When you’re running a business, it’s a given, you have to do marketing. After a while of marketing, you see that you run from pillar to post so that your marketing campaign is successful or that your brand gets the exposure it really deserves.
Even if the work is exciting, there’s a lot to do. Yet sometimes, the campaigns don’t perform as well as they deserve. This can be because certain important points in the strategy were missed or there just wasn’t enough time to study the reports and analytics before designing the strategy.
Cue in marketing automation. It enables marketers to do their work more effectively and efficiently. Marketing automation is not just when looking for ways to scale your marketing efforts. It also boosts your productivity and helps you improve the overall success ratio of your marketing campaigns because it manages every activity related to marketing.
So, what is marketing automation?
Contrary to what people normally think, marketing automation is not just a category of software that helps you carry out your marketing activities such as publishing posts on social media or sending emails, although it is an important component.
This term refers to technology that streamlines, automate and measure multiple marketing efforts across digital channels through just one platform. This includes processes such as customer segmentation, customer data integration (CDI), and campaign management.
From another perspective, marketing automation does three things:
- You can track how prospects interact with your company.
- With its data and reporting, you can personalise your marketing campaigns to your prospects and customers.
- It allows you to link the results of your marketing campaigns to specific revenue-generating opportunities.
Marketing automation is making otherwise manual activities more efficient.
What makes up marketing automation?
A complete marketing automation programme consists of many things such as data and processes. The main components are shared across all marketing automation software and platforms:
A fundamental element in marketing is your customer list. You use this list in all kinds of ways and it consists of your target audience. Since you want to build a relationship with your audience, you need to segment your list. Not everyone on your list is in the same stage, some are potential leads, some are prospects, and some are existing customers. Or you may want to segment your list by other criteria, such as how did someone became a lead, by product, or geography.
An essential process for marketing teams is to determine when a lead is qualified and primed to buy. Lead scoring a process in which you assign a value to a contact based on how likely there converting into a customer.
It helps you see where a contact is in the journey at the glance. With automation, you can programme actions a lead takes until and the software automatically assigns them a score.
Every marketer needs to do a lot of tasks, once a prospect has joined your newsletter. You most likely want to
- personalise the newsletter
- showcase relevant products in the newsletter
- follow up with the prospect when they show interest signal such as email opened or link clicked
- present a special offer
To automate such a process, triggers are needed. For example, a trigger fires when someone signs ups to your newsletter.
The second element for automation is actions. These are things that happen after a trigger fires. Taking the newsletter sign-up as an example, the action that occurs is sending the confirmation email.
In its simplest form, a workflow is If A, then B. Good automation software allows you to set conditional steps so that you can build workflows with if A, then B, else C.
What can you do?
Even if the newsletter sign-up process in the last section suggests that “only” email marketing is marketing automation, it can do so much more. Since email marketing is a well-established process that most marketers are familiar with, it’s omitted from the list below.
- behavioural tracking
- lead generation
- lead management
- lead nurturing
- customer retention
- social media marketing
- analytics and reporting
- campaign management
- A/B testing
How to choose marketing activities for automation?
The first thing to know is that marketing automation is a tool to enhance your existing strategy. It’s also not the solution if you see growth slowing down. It’s a tool that can help you in many places. So, there’s also no silver bullet recipe for choosing an activity to automate.
The main criteria that you can use to choose an activity for automation are
- It’s a repetitive task
- It’s a time-consuming task
- You can set up rules so that actions can be triggered
Usually, if you ask a business owner or a marketer how their day was, they will tell you about having one meeting after another, tracking the performance of a campaign, and publishing posts, and, and, and.
It’s hard to balance all these activities, and this is where marketing automation shines. It saves time while allowing your marketing actions to be directed to the right audience at the right time and delivering the right message.
Do you really need marketing automation? Only you can answer that. You need to consider your needs, your business model as well as your team. Marketing automation is centred around a digital, system-oriented, data and results driven marketing department.
We recognise it sounds like a challenging task to plan and realise a marketing automation system or to migrate from one to another. If this describes you and you’d like a team of marketing automation experts to guide you through the process, please feel free to contact us and we’ll set up a time to chat about how Cenny can help you improve your digital marketing strategy.