What is Marketing Automation and Why Do Marketers Need It?

Many emerging technologies are helping businesses improve their digital marketing efforts and marketing automation is one of them. Marketing automation uses software to automate certain tasks. This is similar to when factories switch human employees for robots in repetitive steps in the manufacturing process. This may seem as if we’re just decreasing job opportunities for people but what’s happening is that we give repetitive and mindless tasks to computers so we can allocate humans to tasks that require more nuanced thinking.

Benefits of marketing automation

Digital marketing services companies are noticing an increased demand for marketing automation, and it’s easy to see why companies are embracing this trend. Businesses that embrace automation report a 14% increase in productivity and a 12% decrease in marketing overheads. Automation streamlines processes and frees up employees for more worthwhile things, such as client interaction. Automation also has a direct link to your customer service quality because, with automated processes, your employees are less overworked. When your employees are less overworked, they’re in a better mood. When they’re in a better mood, they are more likely to go the extra mile when helping customers.

With automation, things like email marketing and personalization can be left solely to a software program. Marketers don’t have to individually draft personalized emails to send out to thousands of leads. Instead, the marketer can focus on monitoring user response to the algorithm and make strategic changes when necessary. For example, if you set up an automated email marketing scheme that sends emails to leads every week, you should monitor how users respond to those emails. User response can be in the form of opening the email, visiting the links provided in the email, ignoring the email, or unsubscribing to the mailing list. All these responses are indicative of whether the strategy is working or not, and it’s up to you to make a decision on what to do based on the data.

Automation also lowers costs. By decreasing the overall number of tasks humans are in charge of, your marketing team won’t need as many people, which means fewer salaries you have to pay, smaller office spaces, etc. 

Furthermore, automation improves employee retention since employees do more meaningful tasks and feel like they’re more valuable to the company.

Warnings for those getting into marketing automation

The truth about marketing automation that some business owners fail to realize is that it’s not a magic solution that will resolve issues like a stagnant revenue or low conversion rate. Like any tool, marketing automation has to be used properly to have the desired outcome. You can’t expect to generate meaningful leads if you leave a chatbot with a curious customer and offer no way to contact a human agent. Similarly, you can’t hope to gain consumer trust if all they get after sending you a complaint email is an automated response. Automated marketing should not be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. It should just be a supplementary part of it.

How to implement automated marketing

Step 1: Identify the tasks that can be automated

Look at your marketing flowcharts and identify the most repetitive steps in the process. Things like responding to emails or social media messages can significantly reduce your team’s workload. As much as users hate chatbots, if you program them properly, they can answer the repetitive questions your team usually has to deal with every day. Questions like how much is this product or where are you located are things that don’t require a real person on the other end to answer.

Step 2: Choose the right software

There are many tools available in the market for automating various processes. Here are just a few examples of the most popular ones:

  • Customer.io. Using artificial intelligence, Customer.io uses data from previous customer interaction to formulate emails that are personalized to each user. The information this software gathers also helps companies build a more accurate and comprehensive user profile.
  • Marketo. Marketo offers assistance on various tasks, from budgeting to personalized emailing.
  • Hubspot. HubSpot is well integrated among various social media sites, which help with content management, message response, comment moderating, etc. HubSpot also offers real-time analytics, which is useful for your overall digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing services companies recommend that you choose one not based on which has the highest price or the most features. Often, you might not even need half those features. What you should do instead is research each tool and determine the best one based on your needs and goals. Take advantage of free trial periods to determine if the interface is user-friendly and the performance is acceptable.

Step 3: Train the team

Your team needs to be familiar with the automation software to use it effectively. Hold a training seminar to teach them the interface and various features available. This skill also makes them more valuable as marketers since automated marketing is on the rise and companies are constantly on the hunt for marketers who are familiar with this technology.

Step 4: Evaluate and adjust

As with any marketing strategy, once you implement it, you need to evaluate it and adjust depending on your observations. A decrease in productivity is normal for the first week or so as your team acclimates to the new technology, but if it persists, there may be a bigger issue at play here. Get feedback from your team and ask if they’re encountering difficulty with the software. If they have suggestions for better alternatives, it may be wise to take that into account.

Automated marketing offers a more productive workplace, gives your employees a chance to focus on and develop more valuable skill sets, and creates a better experience for your clients. If you’re still struggling with adopting a working automated marketing scheme, there are digital marketing services agencies that can implement automated marketing for your company and train your staff for a fee. Their experience is valuable since they provide the best advice on what tools are best for your niche and offer tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your automated marketing software.

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