If we're talking marketing buzzwords of the day, marketing automation (MA) is right up there, along with "big data", "gamification" and any form of "jacking".
Today, businesses need to be “always on” (there’s another one) to remain competitive. Therefore, a real time marketing approach is needed. Enter marketing automation.
If you're in charge of your brand's marketing, it's essential to invest in MA tools that provide personalised online experiences for your customers as well as the real time insights you need. Without this, you won't get the most out of your data and analytics experts and the insights and strategy recommendations they could provide.
What is marketing automation?
MA, in it's broadest sense, is software that automates your marketing for you. It is a wide term that applies to several marketing activities, including:
- brand monitoring
- social media
- lead generation and nurturing
- metrics and analytics.
It's whole premise is to make your marketing efforts more streamlined and efficient.
The ultimate goal of marketing is to generate more revenue for your company. Attract, Convert, Close, Delight: these four stages of customer conversion have become the marketing mantra of the 21st Century. In practice, it means leading more traffic to your website, converting that traffic into leads, closing those leads into customers and continually delighting them to keep them coming back.
Attract, Convert, Close, Delight: these four stages of customer conversion have become the marketing mantra of the 21st Century.
MA can help all of this, particularly in the convert and closing stages. Moreover, the real time data it captures in the process means that you can create even more tailored and targeted content for your leads.
Lead nurturing made even more personal
Delivering useful and personalised content to customers is no longer optional, it's expected. A recent study of more than 7,000 customers worldwide found that over half (52 per cent) said they are likely to switch brands if a company doesn't make an effort to personalise its communications to them. For B2B businesses, it's even higher at 65 per cent.
Implementing MA can help marketing teams to continually optimise and review their communications and content offerings. However, it's not always as simple as making a clean switch. Many teams still operate under a traditional annual or quarterly calendar, which can make it a challenge to implement any real time changes, since they often fall outside the scope of efforts already planned.
Related content: The buyer persona development worksheet [free tool]
Changing times for marketers
Technology is changing all the time, and the most recent development in the marketing automation sphere is the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) to the suite. With AI, business are gaining improved efficiencies in the form in-depth campaign analytics, lead scoring, and productivity measures (to name a few).
Also, thanks to abilities such as predictive journeys, improved messaging (right message, right channel, right time), and hyperpersonalised product recommendations, business are advancing the degree of personalised, 1-to-1 content they deliver to customers.
What does this mean for modern marketers and business leaders?
With an automated tool, you can collect buyer data through landing pages, forms, and progressive profiling. You can also use marketing tactics like personalised emails and dynamic content, to create an even more personalised marketing experience. Further, your sales team can use automation features like prospect analytics and email tracking to personalise their sales conversations.
5 reasons you need marketing automation
Real time marketing allows brands to give customers what they want, when they want it. On the surface it sounds like a dream, however it comes with a catch: companies must be able to respond to their customers' demands—and fast. To achieve that, your systems and internal processes need to be able to handle the pressure, which is where MA comes in.
1. Shorter lag time for customers
The biggest benefit of MA is the shorter lag time between a customer action and a well-timed and precisely targeted brand response. It's all possible thanks to real time digital marketing techniques that sense customer behaviour and respond accordingly.
2. Saves time and increases efficiencies
MA allows you to schedule multiple campaigns ahead of time and publish them as and when you prefer. You can also manage multiple channels all in one place, rather than managing and tracking them individually.
It makes for more streamlined and efficient work. You gain more time to prioritise other marketing activities and more time to focus on your KPIs. And since you're cutting down time and labour, your costs are reduced too.
Last of all, MA provides consistency. Being able to incorporate all of your marketing efforts into one process can help keep a unified brand tone-of-voice.
3. CRM integration
One of the more important aspects of any MA software you use is its ability to integrate with CRM systems. This allows majority of your customer experience to be automated and ensures that no leads disappear off the radar after a couple of unsuccessful contacts.
4. Data and insight collection
Capturing data about your customers is a given, but what MA does is provide a greater depth to your insights, which in turn, improves your future campaigns and communications. This is one of the main reasons that MA can help marketing improve over time—it is future focused and results driven. Having access to experts that can decipher the insights and advise you on the right strategy to adopt is the next crucial step.
5. Me, me, me
That is what your customer is thinking. It's their needs—not yours—that they care about when considering a purchase. MA allows you to create personalised and highly targeted content, which in turn leads to a unique and more engaging customer experience that is more likely lead to conversion.
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