Imagine engaged and nurtured customers, who enjoy personalized, quality content that you deliver to them at the right place, at the right time, on the right device … customers who love your brand so much they just keep buying your products.
Meanwhile, your sales and marketing teams feel empowered to do their jobs better and act accordingly to sell your products more effectively.
Fantasy? Not exactly. One of the technological ways to get to this digital marketing Garden of Eden is marketing automation.
Understanding Marketing Automation
Definitions of marketing automation (MA) vary, depending on the organization and level of digital marketing maturity. In fact, it is totally fine approach MA from a very basic view. Just focus on software that allows you to automate some of your marketing tasks.
Marketing automation, in essence, can help you become friends with your customers. But friends with benefits, so to say -- meaning that customers remain loyal and continue to buy from your company, even if there are cheaper deals from competition.
Why? Because you engage and nurture your customers, transforming them to loyal clients and brand ambassadors. So how do you get to this ideal picture?
Many technologies will be involved in your journey to this ideal scenario. But we're going to focus on MA and why you need it in your digital strategy.
MA is commonly a technology (or a set of integrated technologies) that allows you to automate marketing tasks – emails, campaigns, personalized content delivery, insights and analysis of customer behaviors, sales and marketing workflows, measurement and reporting. Some of the cited benefits are increased operational efficiency and revenue growth – all through more engaged and more satisfied customers.
Why MA is Important
Multiple companies invested money into researching why MA is important in your organization’s success.
- Forrester last year cited research from Bain & Company, which found a 5 percent increase in customer retention can generate a 75 percent increase in profitability. Additionally, it noted that it costs six times more to get a new customer than to keep an existing one.
- The Lenskold Group/Pedowitz Group reported late last year that 63 percent of companies that are surpassing their competitors use integrated marketing automation.
If implemented and used correctly, MA can potentially offer such benefits as increased control over your content and overall marketing strategy, streamline your sales and marketing operations, deliver higher quality personalized content and improve your understanding of your customer through measurements, reporting and metrics.
Creating Your Game Plan
Need more actionable steps? You can find more information on foundational elements in this post I wrote last year on applying MA to improve digital experiences, in conjunction with such technologies as Web CMS, DAM and others.
As always, as with any technology, there are multiple caveats. It is not easy to do marketing automation well. It is not easy to figure out your action plan and to figure out which piece of software can get you the best results.
I’d advise you to start devising your MA components in the digital marketing strategy without jumping into evaluating specific vendors that are abound in this segment of the technology marketplace.
Think first about what you want and how you want it to work. What are the processes you need to implement to empower both your marketers and your customers? Figure out your overall digital strategy. Then you can start looking at specific vendors and products to see which one you like more.