Some see it as a passing trend, others as the emergence of new way of doing things, whilst the pragmatic amongst us use it strategically to enhance our productivity. Yes, this is Marketing Automation.
It feels like everything these days is ‘automated’ – from coffee vending to email auto-responders, smart phone notifications to data back up – it is difficult to get through one business day without coming across it somewhere. But before you roll your eyes and decry the demise of the human touch in business, stop for a moment and reflect on how automation can enhance our work.
In an earlier post Rise of the Machines : When Automation Goes Too Far I wrote about the perils of using too much automation, and I still stand by those words. In fact I think you’ll find I talked about the need to use automation judiciously, rather than simply apply an across-the-board approach. With this still in mind I would like to show you some of the great benefits that can be had by employing automated procedures, particularly when it comes to marketing your business.
So here are my Top 10 (in no particular order):
#1 You Can Get More Done In Less Time.
This one’s a no-brainer really – it does what it says on the tin. If you can get a machine (computer) to do all the mundane time consuming tasks then your time can be better spent doing whatever it is that actually makes your business money.
#2 Enhances Creativity
This is a follow-on benefit from #1 – by removing repetitive tasks from your day it reduces the boredom factor, and boredom = stifled creativity! You are free to concentrate on the exciting stuff. You can dream, draft, devise, plan, draw, create, make, do, live, think and breathe your passion.
#3 It Works 24/7
Imagine having an employee that works continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – is never ill, never takes a holiday, and once you have told it what to do it simply knuckles down and gets on with it, not questions asked, no back-chat. Ideal, huh? Marketing automation tasks work 168 hours a week – that’s over 4 times the number of hours worked by your average member of staff. It works when you are ill, when you are on holiday, it works through the night. In our global digital economy there could always be a potential customer receptive to your marketing messages at just the moment you are not physically there to deliver it yourself – so marketing automation has your back. Always.
#4 It Never Forgets
Ever been so busy or stressed that you’ve forgotten to mail that important letter? Or email that client? Or place that order? Or worse… Yep, we’ve all been there. With effective marketing automation the task will always get done – whether there is just that one job to do, or 300 instances of the same task all to be done right now. It’s like having your own elephant.
#5 It Is Eminently Scalable
Leading on from #4 if your turnover, or footfall, or workload suddenly doubles then you would reasonably expect to have to employ more people – until the moment when demand suddenly drops away, and then you could be faced with laying people off. Not so your marketing automation. Price plans for some services do tend to increase as the instances of the task increase, but generally there is more value in a larger subscription. You can easily scale from 100 tasks to 1000, to 10,000 with no need for any additional time or resource input from yourself.
#6 The Tripwire Effect
The most effective marketing should reach your prospect at just the time they are most receptive to your message, or so the theory goes. But how do you know when that is? Marketing automation can be set to recognise, track and act upon certain behaviours. It may be the opening of an email, or the clicking of a link, it could be as random as a person’s 4th visit to your website in as many days – it could even be that split-second they are about to leave your website. Since it is physically impossible to keep a watch on what is happening in your prospect’s head, or on their desktop, this is where marketing automation comes into it’s own.The Tripwire Effect: Marketing automation can be set to recognise, track and act upon certain behaviours. Click To Tweet
#7 It Promotes Better Quality Marketing Content
We all know that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to marketing. Also, we need to hone our message to be consistent to our brand, and regular in it’s delivery. All buyers are people, and people are creatures of habit – they like brands and businesses where they get what they are expecting. They may love your quirky industry-speak, your whacky web design or value your seriously in-depth knowledge, whatever it is that your target audience craves in their ideal solution needs to be consistently delivered, and buying loyalty will soon follow. Automated marketing routines need only be set up once before they are replicated again and again for thousands of future prospects – it allows you to take your time and perfect your message. And once it is done, it is done.
#8 Targeting and Segmentation
You have a number of services you offer, roughly the same but none-the-less all slightly different, and they appeal to different people in different situations. You certainly don’t have the time to speak to each and every prospect but you want to ensure each one gets the information most relevant to their particular problem – mess this up and they will think you can’t help them and they will look elsewhere. The power of the database is your hero. Good marketing automation can analyse the actions of your prospects in order to build particular lists of recipients most suited to the parameters you have set it. Include a single click-to-pick question in your Sign-Up Confirmation email, and your segmentation has begun. Marketing software can handle multiple lists for multiple products, with overlapping areas of interest, global actions, targeted actions … pretty much any action you can predict can be programmed to sift and select your desired prospect pool.
Marketing trends change. Buying trends change. Consumer trends change. That’s why they are called trends. We need to be constantly on top of what works and what doesn’t when it come to our marketing efforts. We’re told we need to split-test or A/B test – but this means doing double the work to produce two campaigns… and then there is all the data to sift through. No problem for your marketing automation – it’s one of the core features of many applications.
#10 It Is Not Just Limited To Digital Marketing Materials
No, really. Want to send a glossy brochure when your prospect requests one on your website? No problem. Another prospect would like a sample pack? Again, no problem. With your suppliers systems integrating with your own, your prospect is served your marketing material on their PC, tablet or smartphone, their actions and reactions are recorded in your systems for optimising future marketing, and their request is sent to your Printers (for example) who will send out the necessary literature. And all, quite possibly, without you needing to lift a finger.
There is also one huge bonus benefit to the adoption of marketing automation.
Depending upon your chosen solution or solutions, the scale of your operation, and the tasks to be automated, the cost of adopting a marketing automation strategy is likely to be a fraction of the price of employing real actual people.
OK, so there is no junior to send on a donut run…
…but hey, you need to stretch your legs from time to time 🙂