Why We Love Automation (And You Should, Too!)
Described as the 'next big thing' for quite sometime, marketing automation is finally making its presence felt in the marketing process. In the first few years of its existence, marketing automation softwares have improved efficiency of marketers, decoded consumer behavior much more effectively, and increased revenue. Besides all these, it has been an enabler of personalised marketing.
Let's outline some basic things about marketing automation and it's impact on various processes.
What is marketing automation?
Simply put, marketing automation refers to a set of rules that automates your marketing process. The rules are designed to help you prioritise, personalise and execute your marketing tactics in a coherent and effective way. But, what does that mean for you as a marketer? Is your job at risk?
No, it is not. It simply makes your life easier by helping you concentrate on things that matter. Marketing automation helps in overcoming the boredom, tediousness, and repetitive tasks that are associated with a marketer's working life.
How do you perform marketing automation?
When was the last time you actually read an e-mail sent to you by a high-street retailer?-Hard to tell.
Marketers usually bombard their prospects with e-mails, 'hoping' some of them click and read their mails. If you expect all your prospects to react similarly to a an e-mail, you are doing two things
1) You're wasting your time, money and, efforts marketing to someone unsure of whether they are interested in your product or not.
2) You are burning your leads ensuring that they are never going to come back to you.
From a logical standpoint, that doesn't seem like a good marketing plan. This is where you need to embrace marketing automation, and handhold your leads through their buying process by addressing things that matter to them. Let me explain this with a small demonstration:
You have an exciting new product, and you want to let your prospects know about this. You decide to send an e-book to all of them.
Step1: You send an e-mail invite to all your prospects for downloading your e-book
Step 2: You send a thank you note to prospects who have downloaded your e-book. (This e-mail is sent based on the pre-set rules defined through the software).
Step 3: After a week, you send a case study on how to use your product to people who have downloaded your e-book (Again based on pre-set rules).
Step 4: You now have a list of customers who have downloaded both your case study and e-book. This gives you a more streamlined and targeted list of prospects. Your sales team gets in touch with them, and assists them further with their buying process.
Step 5: You send a gentle reminder to people who are yet to download your case study (Just to make sure they haven't missed it among the heaps of mails they get everyday).
This model can be replicated across industries like e-commerce where you send deals and vouchers based on a customer's previous purchase, or in the travel industry by suggesting destinations based on an individual's travel patterns.
For a moment, think from a prospect's perspective. Would you prefer to be bombarded with e-mails or to receive a set of personalized e-mails like the one above?
So, marketing automation has effectively made the whole process of marketing smooth & personalised without much human interference. This kind of marketing automation is referred to as non-real time marketing automation, where there are actions based on pre-set rules.
The other kind of marketing automation that's gaining traction off late is real time marketing automation. This type of automation, communicates with the user in real time. For instance, the software shows only 5-star/7-start hotels when you book a first-class ticket from an e-commerce website. This way, you are helping the consumer save time, and giving him very personalised choices. All this, REAL TIME.
Okay, so now we have nailed down the basics of marketing automation. Marketing automation helps in:
- Nurturing our leads
- Having personalised communication
- Removing the boredom associated with performing repetitive tasks.
- Converting and closing deals at the end of a sales funnel.
Ultimately, all of us want our companies to succeed and have more revenue. Embracing marketing automation will help us concentrate on things that matter, and hence achieve our goals.