What is Marketing Automation? And some misconceptions.
Marketing Automation is generally understood as a combination of different software platforms and technologies that have been designed to help organizations market their products and services on multiple channels online. The underlying objective of implementing these software’s and systems is to automate tasks that are repetitive, time consuming and non-revenue generating and focus on core marketing activities.
In an ideal situation marketing automation software’s and systems can allow companies to buy and sell their products by converting prospects into customers and customers into super revenue generating customers. This would help in generating significant amounts of new revenue for the companies using such systems. Although marketing automation is a significant task and requires a lot of effort, yet once executed correctly has a lot of long term benefits.
Unfortunately the term marketing automation is misunderstood and sometimes companies seek or install such software’s and platforms thinking that all their marketing tasks including lead generation will become automated by deploying such a system. This misunderstanding can cost the company both in terms of time and money leaving them with a system which they do not fully understand or do not have the adequate inputs to.
Marketing Automation Best Practices
Below are some best practices that are utilized by industry leaders and can serve as an excellent blue print for implementing and running Marketing Automation Systems:
Gathering the Input data accurately:
First and foremost, to every successful system there is accurate input. Marketers would need to gather and assemble information regarding the target audience accurately. This would involve capturing different types of data and expanding the exercise of capturing the data beyond traditional sources of data collection.
Different sources like the social media networks can be utilized for gathering this preliminary information but an important aspect at this stage is to ensure that all data about prospects is collected accurately and summarized in a manner that is useable by the automated system.
Gathering Additional Information:
Another best practice utilized to smoothly run automated marketing systems is to collect information beyond the basic order details or history. This widening of the scope of information allows in organizing future marketing activities that can help in generating further revenue by uncovering opportunities that were originally invisible.
Real time or near real time updates:
Once the system has been put into place it needs to function in real time or close to real time environment. This can be very beneficial as it allows companies in engaging prospects when their interest is at its highest in the product or service at offer. This would also help in locking down the customer and securing any future revenues that are expected to be earned from them.
It is always best to group customers together in line with some shared attribute or characteristic. For example they can be grouped together based on their age, demographics, company, product preferences etc. This can help in revealing patterns and generating insights that can majorly benefit the company and help reveal revenue generating areas that formerly were not visible.
The above are some basic Marketing Automation best practices that are currently utilized by market leaders. As the field of marketing automation evolves best practices are being put in place to ensure a smooth transition for companies that are moving from conventional marketing management to automated marketing.