The appeal of automation makes sense: in a time where marketers are held to high standards and spread thin across an increased workload, anything you can set and forget is a welcome time saver. What companies didn’t predict, though, was how much time is attached to establishing automation. And while there are risks involved in automation’s perceived easy button, companies are still embracing it in droves. So how do marketers keep from blowing it?
Work the room. If you’re hosting a party, you have to make sure your guests are settled before you can step out for some fresh air. Automation, like letting the party run itself for a minute, opens new opportunities for engagement, but it’s important to study each channel before you jump in (or sneak out). Understand the consumer touch points, how each channel might be used differently by an individual consumer, and map that out during your planning. With a unique blend of robust data assets and innovative methods, marketers can manage a sophisticated offer mix.
Know your guests. Who are you entertaining and what are they expecting from you? Instead of guessing results to predict the appropriate course, let data drive your decisions. It’s a quicker, more accurate means to an end that will help shape your best practices. Failing to know your audience will lead to automation that doesn’t add up and with the power of reviews, user-generated content and social media, consumers are quick to talk about how out-of-touch a message was.
From drinks to dessert, make it all work together. Successful organizations are those who no longer operate in silos. This is just as applicable to your marketing channels as it is to your staff. Every channel should be optimized, and every department should be equipped to maximize consumer touch points. Sharing data to drive the testing and sharing learnings to drive the strategy are critical in establishing a cohesive approach that feels organic to your customer.
Set up checks and balances. As tempting as it may be, don’t send your automation out as a drone without supervision. The world is moving quickly, consumers have access to a lot of information and your competitors are chatting them up, too. Put systems in place to monitor your automation so you don’t deploy messaging that could make you seem, well, automated.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? Luckily, there are tools to get you where you need to be – where your automation is driven by strategy, not convenience. Companies who invest in optimization and streamlining their automation will see an increase in consumer engagement, more significant ROI and, ultimately, they’ll pull ahead of the competition.