Getting to the core of marketing automation
Marketing automation is a rich, technical topic that requires a great level of understanding before jumping in the heat of setting it up.
Your presence here today either means:
- You are using marketing automation and would like to go further and improve your processes.
- You are willing to start playing with marketing automation, therefore you need to understand what lies behind it and how to use it.
- None of the above! You ended up here by mistake but you are curious and eager to learn about all kinds of subjects, so you’ll stick around.
Whatever your reasons to be reading these words, at the end of this article you will have a clear definition of marketing automation in mind, what you can actually do with it to support you in your daily professional life, and what you need to consider to do it right.
What is marketing automation?
To make sure all aspects of marketing automation are covered, I’ve extracted the essence out of the definitions written by the biggest marketing automation companies out there: Hubspot, Salesforce, and Adobe experience cloud.
According to them, marketing automation is:
- a technology that automatically manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns across multiple channels – Salesforce
- the use of software to automate monotonous, repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and even ad campaigns not only for the sake of efficiency but also to provide a personalized experience for their customers – Hubspot
- a tool allowing companies to centralize and manage their interactions with customers and bring sales and marketing teams together – Adobe experience cloud
These key points sum up what marketing automation is all about, but there’s something obvious missing in there: a human being hides behind marketing automation. The tool or software only does what you tell it to do so you need to make sure your marketing strategy is on point and well designed as it is the basis for your automation strategy.
What can you do with marketing automation?
Marketing automation facilitates the most time-consuming activities related to sales and marketing responsibilities such as sorting out contact lists, creating digital campaigns, email marketing, blog posts, ticketing, social media posting, lead scoring, etc. As the business world is growing more and more complex every day, marketing automation helps to simplify the way we operate our marketing to make sure the right people receive the right personalized content at the right time. Using customer data, marketers are able to launch campaigns delivering content to customers that will lead them further into the conversion funnel. In short, every task that repeats itself over time can be automated to save a huge amount of time and resources.
Take the flowchart above as an example. It describes a simple workflow of an NPS satisfaction survey sent out to a customer database. According to the score given to their experience with a company, each person will receive a personalized answer and a different action will be triggered. If clients are dissatisfied with their experience, action will be triggered to notify the person in your team responsible for them so they can reach out to them. The next step would then be to label the contacts according to their level of satisfaction. We can then imagine sending the people labeled as “promoters” a message asking if they would like to give a testimony of their experience and we’d be able to nurture a meaningful relationship with each and every category of clients.
Of course, there are many things other than email marketing that you can do with marketing automation but the idea stays the same behind every workflow: automation tools help you identify your audience, design content specifically for them and automatically trigger actions based on schedules and customer behaviors.
Marketing automation not only makes you save time and resources but also creates new opportunities because you can do things you wouldn’t necessarily do without automation. Some marketing activities can be left aside for a lack of time or motivation. Imagine checking your contact list manually every day to see who has their birthday to send them a gift? No one wants to do that. Automating such activities allows you to spend more time focusing on growing your business. All you have to do is to analyze the results and react accordingly.
What do you need to do it right?
First and foremost, you need a clear, well-rounded marketing strategy. It always starts there and we will never say it too much. It might be a machine automating your marketing, there’s still a human being behind it and all your actions must be grounded into a global plan. You need to know what you are automating and why you are doing so. Strategy first, automation second.
The second step is obviously having an automation tool. The type of tool you use depends on your needs and means. Of course, the Rolls Royce of marketing automation is CRM software as it allows you to centralize all activities related to your customers and campaigns giving you a 360° view, plus it has the advantage of simplifying sales handover. You might need more than one software (emailing tool, landing page builder, etc) and as long as you keep track of your automation and the responses they get from your clientele, you will be able to accomplish a lot.
Remember you can’t optimize what you don’t measure so collecting as much data as possible is absolutely central to succeed in marketing automation. Here lies the challenge. It is essential that you get to know your leads and customers in order to have relevant content to push to them. There are many tactics you can use to gather the information you need such as lead magnets, questionnaires, surveys, and IP reverse engineering to name only a few.
Last but not least, when you start automating your marketing the best thing you can do is make sure the sales and marketing teams are aligned and work hand in hand. Together, they should define a common objective and what is their definition of success. It is key to maintaining harmonious processes throughout all stages.
What lies beyond marketing automation?
Automation doesn’t necessarily apply to marketing. Once you’ve tasted the joy of automating monotonous activities, you cannot look back. At Enigma, we’ve been working with a robot named Kaito for years. It saves 300 human working hours per week as it automatically generates weekly reports, invoices, and much more. It is a precious ally in our daily lives and allows our customers to get reports more often to keep track of our collaboration.
As a 360° communications agency with a special bond to digital territories, we always search for new ways of saving time and resources thanks to all kinds of automation tools. If you’d like to know more, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
Of course, most of the time we help companies and organizations install a CRM or define their inbound strategy through our MAAS services, but if Kaito raised your curiosity and you’re interested in other types of automation, we’d be thrilled to have a geeky conversation tailored to your needs.