Marketing Automation probably conjures up a picture of a gigantic machine that addresses all pressing marketing issues. Depending on who you are, you might find that daunting or think of it as lazy. It’s actually neither.
All Hail The All-Knowing
Sci-fi fans will remember Isaac Asimov’s MULTIVAC (a powerful computer that can answer all questions). Human beings have obsessed over machines to automate human activities, for centuries. The twentieth century added information to this love of machine automation and gave us an influential invention – the internet.
If you belong to a pre-millennial generation, you’ll remember that the internet in its early days, was referred to as ‘the information superhighway’. That highway is a solar system today, comprising multiple interfaces, languages, systems and devices. All of them capture, transmit and store information about the human beings they serve. Information is the sun of this solar system, around which all devices & platforms revolve and are connected.
So, let’s take this modern-day MULTIVAC and see if it can solve our marketing problems, shall we? How do I bring in my customers? How do I move them beyond window shopping? Why aren’t they buying? How can I get them in and keep them there?
Where does Marketing Automation come in?
Today’s economically viable customer is also most likely, a digital native. He or she owns and operates at least one internet-connected device – a mobile phone, a laptop, a tablet, or a smart TV. His life is being registered on digital bits & bytes. Her choices and even her pauses are being noted by her devices. What he searches for, what she chooses, how long he lingers, when she switches – all of this is captured at an individual level for a wide variety of people.
Here’s Marketing Automation in a minute, by The One Minute Marketer:
What can Marketing Automation do for you, Marketer?
Let’s call your ideal customer, Nita Shaw. You’ve created a world for her – product lines, delivery channels and communication systems. You are tracking every step of her digital journey into your world, right from her searches, her clicks and time spent on each page. Where are the milestones, the bottlenecks, the turning points in her journey? Does she linger over the product lines, often adding or subtracting from her list? Does she usually stall at the point of purchase? Does she need convincing to move from window shopping to buying? Do you need to remind her to get her thinking about you again? Each of these are time-crucial moments in her journey, that you can leverage with appropriate communication.
Let’s look at the actions she takes. She opens emails from you, takes your calls, responds to your surveys, subscribes to your newsletters, requests a chat, books an appointment or makes a special request. Each of these is her engaging with you, giving you the opportunity to bring her in closer. Map these out and you have a workflow that you can use to automate your marketing communication.
Marketing Automation lets you customise each customer’s journey, making their interactions with you, feel more personal to them.
Kentico has a fun illustration of Marketing Automation, using a giraffe business as an example.
Marketing Automation allows you to respond to each such Nita Shaw, at the moment she arrives at a milestone and in a manner that feels personal to her.
Each such milestone becomes a trigger. Every trigger automatically sets off an action (book an appointment, schedule a demonstration, add to special offers list, request feedback) or a piece of communication from you (a response email, a chatbot, a phone call, a text message survey). Digital analytics are tracking the customer’s journey through the digital space. Marketing Automation lets you meet this customer without disruption and guide them back to you.
Marketing Automation can also combine your lead generation and customer relationship management efforts into a more productive exercise.
Wishpond has a video that explains how.
How do you get started on Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation begins with plotting a workflow. This is a map of all the journeys your customer could make to get to the transaction. Consider all the platforms, devices and websites that your audience usually frequents. Mark out the delay areas, and the milestones and from these, build your triggers.
Tools like MailChimp allow you to allocate simple triggers such as welcome emails on sign-ups and Reminder emails on cart abandonment. Autoresponders allow you to trigger instant acknowledgements of requests and complaints. Finally, for a comprehensive systemic automation plan, companies like Netcore offer client-focused Marketing Automation solutions.
Don’t forget to read Hubspot’s ‘5 Dangerous Myths about Marketing Automation’ to ensure that you don’t go off-track!
If you liked my take on Marketing Automation, also read my other posts on Marketing & Brands.