What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of “Marketing Automation”?
Are you thrilled by the prospect of automatic help, or somewhat scared, or even annoyed, because “automation” means people are redundant?
This is counterintuitive, but it’s a proven fact: it cannot work on its own and bring scalable results.
Let’s start with what marketing automation isn’t:
- It’s not a one-time wonder/ quick fix
- It’s not working without well-developed human tactics
- It’s not just about email marketing, (although it could be).
On the other hand, it is the process by which businesses utilize software to fortify marketing activities. Can it be the only marketing activity? Sure, if you want your business to stall and eventually wither.
What Is Marketing Automation About?
Business, marketing, and the sales cycle is a huge set of operations that is both demanding and time-consuming. Marketing automation makes these processes easier and may lead to your business growth if used properly.
Basically, it means that all the marketing departments must be synced, and a solid, verified strategy applied. The trick is that “verified” can have various meanings for various customers.
It further means that it has to be adjusted all the time. This is not a one-time activity where the system collects data, stratifies them, and creates content to be sent via e-mail. This is actually what bad marketing does: thinking that software should do all the work without thorough preparation on the marketer’s side.
Moreover, it is an efficient way to work with recurring tasks, like social media campaigns and regular email content, personalized for your customer.
Ideally, successful marketing automation combines automation with the plan: one simply cannot give proper results without the other.
Think of it as a house building: to have a mansion you need the best foundation. And to have the rock-hard foundation, you need good material. So it starts with the grain of sand. Every little detail counts in this metaphor. Otherwise, your house of splendor may as well collapse, no matter how stately it looks.
The proverbial grain of sand is the customer: they have to be at the center of your business universe. The relationship you are building with them has to be the one around which your marketing automation strategy revolves.
Furthermore, it means that the process does not end with sales. Customers’ online behavior, e-body language, and interaction with your business must be carefully observed, tracked, and incorporated into customer nurturing.
When your company hasn’t laid a well-developed marketing and sales plan, the following can happen: the departments’ success is slowed, the numbers keep plummeting. You need to have fresh leads, so someone decides that this is the point where marketing automation should fix things quickly. (Bad) marketers’ last resort is to buy email addresses and try to work with funnel’s middle. Going back to the mansion metaphor: it’s like you’re putting all the money in the middle floor, gilded with caryatids, while the foundation is crumbling.
Next, what may happen is that due to the funnel technique, customer friction is created. Customers become confused by random, unimportant material they usually get through automated content, because of the “make a lead- put them on the automated list- hand them over to the sales department” cycle.
To make the process successful the company needs to get to know all the automation parts and the subtle differences.
Your marketers need to understand that the funnel middle is fine as long as it has a solid funnel top.
What does it mean?
To make marketing automation successful, you need a large volume of leads that flow in a regular manner. If you have a certain amount of customers (inbound leads), what you shouldn’t do is take more from them. Because while you’re focused on that strategy, your competitors are fighting for the rest of the market (a huge pool, indeed). What if the numbers start falling steeply annually? Do you have a plan?
Building an extensive database necessary to automate marketing is a must. Having a nurturing, customer-centered strategy is the method.
This means that a marketer can’t rely on e-mail clicks if they want a long-lasting result. This also means that a marketer needs to do the hard work of “discovering” who their customers are, and the context of their purchases. To create a successful strategy, you need to give what they need in a timely manner: before they think.
Furthermore, the needs of your customer alter, and so do the places where they interact with your business. Sometimes it’s the email, sometimes it’s the website, sometimes it’s the Instagram. The website, your e-shop window has to be flawless: user-friendly, problem-solving, and alluring as well, just like the websites designed by the experts from a Houston web design company. There’s a sense of urgency to communicate with your customers across all your media so that you can be influential, and convert them.
How to Know If It’s Time to use Marketing Automation?
Before investing in any marketing automation tools, a marketer should think about the following:
- What does our lead list look like? Is it large? Do we constantly generate new leads?
- Do we know our customers by analyzing their digital behavior on ALL our channels?
- Does our content correlate to the trajectory of our customers?
- Is our customer strategy solid and proven?
- Do we know who works in terms of marketing, sales, and customer care?
Marketing automation is perfect for businesses that understand that software cannot work instead of you. Rather, it is a success for those who put great effort before automating any process. Go through the questions above, see where your company fits, and work from there.
It is needed, indeed, just make sure it serves for your company’s growth.
Author Byline: Liam Collins is a tech pundit and Web enthusiast working at TuiSpace.com. He spends most of his time reading and writing about the current affairs in the world of information technology. When he isn’t working, he likes going for long bike rides and walks in nature.