The title of the research is:
Marketing Automation as a Key to Enhance Marketing Performance in Irish Non-Profit
Organisations play a central role in improving and enriching people lives and
civil society. Cuts in funding and the decrease of organisations providing
services have created a greater pressure and more difficult challenges for the Irish
Non-Profit sector. Non-Profit
Organisations deliver a wide variety of services – in health, social services,
education, emergency relief, culture, recreation, social justice, civil and
human rights. It is crucial to provide them with tools to improve performance.
The research explores
the potential of Irish Non-Profit Organisations to use Marketing Automation
solutions to improve their marketing mixes.
review was divided into three sections: the first section provides a definition
of Marketing Automation and the solutions typically involved in Marketing
Automation software; the section that follows illustrates the current use of
Marketing Automation technologies by organisations; and the final section addresses
the issues faced on the adoption and implementation of marketing by Non-Profit
Case Study is the
methodology selected to research; case companies are going to be studied by the
conduction of semi-structured interviews in order to answer the research question:
How can Marketing Automation contribute to improve Marketing performance in
Irish Non-Profit Organisations?
The value of the
research relies on: 1) the evaluation of the use and impact of Marketing
Automation solutions, and 2) the definition of which Marketing Automation
solutions can be adopted by Irish Non-Profit Organisations to overcome their
main limitations when implementing marketing strategies with the aim to obtain
Marketing Resource Management (MRM) is de?ned as a set of processes and
capabilities that aim to enhance an enterprise’s ability to optimise the use of
internal and external marketing resources. MRM involves the de?nition and implementation
of processes and software solutions to plan, budget, execute and measure the
impact of the marketing efforts (Doyle, 2003).
According to Todor (2016) Marketing Automation is the use of software to
automate marketing processes such as customer segmentation, marketing analysis,
customer relationship management, campaign management, channel management,
content management and competition monitoring. Marketing Automation makes
processes, that would have otherwise been performed manually, much more
efficient, and makes new processes possible.
Marketing Automation solutions typically include: landing page support,
lead management and scoring, campaign management, email marketing, dynamic
content and analytics.
Marketing Automation software allows organisations to personalise
landing pages on the Websites based on the knowledge of the characteristics and
behaviours of the visitors. In addition, it also provides templates for landing
pages design and A/B testing to allow marketers build landing pages customised
for different target segments and to determine which landing pages have the
best results driving conversions (Lamont, 2015).
Management and Scoring
A lead is the contact and demographic information of a customer who is
interested in a specific product or service. Marketing Automation is used by
marketers to generate leads, to create customer interest into the products of
services offered by an organisation. The lead is created when the customer
express interest, then each lead is prioritised based on the likehood of
becoming a customer. Nurturing leads is the implementation of marketing and
sales customised follow-up processes to convert a lead into a customer (Todor,
Marketers can analyse data of the customers by tracking, monitoring and
managing the progress of marketing campaigns, since the first time the
customers view a product or service and when those same customers purchase the
product or service (Todor, 2016). Automation marketing platforms allow
marketers to implement marketing campaigns ranging from simple to complex
campaigns integrating different online channels through a visual campaign
builder 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 the
implementation of campaigns across multiple channels, including email, display,
search and social media. It also provides the tools to measure the contribution
of each channel in driving a conversion and to determine the Return of
Investment of each campaign implemented.
According to Rowe (2016), Email Marketing software provides marketers
with email scheduling, including autoresponders for forms and landing pages;
personalised messaging with automatic segmentation and content that changes
based on prospect engagement; and optimised sending that is supported by A/B
Email Marketing technologies enable marketers to implement automated email
campaigns, including segmentation to deliver timely, personalised emails, to
increase the interaction and communication between a company and potential
customers. This interaction and communication is customised in a level that
allows marketers to enhance interest in the product or services offered by the
company to finally trigger the buying decision (Todor, 2017).
Personalising content is one of the most important characteristics of
Marketing Automation. Dynamic content is technique used by marketers to
communicate their value proposition effectively in each stage of lead lifecycle,
based on the analysis of the information about the prospect, his interests and
past behaviour (Todor, 2016).
Marketing Automation solutions integrate data of different sources to
provide an understanding of the customers online behaviours in order to deliver
timely and relevant automated communications for potential and existing
customers according to their individual needs with the aim to create a personalised
experience at every specific customer interaction across all channels (Järvinen
& Taiminen, 2015).
According to Gordon and Perrey (2015), advances in data, modelling and
automated analysis are creating ever more re?ned ways of targeting and
measuring the returns on marketing investments, while generating powerful understanding
about consumers’ behaviours.
Marketing Automation provides the ability to perform, track and measure
the marketing efforts. It gives a fuller view of the customer behaviour by
tracking individually identi?able visitors using search data, website, email
campaigns and social content to gain a richer history of what they have done
and what they are likely to want to see next, (Grossberg, 2016).
Marketing Automation allows marketers to capture more customer
behaviours from more sources, the customer data and each individual’s
behaviours give greater precision to inform and drive every interaction in real
time and make more feasible to guide a prospect to a buy decision (Todor,
Marketing Automation in Leading Organisations
Leading organisations have a clear focus on innovation. Innovation
blends the art and science of anticipating the future. It requires
understanding what the full potential of technologies will be, of knowing what
customers need and want, and building organisational and ecosystem wide
capabilities to execute and deliver (Ikeda & Marshall, 2016).
Companies that embed new technologies into their business strategies and
processes can achieve competitiveness by: enabling a differentiated and
engaging customer experience, obtaining fast-mover advantage with more rapid software-based
innovation and increasing the capacity to innovate by reducing waste and
shifting resources to high-value activities (Lesser & Ban, 2016).
Leading companies have adopted Marketing Automation solutions to drive
better performance. A quarter of all B2B Fortune 500 companies are already
using Marketing Automation, along with 76% of the world’s largest SaaS
companies (Pardot, 2013).
The global Marketing Automation software market size was valued at USD
3.35 billion in 2016; and according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc., it
is expected to reach USD 7.63 billion by 2025.
Earlier, the applications of the technology were limited to large
enterprises. However, after recognizing the importance of the technology, Small
and Mid-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) also started integrating them, SMEs are
expected to become the largest segment in the market. The early adopters of
this technology were mainly Business-to-Business industries, including
manufacturing, software, and business services. Currently, various
Business-to-Consumer models, such as financial services, media &
entertainment, healthcare, and retail, also have adopted the technology (Grand View
Marketing Automation can have an extraordinary positive impact on
revenue and efficiency. According to the research “State of Marketing
Automation Benchmarks for Success” conducted by Adestra (2017), the most
important objectives of a Marketing Automation strategy specified by marketers are:
optimising productivity, increasing marketing ROI, improving campaign
management, improving database quality, acquiring more customers, measuring
performance and aligning Marketing and Sales efforts.
Marketers stated that the biggest benefits of Marketing Automation are:
saving time, increasing customer engagement, delivering more timely
communications and increasing opportunities including up-selling (Adestra,
Marketer vs Machine, 2015).
The “Lead-Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study” conducted by the
Lenskold Group (2013) indicates better performance of companies that have
adopted Marketing Automation solutions compared to companies that haven’t: a) 45%
regularly repurpose content for efficiency, compared with 28% of companies
without Marketing Automation, b) 54% capture intelligence for the sales team,
compared to 25% without Marketing Automation, c) 49% customise content to the
Buyer Journey stages, compared to 21% without Marketing Automation, and d) 59%
can use intelligent targeting to trigger content, compared to 17% without Marketing
in Nonprofit Organisations
Levine and Zahradnik (2012) state that Nonpro?t Organisations are faced
with 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 service
contracts, and fierce competition for foundation and support.
In addition, the rapid adoption of technologies by consumers, how
consumers interact with online channels, and the increasing proportion of
consumers that are more savvy and difficult to reach, have had a strong impact
on organisations and how they plan and deliver marketing strategies (Quinton
& Fennemore, 2013).
In Ireland, funding cuts have led to a dramatic downsizing of the
community and voluntary sector; services and programmes have been reduced or
suspended or cut entirely. Current factors in the Irish Non-Profit sector (less
funding, fewer organisations and more demands for services) have created great
pressures for the sector and present serious challenges for organisations. Organisations
have to really inspire by communicating a compelling vision for progressive
change and developing and delivering smart plans and strategies (The Wheel,
Although Non-Profit Organisations employees acknowledge marketing is
essential to their organisation, they identify the lack of financial resources,
along with lack of time and training, as major limitations in the development
and implementation of marketing plans. On the other hand, they are often
confused 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 of
online media and marketing technologies has become a key factor in helping Non-Profit
Organisations manage the new challenges. While website progression and the use
of online media have become rapid in the sector, Non-Profit Organisations are
not using the marketing technologies to their full potential because of a lack
of 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 a
method for managing brands, generating awareness of causes and for fundraising
(Quinton & Fennemore, 2013).
Furthermore, an increasing number of organisations are determined to
increase revenue and expand services by using the Internet to conduct market
research and implement email and web-based fundraising campaigns (Levine &.
Non-Profit Organisations are using multiple online
channels 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 integrating
marketing efforts to deliver a personalised and consistent experience for each
of their multi-target markets.
The increasing complexity of marketing in a
multichannel, real-time environment and the pressure to increase marketing
performance demand an improvement of the marketing processes in the Non-Profit
sector. Thus, Non-Profit Organisations have to rethink how to implement better marketing
Marketing Automation appears to address the
major limitations on delivering effective and efficient personalised marketing communications.
Marketing Automation is a set of tactics and software that automate the
interactions between an organisation and its most important target segments
based 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 a
level of targeting and customisation that improve the business operations as a
Marketing Automation could provide Non-Profit
Organisations with better solutions to: recognise target segments by developing
insights on the interests and behaviours of every prospect and customer,
connect and build relationships with the different target segments by
personalising each online interaction of their customer journey, convert
prospects 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 respond
efficiently to their target markets needs by gathering and analysing
information about their online behaviour and interests to understand the different
responses to the marketing mix and deliver personalised communications that
appeal to their multi-targets: clients, volunteers, and donors simultaneously
with the aim of improving customer retention and increasing donations and
The research purpose is first to evaluate the use and impact of
Marketing Automation solutions in a top-performing company and second to determine
which Marketing Automation practices and solutions can be adopted by Irish Non-Profit
Organisations to enhance their marketing performance.
The research question of the study is:
How can Marketing Automation contribute to improve Marketing performance
in Irish Non-Profit Organisations?
The research objectives are:
evaluate the contribution of Marketing Automation on an organisation’s marketing
perceptions and practices in relation to the use of Marketing Automation
solutions in the Irish Non-Profit sector.
the ways in which Marketing Automation can contribute to enhance marketing
performance for Irish Non-Profit Organisations and how they can adopt Marketing
Automation technologies that are feasible according to their available
Qualitative research is the process of observing and measuring the
phenomenon in order to develop concepts and theories including rich and deep
understanding of the phenomenon under study (Ruiz, 2017). A Qualitative
Research is required in this study to develop an understanding of how Marketing
Automation solutions have contributed to improve the marketing performance in
certain companies and how those solutions could be embraced by Irish Non-Profit
Organisations to see the same results from their marketing efforts. Case study was
selected as the methodology to research in this study.
George and Bennett (2004) define case study research as the detailed
examination of an aspect of a historical episode to develop or test historical
explanations that may be generalizable to other events. According to Yin (2013),
a case study is an empirical enquiry that investigates a contemporary
phenomenon in depth and within its real-world context, especially when the
boundaries between phenomenon and context may not be clearly evident.
According to Tumele (2015), the conduction process of a case study
research has to adhere to a standard procedure to ensure a legitimate and
useful result, the phases involved in the conduction of a case study research
are: research design, data collection, data analysis and composition.
The research design is the logical sequence to determine the case study
type considering the research question and the propositions, select the unit(s)
of analysis and define how the data shall be collected and interpreted. The
data collection phase includes the training of the investigators, developing a
protocol including an overview of the field procedures and questions to be used,
screening of candidate cases and conduction of a pilot case study. The data
analysis phase is the process to examine, categorize, tabulate and test evidence
in order to uncover patterns, determine explanations, construct conclusions and
build theory. The final phase is the composition which synthesises the results
and 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 the
marketing strategies performance, second, to investigate if Marketing
Automation solutions are being used by Non-Profit Organisations, what solutions
are being implemented and what are the perceptions in relation to the use of those
solutions; and finally, to explore the ways in which Marketing Automation
solutions can make the marketing processes efficient in Non-Profit
A single case study is appropriate for the first objective of the
research, as knowledge on Marketing Automation remains in its infancy, single
cases are especially fruitful when exploring new phenomena. The selection of
the case company is going to result from a case sampling strategy, a type of
purposeful sampling to identify a case company that had successfully
implemented Marketing Automation solutions. Although, the number of cases to be
studied for the second and third objectives is not defined yet, the selection
of the companies is going to result from the same technique, a case sampling
The data collection will be obtained through semi-structured interviews.
Semi-structured interviews are one-on-one conversations with the purpose of
persistently and progressively seeking new knowledge around a research question.
Its interactive, flexible but focused nature still makes them one of the most effective
sources of data about consumers (Arsel, 2017).
According to Arsel (2017), there are four steps for semi-structured interview
design and execution: 1) settling a epistemological position
to develop a clear understanding of what revelations are expected and what
theories can be constructed with the interview, 2) preparing an interview
protocol to outline the interview: listing key points of exploration, preparing
provisional questions, defining planned probes and transitions and knowing the
participants, 3) when conducting the interview, it is necessary to explain the
study and the interview procedure, ensure that the investigator is not leading
the participants, and probing by listening to the participants’ answers to
identify opportunities to dig deeper, and 4) iterate: reflecting back on the
experience before moving on to the next interview, this step should include a revision
of the interpretations and questions and a repetitive analysis of the new data in
light of the existing data set until the development of a robust and rich
analysis will be carried out by a four-step thematization procedure that
includes: 1) data condensation: obtaining a subset of the original data which
contains relevant categories of information 2) data display: organizing, summarizing
and simplifying the data and presenting inferences and conclusions, and 3)
conclusion drawing: detailed description of the results, and 4) conclusion
verification: findings are going to be reviewed and verified by the case
companies to increase the validity of the results.
chart was developed to show the tasks and events required to conduct the