A Brief Guide to Marketing Automation
By Suraj Dubey Updated: 15 May 2020
So you’ve heard this term floating around, and it seems to be the infatuation among marketers you know. You’re still unable to wrap your head around the concept; so let’s break it down to its incorporating elements.
“Marketing automation comprises software/ technology designed to streamline your marketing process, making it an efficient tool for the marketing team.”
A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Automation
Let’s take a look at why marketing automation is popular among marketers today.
- It is technology that compliments the goals for effective marketing strategy.
- The goal of marketing is revenue generation; automation impacts the traffic conversion.
- Automation gives you room to focus on the authenticity and character of content being delivered.
- The idea of marketing automation is to provide the right content and interaction resulting in cheaper sales process for the team;
- And a simpler more engaging purchase process for the buyer.
Marketing automation can be branched into two prominent segments based on the nature of technology employed and the process involved.
The Traditional Approach
The traditional automation approach revolves around the below, mainly focused on content delivery based on data collection and customer segmentation.
- Gathering information/ email leads.
- Segmenting target users based on relevancy to the product.
- Curating content and personalized templates for individual segments.
- Creating analytics around the impact of automation.
Mobile Marketing Automation
This method is more engaging compared to the traditional one and is designed to communicate through push-notifications, employ the benefits of sync-technology between wearable devices and incorporate a host of mobile device technologies such as location tracking, mobile data, and mobile subscriptions. This makes them highly functional and real-time engagers.
Here’s the reality underlined – mobile engagements are an integral aspect of how customers engage with brands. As mobiles increasingly become a run-of-the-mill aspect of daily lives, it becomes crucial for markets to tap the potential these devices hold.
More popularly, there are four channels through which marketers can engage with customers.
These are ideal at soliciting customer engagement even when they are not using the app or website. Push notifications, when done right can drive up to 4X conversions on the app. The only drawback is that the customers have to enable/ opt-in to receive these.
This is an attempt at reaching customers who have their apps open. With the right kind of content, it would be a perfect option to nudge the user and hit those numbers. In-app messages when triggered at the right time can convert up to 45% of the users (receiving the in-app).
Its one of the older communication channels out there in the digital world, however, it continues to be the most effective. Emails support rich content and can be personalized to a higher degree than any other channel.
Web push notifications
Web push notifications are a recent development. Just like mobile push notifications, web push notifications work on the web browser like Chrome, Firefox, Mozilla and such.
These channels play specific roles during different parts of a customer’s mobile journey with your app. So what’s the catch? Why engage in so many modes of communication with the customer? Bottom line – you’re not the only one trying to win the customer over to your side. Plus if done right, this communication can ensure you get to retain more users of your app.
** It is important to note that these approaches to mobile marketing aren’t necessarily limited or constrained to mobile devices alone; they are equally relevant on web-platforms.
How Does it Work?
The cornerstone of marketing automation is to provide marketers with the ability to engage in targeted content with customers, based on customer behavior. This enables you to
- Provide content based on what they need and when they need it.
- Ease their buying decision through personalized content as opposed to email blasts.
- Drive revenue for the firm as a result of increased conversion rates.
- More importantly, establish trust and loyalty among customer base through bespoke and tailored content.
All this sounds very promising but does it work as seamlessly in reality though? One of the good things about automation is that it provides quality insights and data into the performance of automation efforts.
Marketing technology consultants, such as David Raab have new insights to share from data around marketing automation analytics. This plethora of insights around marketing automation seems to suggest content creation, blogging and SEO are more effective in achieving inbound traffic.
Now while data alone may not be indicative of a firm’s marketing strategies, combined with other marketing techniques automation may very well be the break that every market is looking for.
The key element to remember here is that marketing automation is not a standalone solution to effective marketing. While implementing automation into the marketing process, it is vital to consider the following:
- Re-evaluate the marketing goals by the firm’s vision.
- Execute strategies that make sense for the customer as opposed to large-scale automation.
- Content should be specific, tailored and bespoke to the target customer segments.
- Realign automation with inbound strategies.
- Highly targeted content to a niche audience is the key in conversion.
- Continued customer engagement is as vital as generating inbound visitors.
After all, a sustainable campaign is one that provides a comprehensive solution from a prospect’s perspective. You want to be able to provide tailor-made content to your target and provide it ‘when’ they need it. You want to be able to provide a functional and interesting delivery to the prospect. You want to be able to design and showcase your offering in a manner that answers the prospect’s questions and helps them dive further into what interests them.
Automation in Terms of Reconciliation
When we speak of marketing automation, there’s this perception that it’s all about generating new leads. While that is part of the campaign, it is critical to retain focus on existing customers. The group of people who are already using what you’re offering and most likely looking for more, or looking for innovation.
It is quite the task to strike a balance in this regard, but that is where automation can lend a helping hand. A well-designed automation process can ideally result in more time in your hands; giving you that much-desired room to re-invent the wheel.
But Where is the Real Engagement?
When it comes to customer engagement, it all boils down to how a brand can tell their story to the world. If done right by the marketing team there is nothing like it. Keeping automation aside, it’s vital to remember that the key to winning customer engagement is in being able to attract them to your story.
Therefore it is safe to say that the real engagement lies not in automation and communication with your customers, but the consistency the communication keeps in-line with your brand values. If your marketing can get a customer to believe in your brand for what it stands for than just use a product or service, you’ve done an excellent job! Research has shown that such customers tend to stick around longer.
The next big engagement is Mobiles. Now, mobiles have evolved in the two decades since they became a part of the average household, into something personalized and defined. A mobile is an extension of the user’s personality, and therefore mobile marketing is an extension of a brand’s outreach.
With technology that fast-paced and competition that is relentless, it’s no longer about getting something sold or getting a purchase recorded. If technology has enabled people to try out your app, it’s also helped them to find an alternative if you fail to provide (also read as your competitor’s app).
“As a marketer, what you want to do, is to promote engagement that is consistent and personalized.”
Laying Out The Table
One of the focus as a marketer is to generate quality leads that the sales teams can use to close new customers. This is where marketing automation can be a blessing in disguise.
- It streamlines the process into a more transparent and highly functional workflow.
- Provides greater visibility into target profiles including behaviors and patterns.
- Analytics can help understand the response to emails, track activity on websites as well as browsing patterns across pages.
- This helps pinpoint the exact location where changes can be most effective if implemented.
While marketing automation offers an ocean of privileges for the engaging marketer, it is also vital to understand how to tailor these to your company goals. Most users of automation do not realize the full impact the solution can have on their business and often end up under-utilizing the tool. But with the right tweaks here and there, marketing automation might just be the break you need right now.
Perhaps the most exciting thing here is that Marketing Automation is still in its nascent stages and prone to immense growth and change. Similar to how digital marketing made the rounds when it first became popular but is now employed by every company on the planet.