations.
Organisationshave to really inspire by communicating a compelling vision for progressivechange and developing and delivering smart plans and strategies (The Wheel,2017). Although Non-Profit Organisations employees acknowledge marketing isessential to their organisation, they identify the lack of financial resources,along with lack of time and training, as major limitations in the developmentand implementation of marketing plans. On the other hand, they are oftenconfused about how to market and tailor efforts given multi-targets:volunteers, donors and clients (Parker, Wachter, Sloan & Ghomi, 2016).
More proactive marketing in a for-pro?t model, including the use ofonline media and marketing technologies has become a key factor in helping Non-ProfitOrganisations manage the new challenges. While website progression and the useof online media have become rapid in the sector, Non-Profit Organisations arenot using the marketing technologies to their full potential because of a lackof expertise and financial resources (Levine & Zahradnik, 2012).Non-Profit Organisations have established an online presence via Websites,and are trying to exploit the potential of online social network platforms as amethod for managing brands, generating awareness of causes and for fundraising(Quinton & Fennemore, 2013). Furthermore, an increasing number of organisations are determined toincrease revenue and expand services by using the Internet to conduct marketresearch and implement email and web-based fundraising campaigns (Levine &.Zahradnik, 2012). RESEARCH QUESTION Non-Profit Organisations are using multiple onlinechannels to raise funds, communicate with donors, volunteers and clients,increase awareness and improve relationships with their target markets. However,it remains questionable if they are using channels and communications strategically,considering their multi-target markets’ interests and needs and integratingmarketing efforts to deliver a personalised and consistent experience for eachof their multi-target markets.
The increasing complexity of marketing in amultichannel, real-time environment and the pressure to increase marketingperformance demand an improvement of the marketing processes in the Non-Profitsector. Thus, Non-Profit Organisations have to rethink how to implement better marketingmixes. Marketing Automation appears to address themajor limitations on delivering effective and efficient personalised marketing communications.Marketing Automation is a set of tactics and software that automate theinteractions between an organisation and its most important target segmentsbased on customer insights into their interests, behaviours and buying process.Marketing Automation software connects sales, marketing, and customer service,integrating information and data to better understand the customers and allow alevel of targeting and customisation that improve the business operations as awhole. Marketing Automation could provide Non-ProfitOrganisations with better solutions to: recognise target segments by developinginsights on the interests and behaviours of every prospect and customer,connect and build relationships with the different target segments bypersonalising each online interaction of their customer journey, convertprospects into customers by implementing data-driven digital campaigns,increase productivity and reduce work by automating marketing communications.
Marketing Automation could enable Non-Profit Organisations to respondefficiently to their target markets needs by gathering and analysinginformation about their online behaviour and interests to understand the differentresponses to the marketing mix and deliver personalised communications thatappeal to their multi-targets: clients, volunteers, and donors simultaneouslywith the aim of improving customer retention and increasing donations andsupport.The research purpose is first to evaluate the use and impact ofMarketing Automation solutions in a top-performing company and second to determinewhich Marketing Automation practices and solutions can be adopted by Irish Non-ProfitOrganisations to enhance their marketing performance. The research question of the study is:How can Marketing Automation contribute to improve Marketing performancein Irish Non-Profit Organisations?The research objectives are:1. Toevaluate the contribution of Marketing Automation on an organisation’s marketingperformance.
2. To investigateperceptions and practices in relation to the use of Marketing Automationsolutions in the Irish Non-Profit sector.3. To explorethe ways in which Marketing Automation can contribute to enhance marketingperformance for Irish Non-Profit Organisations and how they can adopt MarketingAutomation technologies that are feasible according to their availableresources. RESEARCH METHOD Qualitative research is the process of observing and measuring thephenomenon in order to develop concepts and theories including rich and deepunderstanding of the phenomenon under study (Ruiz, 2017). A QualitativeResearch is required in this study to develop an understanding of how MarketingAutomation solutions have contributed to improve the marketing performance incertain companies and how those solutions could be embraced by Irish Non-ProfitOrganisations to see the same results from their marketing efforts.
Case study wasselected as the methodology to research in this study. George and Bennett (2004) define case study research as the detailedexamination of an aspect of a historical episode to develop or test historicalexplanations that may be generalizable to other events. According to Yin (2013),a case study is an empirical enquiry that investigates a contemporaryphenomenon in depth and within its real-world context, especially when theboundaries between phenomenon and context may not be clearly evident.According to Tumele (2015), the conduction process of a case studyresearch has to adhere to a standard procedure to ensure a legitimate anduseful result, the phases involved in the conduction of a case study researchare: research design, data collection, data analysis and composition.
The research design is the logical sequence to determine the case studytype considering the research question and the propositions, select the unit(s)of analysis and define how the data shall be collected and interpreted. Thedata collection phase includes the training of the investigators, developing aprotocol including an overview of the field procedures and questions to be used,screening of candidate cases and conduction of a pilot case study. The dataanalysis phase is the process to examine, categorize, tabulate and test evidencein order to uncover patterns, determine explanations, construct conclusions andbuild theory. The final phase is the composition which synthesises the resultsand displays evidence (Tumele, 2015).
There are three objectives of the case study method in the research:first, to evaluate the contribution of Marketing Automation to improve themarketing strategies performance, second, to investigate if MarketingAutomation solutions are being used by Non-Profit Organisations, what solutionsare being implemented and what are the perceptions in relation to the use of thosesolutions; and finally, to explore the ways in which Marketing Automationsolutions can make the marketing processes efficient in Non-ProfitOrganisations.A single case study is appropriate for the first objective of theresearch, as knowledge on Marketing Automation remains in its infancy, singlecases are especially fruitful when exploring new phenomena. The selection ofthe case company is going to result from a case sampling strategy, a type ofpurposeful sampling to identify a case company that had successfullyimplemented Marketing Automation solutions. Although, the number of cases to bestudied for the second and third objectives is not defined yet, the selectionof the companies is going to result from the same technique, a case samplingstrategy.
The data collection will be obtained through semi-structured interviews.Semi-structured interviews are one-on-one conversations with the purpose ofpersistently and progressively seeking new knowledge around a research question.Its interactive, flexible but focused nature still makes them one of the most effectivesources of data about consumers (Arsel, 2017).
According to Arsel (2017), there are four steps for semi-structured interviewdesign and execution: 1) settling a epistemological positionto develop a clear understanding of what revelations are expected and whattheories can be constructed with the interview, 2) preparing an interviewprotocol to outline the interview: listing key points of exploration, preparingprovisional questions, defining planned probes and transitions and knowing theparticipants, 3) when conducting the interview, it is necessary to explain thestudy and the interview procedure, ensure that the investigator is not leadingthe participants, and probing by listening to the participants’ answers toidentify opportunities to dig deeper, and 4) iterate: reflecting back on theexperience before moving on to the next interview, this step should include a revisionof the interpretations and questions and a repetitive analysis of the new data inlight of the existing data set until the development of a robust and richtheory.The dataanalysis will be carried out by a four-step thematization procedure thatincludes: 1) data condensation: obtaining a subset of the original data whichcontains relevant categories of information 2) data display: organizing, summarizingand simplifying the data and presenting inferences and conclusions, and 3)conclusion drawing: detailed description of the results, and 4) conclusionverification: findings are going to be reviewed and verified by the casecompanies to increase the validity of the results.A Gantchart was developed to show the tasks and events required to conduct theresearch: