Marketing automation has fundamentally changed the way marketers do business. To be able to schedule cross-channel campaigns that deliver on time and on target frees up a lot of opportunity for marketers to focus on things like strategy, creative, and feedback loops. Campaigns run with fewer resources, still generating and nurturing leads. But unlike the flawless “set it and forget it” reliability of, say, a crock pot, automation has its risks.
Choosing the right platform:
Not all marketing automation platforms are created equal. Some platforms only provide a few of the tools you need for a comprehensive strategy. The right platform should offer a wide range of features and integrate with all the systems your company uses to track customer behavior. Having a one-stop-shop for your social media accounts, website, email, and CRM features allows for a holistic perspective of the customer journey. This way, you can respond appropriately to customer interactions, meeting them where they are and ensuring a seamless experience.
Get to know Demand-Side Platforms:
Put plainly, a demand-side platform (DSP) is a one-stop shop for marketers to manage digital advertising across multiple networks. And while this sounds like a useful hub for otherwise disconnected channels, the problem is that they’re another place to be buying things that doesn’t necessarily coordinate with your outbound tactics. It’s one tool that does its thing very well, but it doesn’t integrate with their other media that’s not covered by the DSP, which still leaves you with manual processes to see the whole picture.
DSP are automating buying advertising. How do I coordinate that with my push and purchase platforms? The work to bring it together is human and software. And you have to have good, clean data in there if you’re going to automation.
Having good data as a base:
Outdated or incomplete customer data will give you an inaccurate picture of your customers. Base your automation processes on quality data that will enable you to reach the right people, in the right place, at the right time. Strong data will enable your business to segment customers so you can customize interactions based on demographics and behavior. Grouping similar customers together will help you understand the needs of individual customers, and this is best accessed with reliable quality data.
Create great content:
Automation isn’t just about how you’re delivering information – it’s also about what you’re delivering. Quality content will establish your company as a thought leader in your industry. Instead of hyper-focusing on the features of your products and services, your content should inform and entertain readers. Blogs, white papers, and eBooks provide opportunities for customers to learn solutions to the problems they are facing. Great content can forecast industry trends and create a unique voice for your brand, and can position you as a strong option for your customers through good old fashioned showing, not telling.
Use all the features:
Learn what your automation toolkit has to offer and use it. All of it. With a well-built automation system, lead generation tools will help you track your customers through smart forms to data generation, where you can then mobilize appropriate follow-up. If you are using your marketing automation platform effectively, it should reduce your marketing team’s manual work and help to personalize your approach. Your team should be trained on all aspects of the platform and encouraged to explore its range of features. This way, the platform can reach its full potential.
Automation doesn’t replace people:
The pitfalls of technology highlight the importance of the human element in making marketing automation work. Your marketing team has many decisions to make when it comes to choosing and implementing a marketing automation platform. Customers shouldn’t feel like your business is paying them lip service by sending out generic emails and posts. To see a return on investment, your business needs to develop a strong, customer-oriented marketing strategy before setting marketing automation in motion. Once a marketing automation strategy is in place, your team needs to monitor the data and delivery so you can learn which tactics are generating results.
Perhaps most importantly, you don’t have to make these decisions alone. Working with the right marketing partner can help you monitor, evaluate, and revise your automated marketing strategy so that you optimize your results.
Is your team experiencing some of the pitfalls of automated marketing? Let’s chat.