What marketing automation is, what it isn’t, and what it can deliver
Automation is taking over everywhere, from ordering kiosks in McDonalds and self-checkout machines in supermarkets, to robots on car assembly lines and running warehouses. We’ll soon get used to seeing driverless cars on the roads and AI technology refereeing football matches.
The proliferation of automation is a natural progression in a modern developing world, since it relieves us from boring, repetitive tasks and helps us get things done quicker and more accurately.
Automation is the lifeblood of any business environment and marketing is hardly immune from the automation phenomenon. Neither is marketing automation anything new: it’s now standard best practice, for example, for online stores to send out cart abandon emails and for calls to contact centres to be routed to the right team depending on the query.
The difference in 2019 is the breadth and wealth of automation now available to marketers to help them get results and ROI. Smart marketers recognise the need to be “always on” in every conceivable channel and at every stage of the customer journey. Because that’s what today’s customers demand, and to be present when your customer needs you is what keeps you competitive and ultimately profitable.
Marketing Automation is…
…the ability to use technology to streamline processes and manage multiple marketing campaigns through a myriad of integrated channels to deliver a seamless customer experience. The proper use of marketing automation allows you to be more efficient, grow your revenue, and build a powerful and creative marketing strategy.
For most businesses manual one-on-one customer relationship management at scale isn’t possible. A customer’s choice of channel is hard to predict, as is the timing of their decision to engage. Marketing automation allows you to not only accurately forecast where and when a customer is likely to need you but also to:
Identify, track and engage individual buyers online
Manage a customer through the buying and onboarding process
Automate personalised messages to customers at crucial stages of the lifecycle via the communications channel of their choice
Segment your customer base using demographics, behavioural and social data
Manage workflows such as email marketing, landing page creation, retention and lead generation
Measure the revenue contribution of every marketing campaign
Free up your team so they can focus on creating great marketing campaigns based on accurate decisioning and information
The right marketing automation platform can incorporate every conceivable marketing channel, from direct mail to email to text messaging to chatbots to social media to remarketing to personalised content. Automation will help you outperform your competitors and surprise and delight your customers.
Marketing automation isn’t …
…a replacement for humans. Or a robot uprising where humans become obsolete. While it’s true that AI is taking over many jobs in many industries, it’s also creating new roles.
A marketing automation platform allows you to get more done with less. Less in terms of time and money, we mean. But being part of a marketing team in 2019 demands a particular skillset. You still need to build a brand reputation and credibility with your target audience. You still need to build your buyer persona based on the data your systems gather for you. You still need to come up with a strategy for talking to your target audience and continuing the relationship once they’re in your base as a prospect or a customer. You still need to write online content, come up with compelling creative concepts and advertising ideas, and design the customer journeys.
In other words the machines may run things, but humans still need to program the machines. Automation isn’t a replacement for the human brain, but an enabler for our ingenuity. And it frees up your marketing team to concentrate on what they do best.
What benefits can marketing automation deliver?
Every statistic we’ve looked at shows that marketers who deploy marketing automation shrewdly and steadily outperform marketers who don’t, or who rush at it too quickly and carelessly. The best performers aren’t necessarily the biggest organisations either, or the ones with the biggest marketing budgets. They just have the right tools, they use them properly and they learn and grown from them.
But don’t just take our word for it. The latest Marketing Automation Statistics from Omnisend looked at the impact of marketing automation on customer retention, campaign engagement, and purchase rates across 2 billion campaigns sent using their omnichannel automation platform during 2018. Here are five key highlights from what they found:
Companies who use 3 or more integrated marketing channels have 90% higher customer retention rates
They also have 250% higher customer engagement and purchase rates
Customers using multiple channels to engage with an organisation have a 13% higher spend than those who are forced down a single channel
Companies who automate customer workflows have the highest click-through rates
Segmented and targeted marketing campaigns have a higher ROI than non-segmented, with a 35% higher open rate and a 27% higher order rate
You can’t ignore marketing automation’s potential for growing your business and boosting employee productivity. And for delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time and creating a unique brand experiences that will keep your customers coming back for more.