According to research by Wrike, as many as 33% of UK marketers say that automation isn’t something they are considering and 34% don’t believe it would give their company a competitive edge.
Marketing automation is the use of a technology platform to automate voluminous and repetitive tasks – especially across channels like email, web and social. It saves a business time and team resources, so its marketers can focus on strategy, not on monotony. It helps remove the margin for human error. It nurtures the customer throughout their lifecycle on the scale to build return on investment.
Audiences are dispersed across an increasing number of channels, who are subject to more noise than ever before. If the content they see doesn’t resonate, it’s ignored. Marketers cannot be in a hundred places at once pressing ‘go’ on the tailored messages they need to communicate with their customers in that specific moment in time.
With this in mind, marketing automation provides marketers with a software platform that uses its programmed intelligence to carry out the heavy lifting they need to do en masse. It enables marketers to streamline tasks such as demand generation, segmentation, nurturing, cross-sell and up-sell, and customer retention. Basically, it makes your life easier and your efforts much more effective. Tactics like one-to-one marketing, dynamic personalisation, and predictive campaigns wouldn’t be possible without automation.
This way, the marketer becomes the conductor of their orchestra - being able to pull the strings and bang the drum all at the same time at the flick of the wrist. To stay with this example, this inevitably produces a far more melodic marketing harmony than the noise created if they were to attempt to play all the instruments themselves.
Some examples of what marketing automation can actually do for a business:
● Brings new customers to the shopfront - be it through social media, email or paid search, automation efficiently brings additional traffic to a marketer’s website.
● Gives customers the right information to the millisecond of when they need it – as a prospective buyer moves from hello to purchase, it uses tried and tested formulas to give them the right information at the right time.
● Brings customers back you thought you’d lost – marketing automation doesn’t take it personally when a potential customer turns their back on your business. Nor does it forget anyone it meets. It instead offers a multitude of opportunities to bring them back and make a purchase.
● Prompts human intervention – it will alert when it needs help from a human, with a clear indication of where there is an issue and what the issue is.
● Gets to know each customer better and better – once a shopper has identified themselves by becoming a customer or signing up for the newsletter, it will continue to learn about that individual and nurture their future brand engagement with you.
● Helps paint the bigger picture – it returns insights and helps very quickly offer visibility of marketing campaign success and failure.
On the horizon, there are many exciting use cases of how marketing automation will help marketers in the near future. Data science and machine learning transform the way marketers can understand and target shoppers. Instead of creating separate campaigns for a multitude of different scenarios, the next generation of marketing automation platforms will allow marketers to use personification to deliver a cohesive cross-channel experience. By quickly identifying which persona a new shopper is, the system will decide which experience a website visitor should receive and deliver it consistently across email, mobile and web.
Automation platforms will also help marketers better understand their audience by providing an in-depth analysis of the entire database or key customer segments, tracking the effect marketing is having, spotting trends and highlighting segments that should be targeted.
Marketing automation certainly stands to make better use of the marketer’s time and the data businesses collect — returning actionable insights and delivering real-time marketing assets when they are most relevant.
Written by Mike Austin, CEO & co-founder, Fresh Relevance.
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