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Marketing Automation has been on everyone’s lips for a few years now, yet many surrounding legends hinder its use. Let’s clarify once and for all what it is and what it is not.

Marketing Automation is still scary for marketers. Its rate of adoption was measured last year by the MailUp Statistical Observatory, which collected and analyzed the data from over 12 billion email messages sent with the platform. The data—related to the year 2016 and aggregated by target (B2C, B2B or cross), type of message (newsletters, DEM or transactional) and business sector—demonstrates this: only 9% of companies have at least an automatic flow of emails or SMS.

Talking with customers, we understand that the motivation for such a low usage threshold is diversified and often not entirely reasonable. In this post we try to break it down so that any final decision can be based not on preconceptions but on real data.

First of all: what is Marketing Automation?

Marketing Automation is a synthesis of a series of complex activities with diverse tactical and operative objectives. All of these trace back to one final, triple objective: personalize user experience to the maximum, build a personal conversation with each user and, in the final anaylsis, maximize the ROI of every single marketing channel.

Marketing Automation replaces many separate systems with a single solution, thus simplifying processes. It therefore comprises email and SMS campaigns that are automatically activated based on the actions and behaviors of users.

Given such a premise about the definition, let’s see the five (major) myths to be debunked regarding Marketing Automation.

1. It requires a complex technological infrastructure

People often feel uneasy with the word automation. For some, it is a concept that refers to industry, and for others, to robots. In any case, people think of complex, mechanical automation processes which, despite we are speaking of digital marketing and not of iron metallurgy, would require arduous installations and specific skills.

This is untrue. Today, Marketing Automation can take advantage of very advanced technologies that most often operate autonomously. They feature a simple and intuitive interface like the best (and most popular) email editors for the company (the user, the person) to manage.

In fact, creating a workflow today is a matter of a few clicks. Do you know about drag and drop technology? Well, MailUp‘s Marketing Automation system works exactly the same way. To set up a flow, just a few, simple drag and drop operations of the blocks (the different emails) within a workflow tree are enough.

2. It is really useful only for large companies

We arrive at the second myth to be debunked: it concerns the budget that should be conspicuous in order to give your company an efficient Marketing Automation system. In short, many think it is a technology for big enterprises.

This is far from the truth. Marketing Automation has low costs (in the case of MailUp, workflows are present by default within the sending platform). This is why Marketing Automation is particularly suitable for companies that want to kickstart their strategies, advance them, and reduce (or remove) the gap with larger companies.

Even the smaller brands send welcome emails, happy birthday or, in the case of e-commerce, shopping cart emails. Marketing Automation allows you to optimize, develop, and expand these communication cycles. This includes messages such as first purchase feedback emails, upselling and cross-selling campaigns, goal activity, re-engagement, or best customer.

Because of its potential and relative cost accessibility, Marketing Automation acts as a fundamental tool for medium-small companies: it is the launch pad for more articulated and performing digital strategies.

3. Once set, you no longer have to touch it

If you think that automation consists of creating a template, implementing the flow, launching it, and forgetting it, then you are wrong. If it is true that it helps us get rid of heavy operation burdens, then it is just as true that the strategy remains the prerogative of the people.

Marketing Automation is a tool in the hands of the company. However, like any tool, it is real people who must direct it towards the goal, guide it, and plan for it to be as effective as possible.

Using a metaphor, we could say that the person is the mind and the automation is the arm capable of translating the conceived project into action. To make the arm effective, it is necessary to know its potential. Otherwise, there is nothing left but an inert instrument, capable yet inefficient.

What do we mean by strategy? Knowing how to communicate with all types of interlocutors: leads, the undecided, customers on first purchase, the inactive, and loyal customers. Marketing Automation is a tool dedicated to improving the customer relationship. Its potential lies in its ability to cultivate a relationship with the recipients, wherever they are in the funnel. This involves reaching the right recipient, with the right content, at the right time.

When the best strategy and Marketing Automation are implemented, lead nurturing activities can bring +50% sales with a -33% cost for each lead.

4.It kills creativity and levels campaigns

One of the most widespread preconceptions is that automation serializes by making our communications impersonal and aseptic, giving the brand the contours and voice of a robot. If you fully take advantage of the instrument’s potential, then the reality is the exact opposite. Here are the tools to be combined with an automation system:

These are three profiling tools, personalization, and segmentation that, thanks to the data, allow us to give each message the form and content that is ideal for each individual recipient. Basically, it is the opposite of an impersonal and batch-and-blast message.

In a nutshell, the automation makes the process of personalizing emails automatic. Marketers do not have to do anything but indulge in creativity between design and copy, then move on to the mail settings: frequencies and rules that define automations (for example, “send email x with promotion y to all women of age included in section z that have consulted the products a and b “).

In short, automation allows you to spend more time on what matters most. This means more time on the impact and persuasiveness of the email and offer by delegating to the “machines” all that one could define with technology and logistics.

5. It works only for Email Marketing

Another false myth. The ability to integrate two or more Digital Marketing channels into the flow will make Marketing Automation an essential tool of the future.

Let’s take the case of MailUp: just a few clicks (the same that set up the email workflows) also make it possible to weave the SMS to the flow. This is a channel with unique features and advantages that are complementary to those in the email.

SMS for business: 5 tips for 5 goals

In the same way (this is an anticipation!), we will soon add a function to the platform that allows the Messenger channel to be integrated into the same flow.

Summing up

Marketing Automation will soon be considered a standard. Within a couple of years, it will be difficult to conceive a strategy that does not rely on this tool that is capable of combining process automation and customizing the relationship between brands and recipients.

Do you want to start creating your first workflow today? Just request a free 30-day trial on the platform.

Give MailUp a go!

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