What is Marketing Automation and What are its Benefits?

Consider the following scenario.

You’ve just come up with a revolutionary business idea that would turn the apparel industry on the side of its head.

Lucky you.

With your large network of savvy entrepreneurial friends, you pitch. Not only do they like it, they’re convinced and want in. Suddenly, you have resources at your finger tips and you have a well versed and experienced team. Now it all comes down to execution.

Fast forward 4 months later – your business idea has an app, a social media presence and an e-commerce presence, with the help from Advesa of course ?. In short, you’re ready to rumble and shake the apparel industry.

However, you’re missing one of the most important things – customers.

What Marketing Automation Can’t Do for You

A robot falls down horribly during Darpa’s robotic challenge. (Darpa)

Two important questions then come to mind:

  1. How will you generate leads? Sales qualified leads?
  2. How will you then convert these sales qualified leads into revenue, consistently?

If you’re at the stage of trying to generate leads – marketing automation isn’t for you.

Please read that sentence again.

But if you’re at the stage of converting your existing leads into whichever KPI’s you’ve abided by – whether it’s the number of subscriptions, registered members or articles read – then marketing automation is for you

Simple. Done deal. Go out there and get your automation on!

Not so fast.

It’s not as easy as going out there and adopting it, like a tiger-striped Pitbull at the nearest dog pound.

Rather, automating marketing tasks, or any of your business’ tasks for that matter, requires an intensive implementation of many things: from new software, equipment and even staff.

That is, if you want the highest ROI.

So if you’re one of those high ROI seekers and you have a plethora of leads to work with, or if you’re just plain curious, look no further, because we’re here to help you along your marketing automated journey by providing some fundamental tips.

But before we get to the nitty gritty, it’s probably best to describe what marketing automation is.

What is Marketing Automation?

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Alongside all the cultural robot rhetoric, marketing automation might take your job.

If it does, then it’s probably doing you a favor. No offense. Because your job probably consisted of mundane, menial and repetitive tasks, such as blasting off mass emails, or crafting marketing campaigns that are generic at best.

If it doesn’t take your job however, then its likely making your tasks easier – a lot easier. Not to mention, probably a lot more interesting.

So, how does marketing automation make your job easier?

The short answer:

It makes your job easier because it’s software. 

And the long answer:

As software, it not only performs, but personalizes many of your marketing-related responsibilities. Therefore, turning the execution of what was once time-consuming and arduous, into the click of a few buttons. 

Or even automatically in some cases. 

Mailchimp is a common example for e-mail.

The platform is a one-stop shop, providing easy-to-use, customizable and appealing e-mail templates, along with functions that help segment your email lists and track how popular your e-mail campaigns are. Not to mention a whole host of other features.

Wonderful, isn’t it?

Okay, not impressed?

Good. Because marketing automation is so much more than just appealing e-mail templates and better management of email lists.

Instead, from the grand scheme of things, marketing automation is really about the merging of three aspects in your marketing department:

  1. Customer data
  2. Software technology
  3. Content Distribution

 

Marketing Automation is a Data Driven Step-by-Step Process

Tracking and measuring results is integral to any digital marketing campaign. (Pressmaster)

When data, technology and content are integrated, they create one furious lead-conversion strategy.

So furious, that giant consulting firm McKinsey reports that:

Marketing automation can decrease overall marketing expenses by 10 to 30 percent and increases overall revenue by 5 to 15 percent. 

Talk about bottom-line results – which will be discussed in more detail later.

For now, here’s how a complete marketing automation system unfolds in 4 steps.

How a Marketing Automation Unfolds

Step 1:

Data reigns supreme in step 1.

Here, the goal is to build a foundation of customer data from all customer engagement channels – from social media, to company blog sites, to e-commerce, to in-phone and in-store contact.

Step 2:

What’s the use of data if it can’t be applied?

Step 2 is about “turning data into valuable business insights.”

This looks like discovering “pain and gain” points along the buyer’s journey when assessing web behavior data, or when measuring and comparing KPI’s from different UX strategies. A/B testing in other words.

Having data-analysis skills comes real handy here.

 

Step 3:

Step 3 is where your creatives shine.

Here your designers, videographers, copywriters and the like, focus on creating content such as personalized emails, sales offers, and carefully picked product display ads, each molded for specific customer segments.

In other words, step 3 is where personalized messages or entire marketing campaigns are crafted, guided by the data insights you’ve collected.

Step 4:

Lastly, execution finishes off the process.

Well, almost.

Because technically the process never really ends, as success in marketing automation is about trial and error, and thus ongoing.

Here, step 4 starts off with delivering your personalized content through one or more of your channels, at the right time, and then monitoring the progress.

An example is:

Sending personalized email campaigns to segmented clients. Being notified or “triggered” regarding those who have opened or downloaded the email content. Then, waiting for the right time, and sending a follow up email. And repeating the process until conversions are made.

The goal here is to use marketing automation to nurture or guide your leads into conversions – a strategy that’s almost polar opposite than what’s traditionally been done.

However, if the initial content delivery doesn’t prove effective in converting leads the first time around, which is likely to be the case, step 4 ends with having your creatives reassess, reiterate and redeliver new content with speed, while also storing the campaign’s data for future use.

So in other words, it’s about having the marketing flexibility in response to data.

And whether you’re a giant enterprise or Startup, if these steps are done the right way, the benefits have drastic bottom line results.

Marketing Automation’s Benefits

(Shutterstock)

Decreased marketing expenses of up to 30 percent and increased revenue streams of up to 15 percent is not to be taken lightly.

What’s also not to be taken lightly is marketing automation’s impact on your service, your operations and your relationship with customers – or your overall brand perception.

Here are few of the benefits marketing automation can have:

More Personalized Content: 1 to 1 Marketing

The days of generic ads are no more.

With marketing automation, your team of creatives and data obsessed technologists can transform your marketing campaign efforts from overly empty-sales-like tactics to valuable customer experiences.

Thus, different audiences can receive the content they really want and even anticipate, and your brand can be a step ahead competitively by developing longer enduring customer relationships.

Increased brand loyalty like no other in other words.

Being a More Data-Driven Company:

Big data is all the craze for business efficiency, and for good reason.

With marketing automation, your firm can be a step closer towards being data-driven, which means the decisions you make, in terms of what content to deliver, how it’s delivered and when it’s delivered, will improve.

In other words, the guessing approach to marketing efforts will be replaced with more strategic and scientifically-based processes.

More Agile Company – Swift, Responsive and Adaptive

When marketing automation is adopted fully, what essentially takes place is the merging of both marketing and IT departments into one cohesive business function.

The result is a more agile firm, that collaborates, that operates beyond traditional rigid departments, that becomes more adaptive and responsive to ever-changing consumer tastes and preferences.

A digital company made to succeed in today’s changing landscape in other words.

However, this is an ideal scenario.

Because effective business results aren’t about perfection, they’re about progress.

So taking your marketing automation efforts, or digital anything efforts, is best done in increments, one step at a time, constantly improving on obstacles that held you back last.

One step at a time, accomplishing short term goals that ultimately take your company objectives closer to completing its long term strategy!

Thanks for reading! Please comment and share.

Till next time!

At Advesa, determining the right progressive steps that marketing automation can have is our expertise. For consulting or any other questions, contact us

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Written By Editorial Team

Along with the blog’s editors, we’re a collective of writers aimed at providing valuable industry insights and educational resources for DIY’ers, entrepreneurs, professionals and hobbyists. We range from former scientists, research students to enthusiasts and freelancers. Have a question or suggestion? Reach us at [email protected]