Time to Embrace Marketing Automation KenticoConnection

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If you’re like many marketers you’ve probably got a list of tasks you think would improve your website and e-mail marketing. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get them done.

If this scenario sounds familiar — it’s time to automate, Brian McKeiver, a senior solution architect and co-owner of BizStream, an Allendale, Mich.-based web and software development company, told attendees at he Kentico Connection 2014 in Boston last week.

Why Are You Waiting?

Marketing automation gives you the ability to do more with less by having computers handle a multitude of repetitive tasks. It pays off: "One analysis showed one-fifth of companies that adopted marketing automation boosted their revenue by 75 percent or more,” said McKeiver.

The trick is to do it wisely, so you don’t inadvertently end up spamming your audience to the point of annoyance.

Marketing automation is booming. A report by Frost & Sullivan earlier this year claims the industry will hit $1.9 billion by 2020. Think how this could affect your marketing department. One study showed the while 76 percent of marketing departments have new responsibilities, but only 10 percent received any increase in budget or staffing, McKeiver said. “They need help getting everything done,” he said.

While marketing automation is growing in popularity, only about 16 percent of North American B2B businesses are using it right now, he added. Unless you’re among them, McKeiver contends you have work to do: You need to not only make the leap to automation, but find the right solution.

Automation fails without the right tool and proper integration, and is deeply dependent on teaching employees to use it effectively, said McKeiver.

But don't feel overwhelmed. The industry is evolving quickly, so you have a number of options when it comes to choosing the right system for the job. McKeiver said your selection should:

  1. Be easily customizable. You want to be able to personalize the experience. For example, it could enable your website to show the most relevant content to its visitors — if an IT director visits the site, all the IT-related articles will come to the top.
  2. Use triggers. If a user takes a specific action on the site, it should trigger an automation process. You don’t want to bombard visitors with information they don’t want, so using these triggers can help ensure the content is more customized without being annoying.
  3. Provide real world examples. Evidence shows that a majority of customers are more likely to buy a product if it’s been reviewed by multiple people, so your site should use automated tools designed to encourage people to rate and review their purchases.
  4. Follow up with users. Abandoned shopping carts are the bane of any site. A user might be ready to buy and then get distracted and forget to follow through. A good site will automatically send follow-up e-mails to these customers reminding them about the item they wanted to purchase in hopes of encouraging a sale.
  5. Multitask. A good solution will work across many channels, including web, mobile, and email, and have the ability to personalize each channel.
  6. Gather feedback. You can’t give your customers what they want if you don’t understand them. Automation should also help you better understand your customers need and wants and satisfaction levels.

Marketing automation, he concluded, can transform your website and email to more effective and efficient tools.