Automation is very much in focus of late with marketing automation fast becoming the backbone of campaigns worldwide. Be it elections, promoting a new product or announcing offers and discounts, automation is playing a key role and looks set to further dominate throughout 2019.
What is Marketing Automation?
This refers to the use of software to target customers with automated marketing notifications and messages across various platforms, using emails, social media, text messages and pop up notifications. It has fuelled overall marketing efficiency and outreach. Automated delivery can raise visibility, generate interest among potential customers and result in higher sales.
Automation tools help in lead generation via chatbots across various platforms, including webpages, email marketing, SMS and social media. There are tools to analyse customer demographics, behavior and usage patterns. This data can then be used for customer segmentation and more effective targeting for ad campaigns.
Mapping the customer experience and using personalised and dynamic content are the most effective ways of optimising marketing automation, according to a survey conducted by ClickDimensions and Ascend2 and published in June 2018.
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History of Marketing Automation
It’s really difficult to say how and when marketing automation began. But, the earliest, most notable initiative was probably IBM’s launch of Unica automation software in 1992. Unica products now help to power IBM’s omni-channel marketing and real-time automation solutions. Unica was launched at a time when most business didn’t even have an online presence and the internet was in its nascent stages.
The rising penetration of the internet in the early and mid-2000s led to the development of cloud-based marketing tools, such as HubSpot, Act-On and Ontraport.
In 2010, fewer than a billion people were using social media, but HubSpot and Infusionsoft started integrating social marketing tools into their systems. Mobile commerce and webinars started gaining popularity, leading to the further development of automated marketing tools.
Between 2010 and 2014, acquisitions worth over $5.5 billion were made in the marketing automation industry, the largest being the purchase of ExactTarget by Salesforce for $ 2.5 billion.
By 2017, more than 50% companies were using marketing automation and almost 60% B2B firms had plans of adopting the technology, according to figures released by EmailMonday.
By now the benefits of marketing automation are inarguable. Of course, it saves time and money. But, those aren’t the primary reasons for the growing use of marketing automation. More than 90% of marketers consider such tools for their ability to provide “continuous and autonomous optimisation across channels” as well as to enable teams to “review, analyze, and act upon customer and marketing data in a continuous and real-time fashion,” according to a survey published in Business Wire.
The Future of Marketing Automation
Relying Less on Forms
Forms are used to collect data about prospective customers. But, forms are passive, and people avoid filling them, especially since they’re mostly using their cellphones to surf the net. Forms can be replaced with chatbots, which use artificial intelligence to have a conversation with website visitors. The conversation can be auditory or textual. It’s a great way for people to explore your website and get to know your brand. And, you can capture the necessary information and engage with potential customers.
Responding to Leads on Time
Surprisingly, 37% of companies in a survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review team responded to a test lead within an hour. A quarter of companies surveyed took more than 24 hours and a quarter didn’t respond at all!
The integration of websites, applications and CRM is necessary to respond quickly to leads. It will help you to monitor when, how and where potential customers are engaging with your brand. It will lower your response time, without increasing costs and help you provide a better customer experience.
Behavior Based Workflows
Selling a phone to a teenager, a printer to a young executive or a laptop to the elderly, all require different marketing approaches. With marketing automation, it’s possible to take a more personalised approach based on customer behavior. Messages can be automatically tailored based on segmentation as well as on customer behavior, which is deciphered through the customer’s interaction history with your website and the products they have already purchased.
Automating Social Media Outreach
You search for shoes on an ecommerce site and you see ads for them when you log into your Facebook account or surf the net. Social media has emerged as a powerful channel for marketing your product, providing a great opportunity to engage with customers.
HubSpot, Hootsuite and other tools allow you to schedule, manage and generate reports for social media engagement. Hootsuite now allows auto-publishing on Instagram. And, SocialDrift allows you to optimise the outreach of your social media accounts through filters to target the ideal audience for your products and services. The Contentworks team can help you with creating social media engagement that’s highly targeted and effective.
Marketing automation is poised for massive growth and there may be significant changes driven by technological advancements. A great marketing automation strategy focuses on customer needs. Data collected from the interaction of users with your brand across various channels can help you optimise the content provided to target your client base. A successful approach will analyse this data to understand the pattern of consumer needs and buying habits to influence their decision making in future purchases.
Contentworks is a content marketing agency that’s all about understanding your brand, telling your story and achieving your goals. Unless you want to climb Everest. We analyse your existing content marketing efforts, strategise and create managed content marketing plans that don’t tie up your precious resources.