Marketing automation enables an organization to use the customer and operational data it collects to design more effective campaigns and lead-nurturing efforts. It allows you to make more informed decisions across all channels – email, social media and websites.
Making the best decisions while requiring the minimum of human intervention or supervision is what makes a marketing automation platform so invaluable.
Marketing automation enables you to offer personalize messages, and individualized offers. It allows you to better engage customers in interactive dialogues that help build trust and loyalty It is essential for taking full advantage of your customer data to improve interactions across all your marketing channels by monitoring and responding to changes in customer behaviors.
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Why do you need marketing automation?
Marketing automation is a way to reallocate valuable and expensive resources (people) from routine tasks that can be handled by automated (or semi-automated) processes. Automation can expand your marketing reach without increasing staff size by offloading marketing activities such as:
- Campaign planning, creation and management. You will be able to create campaigns faster and easier, but because automation will enable you also create many more campaigns than you could previously, will also need a more automated way to manage and test them effectively whether it’s simple email campaigns or complex multichannel, multimedia projects.
- Model-based marketing. The way to achieve higher response rates and improve campaign targeting is to develop better models using analytics that determine ideal product mixes, the best offers, and, most importantly, more effective communication with your customers and clients.
- Campaign customization and reuse. Because marketing automation approaches use a modular design, that affords you the ability to reuse, modify and update campaign activities quickly and easily.
More fully automating your marketing efforts will require you to find ways to embed analytics into your campaign efforts. Analytical capabilities such as clustering, segmentation, modeling and optimization mean that you can develop highly targeted campaigns based on insights gained from purchase history, propensity scoring and profitability potential to name a few.
Marketing automation: Why you'll need analytics
The software platform that will enable you to optimize your resources will need these important components:
- A way to integrate, refine and easily access relevant customer data. You should consider an information mapping technology can help identify customer data you need – online social data or offline channel data. Data quality processes such as deduplication, standardization, cleansing, appending will help make sure your data is accurate and reliable, and ready for analysis.
- Campaign orchestration and interaction. There are many ways that your organization interacts with customers and you probably use a variety of technologies to orchestrate those interactions – web, call centers, live events, mobile, social, broadcast media, email and direct mail are just some of those interaction types. For marketing automation to interact with customers via these touch points, your organization must be able to react to a request when initiated by the customer over these channels. Here’s an example, if a customer takes an action on your site, such as abandoning a web form, you need the orchestration capabilities to tie that event to recent behaviors across your channels and the interaction capability to address that action, too.
- Analytics-based optimization and reporting. It’s crucial to have the ability to group and optimize campaigns based on business rules or from analytically derived methods to report on, and improve, interactions across all your channels. That way you can monitor and respond to changes in customer behaviors quickly and more effectively.
Your campaigns are more likely to underperform if they’re based on intuition or gut feeling. If you’re using marketing automation software, then analytical value scores become your measuring stick and the need for gut-feel marketing goes away.
Four reasons why you should consider a marketing automation solution
No matter where you are on the adoption spectrum – from email marketing based on rudimentary customer segmentation to developing highly complex and contextual customer journeys using guided analytics – there are areas where you can optimize your efforts. Here are some points you can use to help justify investment in marketing automation:
- More campaigns, faster. Process-driven automated workflows make campaigns easier to create and manage, which is essential if you’re managing dozens (or hundreds) of campaigns.
- Better targeting improves response rates. You should look for software that automatically prioritizes which customers should be included (or excluded) from campaigns when you have multiple campaigns pulling from a common customer base.
- Data consolidation. It’s important to get the right data, where and when you need it. By using data mapping technology, you can access the customer data you need – whether it’s online social data or offline channel data. Data-quality processes – deduplication, standardization, cleansing and appending – ensure that your customer data is trustworthy and ready for analysis.
- Campaign agility. Your campaigns are more likely to underperform if they’re based on intuition or gut feeling. If you’re using marketing automation software, then analytical value scores become your measuring stick and the need for gut-feel marketing goes away.
Trends in marketing automation
Even if you already have a robust, thriving marketing automation program, you should stay aware of technological advances and improvements.
- Predictive analytics. Using analytically derived models you can answer questions such as “Which activities will produce the greatest returns?” The modeling approach can also predict customer responses or purchases, as well as promote cross-sell opportunities. Predictive models help you attract, retain and grow the most profitable customers.
- Real-time customer engagement. Mobile phone service providers that use advanced marketing automation to improve customer experiences in real time by setting automatic triggers to provide offers to subscribers who are reaching their monthly data allowances in cases where the provided offers save the subscriber money when compared to overage penalties.
- Personalization. The ability to personalize emails have been around for a while, but the new focus of personalization is predictive and contextual personalization where content is provided or webpages personalized based on product interests or which stage a customer is at in the buying cycle.
Marketing automation has value for a variety of marketing users – from the CMO who wants to scan campaign reporting results to marketing analysts designing and executing marketing programs or campaigns.