Marketing Automation – Myths and Facts
The term marketing automation has been hyped as a solution to increase the sales output of your marketing activities. This suggests you can get a factory like output to sales if using marketing automation techniques in your marketing processes. After checking out a few white papers out there on the topic, I have come to the conclusion that automation is prevalent in the marketing ecosystem but as distinct silos as each were added through the years, but none can lay to claim to an overall solution.
Marketing automation is closely tied to the use of digital tools that has brought a lot efficiencies to the marketing process. Lets see some of digital tools that may fall under the rule of automation that are available in the market to create a blueprint for your marketing plans using technology.
The Customer Journey
Personal Assistant – Smartphone
With the advent of the smartphone enables a computer device to help manage the personal activities of the user anywhere that provides phone, calendar, video, phone, email, text and camera as part of it capabilities.
Market Intelligence – Competition Spying/Surveys
You can get content alerts from Google on key words to keep an eye on your competition that will send you links of relevant content. You can do online surveys and polls that automates the tabulation results.
Customer Surveillance – Cookies/ Ad Tags
Mass Communications – Email
The automation of sending emails to a mass audience with a single click and be personalized is offered by the latest email marketing software, some solutions can monitor the click path of the readers to determine future content to help personalized the message.
Digital Robots – Bots
Bots are tools used by companies to automate a single task like the search engine spiders used to find and rank content from the internet. It has also been used effectively by hackers for click and ham (comment spam) bots to drive traffic to ad farms.
Content Management System – CMS
A content management systems automates the compilation of html code into a template model for web publishing. This can come in many forms a company website or personal web pages on a social media platform
You can now get real time reports for all the activity on your website in a single dashboard that you can monitor. You can track visits, most popular content and time spent.
Sales Fulfillment – Online Ordering
With the use of an app or website a company can now sell online without the need for human contact. This allows for the collection of customer information for retention and loyalty programs.
Customer Service – Chatbots
While the jury is still out on the effectiveness of the use of chatbots for customer inquiries, but to automate this process with a robotic feature using AI sounds tempting.
Lead Generation/Sales – CRM
Automating the sales process initially concentrated on reporting and lead tracking for sales reps in a single database that can be accessed from the cloud. The latest generation of CRM systems are being integrated with content consumption tracking (cookies/ad tags) and lead scoring tool for rep follow-up.
Social Media Content/Monitoring
You can now get a solution for social media campaigns that will help with content creation that comes with an analytics dashboard to monitor social media activity for all the digital channels.
With the above digital tools many marketing functions are now automated, but they still need a captain to steer the ship as they will have to be integrated into the whole marketing process from start to finish. Investment in your digital infrastructure should be on the top list of priories for companies as they will need to find ways to save money and increase the ROI of the marketing spend at the same time in this market environment.