Marketing automation: the term, at times, still sounds like something from the future. We think of "automation" as something robotic and stable which spits out content at regular intervals and is pre-set and inflexible. Today's marketing automation, however, is very dynamic.
Marketing automation means quicker and more effective lead nurturing, better quality leads, increased customer loyalty and reduced time and money spent on marketing campaigns. The challenge, however, lies in using marketing automation and the data that comes with it effectively. For many marketers, the task of utilizing "big data" seems almost impossible. What needs to change before marketing automation gains more widespread adoption?
Marketing automation now includes diverse aspects such as lead management, web analytics and online marketing. Using marketing automation, you can effectively target your customers using segmentation, trigger-based messages, action-based inbound marketing content and more.
When marketing automation first came out, however, it consisted of a lot of robocalling and spam emails. Although those aspects of "marketing" are still unfortunate realities for many annoyed consumers, automation has actually made many parts of the marketing process more personal than ever before.
With effective marketing automation, consumers now receive personally targeted content that keeps them more engaged and meets their needs without them having to sift through content they don't want. An integral part of marketing automation is often content marketing: sending content designed to educate consumers and influence their purchasing habits in subtler ways than traditional advertising.
Marketing automation also makes the marketing process interactive. The flow of content to each consumer is altered based on specific triggers, the influx of new information and actions taken by the recipient of the content.
In the past, nurturing leads past a certain point had to be done manually by salespeople. Marketing automation can now take care of such time-consuming processes as sorting leads, following up with customers after each purchase, analyzing which marketing campaign has the best response and much more.
Many top companies now use marketing automation, yet many are not seeing the benefits they had hoped for. According to some studies, as low as 7% of companies using marketing automation are gaining measurable results that show an increase in ROI. The reason for this, in many cases, is that there is so much data available but businesses do not know how to use it.
Marketing automation tracks everything from email opens to purchase history to each and every action a contact takes. This wealth of information can give us insights about how to reach each customer, build loyalty and increase sales. But only if we know how to use it. We now have so much data on hand that as many as 66% of marketers feel overwhelmed by this data and simply stop checking it.
Gathering infinite amounts of data and not knowing how to put it to use is like watching all your food go bad because your fridge is locked and you can't get in. It's not enough to have huge swaths of data. You have to have the technology that enables you to use it.
The road ahead
A huge part of the future of marketing automation will revolve around new industries and organizations adopting marketing automation. The direction marketing automation goes in also depends on marketers gaining more proficiency in marketing automation and becoming more comfortable using it (and all the data that comes with it). And for that to happen, marketers need to take advantage of new tools that help them make full use of their data.
Tools that enable marketers to understand their data are on the rise. Using predictive analytics, marketers take the data they have collected and use it to more effectively reach each customer and accelerate their sales cycle. Look for tools that show you who to reach out to and how to connect with them. For example, automated sales funnels help identify the hottest leads for you and send them messages based on each lead's personal needs and interests. This shortens the time it takes to convert leads and keeps leads engaged rather than letting them drop off.
SimplyCast's marketing automation tools provide comprehensive sending, tracking and reports that show you where the strengths and weaknesses lie in your marketing campaigns. Our reports are simple to understand, yet provide the real numbers you need in order to create more compelling content. Sign up for a free demo with our friendly sales team and learn how we are making marketing easier and more efficient for you.