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Marketing Automation – When is it the Right Choice to Use Automation for your Business?

In Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Marketing Strategy by Robb FahrionLeave a Comment

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Automation is a very attractive concept for business leaders. It is not uncommon to see them expect dramatic changes to the organization and a lot more productivity that comes from it. Often the expectation is that just by buying and implementing sophisticated applications, the whole system gets better. It’s not a stretch to imagine the disappointment. 

Marketing automation is a great idea. When implemented in the right manner, it can truly add value to the system and make the experience for the customers a whole lot better. Like anything technology-related, there are a number of things to consider too. 

While the organization grows, it becomes impossible to pay attention manually to every customer. Technology is an obvious solution here. Automations ensure that the system does the majority of the manual work while leaving marketers to look at the bigger picture and plan for the future. 

It is also true that automation is a tricky maze to navigate. It is easy to get lost in the sheer number of choices you have to make. Deciding what processes to automate, what to leave as is, which tools to use, where do you draw the line - all these are critical decisions and there is a real chance that you will end up harming the brand itself. 

With so many pitfalls, how do you take a call? Also, what are some of the additional ideas that you can implement while implementing automation? Here are a few ideas.

The Need for Personalization

Personalization is at the top of the agenda for any marketing leader. Customers are often spoilt for choices and a good experience is often the deciding factor. Automation definitely helps here. Like triggering automated emails based on a client query or an action. 

There are pitfalls here too. I was interacting with an enterprise CRM platform, just exploring to see if it fit a client’s need. The automated emails from the associate and the company were in a jumble, without any coherent information. More than 3 a day, that too. It definitely doesn’t inspire confidence, doesn’t it? This is by no means the fault of the platform, but its execution. 

The email sequences are great at engaging prospects who are navigating the funnel. But these sequences need a certain level of manual oversight. The account owners and the marketing team will have to stay on top of it. Regularly watching leads to ensure that they are getting the right emails, looking at each email template independently - all these are some ways in which you can ensure things stay on track. This ensures that you are not turning the customer away or raising any red flags that would affect the customer experience. 

It’s also important to ensure that the email sequences and the narrative in these emails are part of a larger coherent narrative about the product or service. This larger narrative is important in convincing your customers and providing them with relevant contextual information that is aimed at moving them closer to the sale. 

What Processes Do You Automate?

This is another tricky part of the equation. It is often the case that the user journey consists of a number of different activities. There are multiple stakeholders involved too who all need information. In such scenarios, listing the processes that are to be automated and which ones remain manual is not straightforward.

It is also an age of integration where there is always a simple plug-in solution to automate any and every part of the process. While it sounds exciting, there are concerns about stability and privacy here while using third-party tools or apps. These considerations are also to be taken into account. 

There are certain processes like cold email outreach and some email follow-up chains that can be automated. There is a lot of value to be found in these initiatives too. This automation can substantially increase the outreach and can fill the top of the funnel quite well. Most marketing tools available have functionalities to automate these elements and can be monitored quite closely too. 

Automating high-level executive functions, or even follow-up messages to automated emails is a whole other issue. Automation can support and enhance the process, but it cannot replace it entirely. The human element is vital in a sales process, and automating these can quickly backfire.

If you try automating important elements like sending quotes and invoices or maybe having canned responses to queries or concerns is not going to be of much value. Don’t you hate it when the response to a serious/urgent query is a bot sending you a complex documentation page that you’ve already seen? These are important touchpoints in customer experience, and having manual processes for these situations will help. 

Executing the Automation

While aspects discussed above are important, the more technical aspects of implementing the automation are equally important. Considering a standard organization, there’s a website, marketing automation tool, and a CRM  - that’s already 3 aspects that need to work together to ensure that the customers have a coherent experience. This is important for your internal process too. Maintaining up-to-date and comprehensive data across the systems and getting automation to work on it is no easy feat to achieve. 

Ensuring that the systems integrate, and can work together is the first step in the process. You also need to configure these systems to capture the relevant data and to make it available on-demand. Automations usually work based on certain triggers, and these need to be aligned too. Say a customer makes a purchase and then cancels it. Is your marketing system updated in real-time to make sure that a purchase follow-up mail is not sent? This level of granularity will help you execute the automation, and enhance the customer experience. 

Conclusion

Marketing automation is a necessity. Consumers are expecting quick solutions and a great experience overall. Achieving this through manual processes alone is quite impossible. Technology platforms have made it quite easy to automate your processes too, without too much hassle overall.

The success however depends on the planning and execution. Selecting the right tool, choosing the processes, personalizing the experience - all this requires a great level of detail and also a good strategy behind it.

It is also not that expensive to implement automation. Doing it wrong will certainly cost you though. One bad experience is all that it takes for you to lose an important customer - that is the world we are operating in. With these many considerations and complexities, the best way to ensure success here is to work with a leading digital marketing agency like Flying V Group with the experience to understand the optimal volume and processes that need to be automated.

We have helped many organizations big and small automate their marketing processes and drive significant ROI from this. Talk to us to know more.


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Robb Fahrion
Robb Fahrion, Partner
Flying V Group