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Marketing Automation: Is your business ready for it?
Chintan Desai | Digital Marketing Consultant, Ashnik
Marketing has evolved over the years and so have the tools associated with it. Technology has stepped in as a friend and helped cut down on the mundane manual tasks. And what we are left with is Automation! The software or tools allow you to automate activities and operationalize communications with the goal of managing repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
The concept of Marketing Automation (MA) is not new and is implemented cross segments irrespective of the Industry or Business. Overall, it consolidates and integrates technologies with the core objective of Saving Time, Eliminating Errors, Boosting Employee Productivity, Streamlining workflows, Improving Efficiency & Conversion, and more. As soon as any user engages with your communication, the MA software adds them to the workflow and starts targeting them intelligently. Depending on the Industry – majorly the Sales, Marketing, Human Resource & the Customer Service are the obvious top gainers of any marketing automation implementation.
Some of these technology advancements are going to impact and re-engineer the concept of reaching and nurturing the potential customers of a business:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – AI enabled Marketing Automation is on the rise with the sole purpose of gaining actionable insights from the enormous data which businesses capture on a daily basis. These insights are used to better reach the target audience, in a timely manner, with appropriate communication to convert them into a customer. AI (big data-backed) is a key to unlocking the real human approach which is missing in most of the robotic conversations which any MA software provides.
Add a dash of Predictive Analysis to this and it enables marketers to convert Data into Decisions, initiate meaningful interactions and accelerates the potential to customer journey. Adopting tools with such capabilities would help in say – Optimizing Ad spends, Creating a dynamic landing page, Auto-set the tone and context of your social media posts
- Research by Salesforce says, by 2020, companies would excel at hyper-targeted advertising to anticipate their needs before contacting them. A media company Infopro Digital puts together hyper-targeted customer segmentation in just 2 hours
- Netflix has done a brilliant job on its recommendation engine. More than 88% of TV shows people watch on Netflix are discovered through its recommendation engine.
Such is the power of AI-backed predictive analysis, and of course data being the key here.
- Chatbots – Chatbots are widely used on platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Websites, etc for faster conversation, at any time of the day hence reducing human intervention. Brands like Google, Amazon, Apple, etc have created some remarkably intelligent chatbots which intelligently connects with you, providing a variety of information to the user. It’s all about controlled power in the hands of these robots. Marketers know they are effective & consumers love them, hence they are readily available at your service.
- Amazon brings Echo Look, a hands-free Camera and Style Assistant with a built-in Alexa. It is as simple as shooting a short video so you can see yourself from every angle & view style recommendation via the Style Check feature (which is backed by machine learning algorithms with advice from “fashion specialists”), or create a lookbook so you can browse your outfits. After all who wouldn’t want an exclusive stylist always at their disposal?
- Brands today have started using Facebook Chatbots to qualify leads on autopilot which is a blessing for busy marketers who spend too much time sorting through finding the ‘right’ customers.
- Amtrak, the most extensive rail transport provider in the US, receives daily website traffic of more than 375,000 customers. They implemented Chatbot Julie, who was able to get 25% more bookings and 30% more revenue per customer, while at the same time saving over $1 million in customer support from their call centers.
- Data Visualization – Once you have passed the power to these robots, it’s time for marketers to find out the actual impact or ROI. Data doesn’t make sense until it is plotted & this is when tools with data visualization capabilities, which exposes patterns to the eye, come into play. Marketers, at a glance, can find out the number of automation workflows and how it has impacted the overall customer buying journey. This enables marketers to tie into the overall picture & design a custom message at this last mile and convert the potential customer in taking the desired action.
- Marketo, who is one of the biggest marketing automation vendors in the B2B space has in-built dashboards. Its numerous customizable dashboards make it possible to analyze cross-channel campaign revenue, comparing your results against competitors, monitoring the lead funnel, evaluating email campaigns, and more.
- Blockchain – According to a recent report, the U.S. spending on Blockchain will rise from $3.1 million to $41.1 million by 2025. In one of my past articles, I had mentioned how blockchain is more that bitcoin. In today’s times, Data is Oil and digital marketing has suffered much abuse at the hands of internet fraudsters, traced to the fact that many data storage platforms are centralized. Data needs to be easily accessible across teams and at the same time securely stored. With rising tension between customer obsession and privacy (like GDPR), decentralized systems are a possibility to solve the crisis.
- The answer to this is Blockchain technology which enables businesses to collect and safely store data without requiring the mediation of Google, Facebook, etc. Blockchain also offers a level of tracking and transparency that’s currently not available to brands. Thus, enabling the marketers to redirect customers in the right direction and towards the right content without bugging them too much. An app I came across is Blockstack, which is the easiest way to start building decentralized blockchain apps.
- Semantic SEO – Users today look for convenience and voice search (again a part of my past article). According to a PwC report, 65% of 25 to 49 year olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once per day. Have you tried searching anything on Google and then through Siri. A lot would differ in what you say and type. Hence, marketers, today should find out what their searchers want rather than what they might type. Thus, there comes a need to concentrate on TOPICS rather than KEYWORDS, which calls for an all-inclusive content writing as against the traditional keyword focused content. Keyword research would still matter but backed by a human approach would win the game.
- If you have not adopted or are still contemplating, I would recommend rather giving it a shot on any of the widely available Marketing Automation software before shooting it down your to-do list. Lastly, there’s no need to worry about a ROBOT taking over your Marketing job, the race is to free up your time, money, and put your energies into upscaling your role, adopting new initiatives or better utilizing your team’s time.
- Chintan is a marketing professional specialising in social media marketing, brand building & communications. He looks after all the digital marketing initiatives & activations for SE Asia & India at Ashnik. While in his free mode, he loves to cook and explore different places. He is also learning to settle into his new role of being a husband.