In a study conducted by delaware and the Karel de Grote Hogeschool, a majority of companies indicated that marketing automation is one of their top priorities. The irony, however, is that very few of them are actively engaged in it. Sure, they’re putting a lot of effort into sending out emails in which they address their clients by their first names – but that’s about it. In the process, they are missing out on a wealth of opportunities, like gaining a better understanding of their customers. If they take the right approach to it, that is.
‘Real’ marketing automation actually refers to the automation of ‘marketing flows’ during the customer journey, both in the digital world and the real world. Of course, channels in the former are much easier to program, but there are companies today that use marketing automation to create personalized print folders for their clients.
With automated ‘flows’, the kind of marketing materials your prospects receive depends entirely on her or his profile and behavior. In this way, you’re not only ‘nurturing’ them through the sales process, you’re also providing relevant content that is way more likely to convert them.
You’ve guessed it: to make marketing automation work, you’ll need to know exactly who your prospects are, which means you’ll need not just raw data, but customer intelligence. With the right data and insights, you’ll be able to understand exactly what your target audience expects from you.
Be warned, however: personalization is a key aspect of marketing automation – but it’s tricky, too. It’s not an exact science, and even with deep customer analysis, it’s impossible to predict your next sale. The key to it all is rigorous testing.
Driven by technology
Another important aspect of marketing automation is, of course, the technology that makes it possible. Software development has made huge progress in the last couple of years, with endless possibilities emerging through fine-tuned orchestration.
The automation technology software market is overflowing, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by choice. To select the right tool for your company, you’ll first need a clear picture of what your goals are. Based on those goals, you can make a list of specific criteria, and use that as a touchstone. This also means that marketing automation isn’t just reserved for large companies: armed with clear goals and criteria, SMEs can benefit from it as well.
Focus on quick returns
While the field of marketing automation may seem overwhelming at first, it’s good to realize that even some minor tweaks in how you interact with your customers can make a world of difference. Focus, for example, on conversion-driven scenarios that provide quick returns, such as abandoned shopping carts, or customers who haven’t bought from your store in a while.
You’ll find that the first move toward marketing automation doesn’t need to be a leap of faith at all, but a measured step towards more effective customer interactions.
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