The term “marketing automation” has been the buzzword of digital marketing world in the past few years.
At first glance, the definition is fairly obvious: marketing automation is where some or all of your marketing efforts are automated by machines (mainly A.I.-driven apps).
However, what actually will marketing automation bring to the table? Is it only about saving time and labor costs? Here, we’ll explain all the ins and outs of marketing automation, and how your marketing team can use it to your advantage.
Why Marketing Automation Exists In The First Place?
Marketing is obviously one of the core aspects of any businesses, the bridge between your brand and your customers.
Typically, marketing efforts consist of three different stages:
- Lead generation: attracting prospects (potential customers) through various channels, the idea is to let as many people know about your brand/product/service, and some of them might be interested to buy your product.
- Lead nurturing: not every prospect are ready to purchase. In this stage, we nurture (convince) this prospect until they are finally ready to buy
- Conversion: the prospect is ready to buy, and your aim here is to close the deal. Typically here we pass the sales-qualified prospect to the sales team.
The thing is, each of these processes are not a one-off thing, but they will require continuous and often repetitive tasks.
On the other hand, each of these processes might also include various programs from developing content, emailing each customer, posting on social media, and so on. More often than not, your marketing program will be so big it’s unmanageable.
This is where marketing automation can fill in the gaps.
The Concept Of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation can be a pretty tough concept to grasp, but in a nutshell, the term “marketing automation” refers to apps and software that automate marketing processes from customer analysis, data integration, and campaign execution. There are two main goals here: increasing efficiency,and get things done faster.
The term “marketing automation” is often used to refer to email marketing (or email automation), so it’s a thing to remember. Email automation is certainly an aspect of marketing automation, and also often the most important one. But there are other components of marketing automation with various benefits.
What Marketing Processes Can Be Automated?
The actual question is, what are the marketing process of your business that doesn’t require any active human involvement? Chances are, there are already apps and software able to automate them.
Today, the rapid advancements of A.I. and machine learning technologies in recent years have allowed automation software to perform tasks that previously required human actions, or on the other hand, impossible for human workers, including but not limited to:
- Customer chat: A.I. chatbots are now very advanced and can resolve 80% of customers queries without any human supervision. 1 chatbot software can cover many different customers at once 24/7, which can be very expensive otherwise if you employ human operators.
- Personalizations: many marketing tasks nowadays require hyper-personalizations. The most basic form here is to send an email with the receiver’s first name on the subject. Personalizations nowadays are faster and more accurate with automation.
- Behavioral analytics: one of the most important advancements in recent years is how A.I. can help in gathering and analyzing a huge amount of data in real time. The software can then give automated suggestions and reports to advise us based on the data. This is virtually impossible previously.
- Scheduling and execution: marketing is the most effective when the right message is delivered to the right person at the right time. Marketing automation can help in this regard with the ability to send the messages to a lot of people at once at exactly the planned time. Common applications here include social media scheduling and email automation.
How To Implement Marketing Automation
When planning to implement marketing automation, there are at least four key areas to consider:
1. Identifying the tasks that require automation
Above, we have mentioned that virtually anything nowadays can be automated. However, it’s not always the best approach to simply automate everything.
Since you are running a business, ultimately the consideration is about whether automating a certain task will generate more profit, or otherwise.
First, look for the most repetitive marketing tasks in your team, this is usually the most important areas that will benefit from automation.
Second, look at your major marketing expenses, and analyze whether automation can bring down the costs.
2. Choosing the right automation app/software
There are various marketing automation tools available in the market today, with various price tags and various features.
It’s important to find the right one for your business, mainly by considering the tasks we have discussed above. Meaning, choose the most affordable platform that can fulfill the required marketing tasks.
Since marketing automation software can be an expensive investment, it’s important to analyze your options thoroughly before making any decision.
3. Assess and improve your team’s competence
Although marketing automation is about as few human involvement as possible, we still need a marketing team to supervise the performance, measure KPIs, and adjust strategies whenever required.
So, your marketing team should understand the concept of automation, and how the specific automation software will perform.
If necessary, you will need to invest in training (often provided by the software maker).
4. Measure performance and evaluate
Implementing marketing automation is not a one-off process, but rather a continuous one where you might need to make adjustments here and there.
First, the market itself is ever evolving, and you will need to adapt. Second, trial and error is always the nature of marketing, and so it is necessary to measure your automation’s performance and evaluate.
While marketing automation might seem like a complex concept at first glance, it is actually fairly simple once you’ve got the hang of it. The key when aiming to implement marketing automation is to figure out your business’s needs, and how a marketing automation tool can improve your efficiency and maximize revenue.