— Marketing

Automate the customer experience

By Darren Kirkland

Summary

These are truly uncertain times. New Zealand’s lockdowns might have eased back, but COVID-19 is still heavily impacting the rest of the world and we truly don’t know what’s around the corner.

In the economic fallout of the pandemic, marketing budgets are feeling the pinch. There are, quite frankly, a vast number of other priorities on leaders’ plates.

Marketing automation could be a solution for Kiwi marketers looking to supercharge their campaigns in a time where they need to help their organisation get back on track. But why?

In a nutshell, why do people turn to marketing automation?

 

Marketing automation does what it says on the tin – automates key processes in the marketing funnel to improve efficiency and maximise accuracy. Not only can this enable marketers to focus on more important value-adding activities (without spending time on menial, repetitive tasks), it can also produce better data, which leads to more useful, measurable results.

So what does marketing automation look like?

Like all automated processes, marketing automation is a set of systems that can self-implement and repeat mundane tasks, evolving or updating as necessary based on user input (i.e. it can evolve to be more personal for customers).

To use an example, let’s imagine we are leading a campaign to drive users through a complete nurture funnel from awareness to conversion. If we design a series of eDMs, social media ads, Google search ads, articles and landing pages, whitepapers or other downloadable pieces, infographics, and videos, we can combine them all in an automated package that sends the right message to the right customer at the right time.

The flow might look something like this: Customer A sees an ad on Facebook. They click, which takes them to a piece of desirable content they can submit an email address in order to download. Automatically, that customer is sent an email with their new content. Then, say two days later, they receive a follow-up email with more information that they might enjoy, or perhaps a reminder that they have yet to take advantage of an opportunity that is open to them. They open this email, where they see our infographic and video. Over time, we automatically send more emails or target them with evolving social media content in order to match their progress through the funnel. If Customer A doesn’t like our content, the system can drop them out of the flow. If they engage, they can receive more, and it becomes increasingly tailored to their past choices in the funnel because all the while we are gathering data to better serve this customer.

At the end of this process, we’ve gently nurtured a new customer from awareness to purchase while barely lifting a finger ourselves after the initial setup. They have had a unique, tailored experience, and have turned into a satisfied customer that feels we genuinely care about their needs.

The benefits of marketing automation, in numbers

 

Anecdotes are one thing, but numbers are better.

According to Forrester research, companies that invest in marketing automation improve their customer reach by 30-50%, leads generated by 15-20%, and reduce their campaign execution time by 20-30%.

The Annuitas Group showed that businesses using marketing automation to nurture customers experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.

On the subject of sales, Aberdeen Group research suggests that companies using marketing automation can see as much as 53% higher conversion rates and 3.1% higher annual revenue growth than non-users.

So that’s why everyone is in love with marketing automation

 

Marketing automation is designed to be efficient. By investing in these systems, marketers can deploy fast, effective marketing campaigns even during times of economic uncertainty. After the initial setup there is far less input required than would otherwise be with no automation, meaning marketers and their staff can focus on more important strategic tasks that will help the business rebuild in a new, post-COVID-19 world.

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