Large marketing organisations. They’re all the same, aren’t they? Since their inception, they have been viewed with a stigma around their operations; a siloed internal setup, segmenting their customer base into basic markets with no further insight and using simple one-size-fits-all approaches when it comes to outreach and service.
A stereotypical view of an organisation assumes that all technology buyers in B2B companies with more than around 5,000 employees act in the same way and can be treated in the same manner. Or that if a customer takes a certain action, the marketing response should always be the same – automatic emails to website visitors, for example.
But the game has changed - both for marketers and for the customer. The customer journey has become much more unpredictable, with a number of digital touchpoints - and with contact offline thrown into the mix too, marketing organisations have had to become savvier in finding, securing and nurturing customers at any point in that journey. Not only this, but customers are expecting to be treated more like individuals than ever before; each customer is a human and wants personalised treatment. The approach that companies take is now under much closer scrutiny.
Step in marketing automation. With predictive and artificial intelligence technologies embedded into the system, a new customer can have a personalised experience, depending on where and when they join the customer journey. These technologies can also anticipate behaviours, automate outreach at best possible times and suggest best possible ways to engage with customers, when to engage them and what to engage with.
The latest system updates are giving marketers a technology that allows them to personalise the customer journey through intelligent automation, streamlining processes and ensuring all consumers are satisfied. Activities in marketing can be measured across more channels than ever before, sending relevant customised content to the right customer or the right potential customer at just the right time.
It also can ensure marketing better partners with other sectors of the business - particularly sales - to show the return on investment for different activities and how they all impact business function.
One way that we as a company like to look at the difference between today’s more advanced marketing automation platforms and the previous generations still in use at many companies is to think of what it was like to use MapQuest circa 2003 compared with Waze or Google Maps now. MapQuest was a significant improvement over physical maps, giving users a more convenient, computer-based way to get directions. But the technology it provided was static: it couldn’t alert you or adapt if conditions changed – if the driver made a wrong turn or an accident occurred ahead, for example. Today’s apps, on the other hand, are constantly updating to provide real-time insights on traffic or road conditions to get you to your destination in the shortest time.
Just like Google Maps and Waze, the latest marketing automation technology is able to track customers in real-time, making individual decisions on people to assess and optimise marketing activities to make sure companies are more effective in their customer service and outreach.
When integrated with all facets of a company - the website, social accounts, CRM and a host of other application infrastructures - marketing automation platforms can become enterprises’ de facto engagement database of record.
So, in this age of technological advancement, are all large marketing organisations the same? Not anymore.
By Michelle Huff, chief marketing officer at Act-On
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