It saves time, it solves marketing teams’ problems, it only applies to the email channel, and so on. Let’s shed some light on the five major clichés about marketing automation.
Marketing automation is still just a notion for many companies. They all want to implement it at some time in the future, but those who actually use it are still quite a rarity.
According to our Statistical Observatory, in 2017 only 9% of companies had at least one automatic email or SMS flow in place. Undoubtedly its adoption is slowed by the lack of clarity regarding the necessary technology. It’s the usual problem: everyone talks about it, but few have adequate knowledge of it.
Some time ago we wrote about 5 myths about marketing automation to be debunked. Today we wanted to pick up where we left off, especially now that the topic has even more misconceptions. Let’s look at five common clichés about automation that should be clarified.
1. Automation saves time
Americans call it the “set it and forget it” error to underline the fact that automation is still all too often seen as a magical tool that lets you configure automatisms and actions that will work for you.
Not entirely false, but obviously not entirely true either. Automation obviously automates processes and actions that would otherwise require manual operations, but it is still a tool that requires active research, continuous optimization, and refinement.
It’s better to consider the advantage from another angle: by seeing to certain operations, automation frees resources (in terms of time and professionalism) that can concentrate on other aspects, which can be of a creative, strategic, sales, or analysis nature.
Since it works with significant amounts of data, automation creates statistically relevant information on what works and what doesn’t, offering precise indications on the aspects that have the greatest impact on results.
Automation platforms continue to refine their analysis tools, helping companies orient themselves on where and how to intervene to improve performance and engagement with customers and prospects.
2. Automation solves marketing problems
A premise: marketing automation is not simply a marketing tool. While it’s true that the marketing team is the one that most benefits from its use, it should not be forgotten that the sales team is also affected by the introduction of automation into a company.
One of the great advantages of marketing automation is its ability to take on tasks that we could call “routine”, and perform them at a much faster pace than a marketer could do.
Marketing automation amplifies and empowers what your team is already doing. Let’s take the case of a company that uses accurate criteria to qualify and segment potential customers, already having an effective content marketing plan for cultivating contact throughout the customer journey. For this type of team, automating activities such as segmentation (sending the right content to the right recipient) allows applying a proven and effective process to a large pool of data.
On the other hand, for a team without good foundations in terms of data, qualification and segmentation processes, automation will not magically convert the contents and campaigns that convey them into effective foundations. In this case automation is only a tool that speeds up operations.
The basic automatisms:› Reactivation campaigns
All you need is to filter by activity to identify the recipients who don’t open messages and engage them with targeted campaigns. Objective: re-establish the relationship and obtain better delivery rates.
› Post-registration campaigns
To trigger the automatic and timely sending of a welcome message to each new subscriber. If you have an e-commerce site you can launch promotions, transactional emails, and abandoned cart recovery messages.
› Post-sales campaigns
Continue communication after the purchase too by sending an automatic thank-you email, suggesting related products, and offering new relevant content.
› Content Marketing Campaigns
If you have a blog, you can create an automatism to automatically send the post you just published to all your contacts. With RSS your newsletters are created by themselves.
› Workflow based on the recipient’s activity
Using simple drag & drop operations, you can set up a flow of automatic sendings based on the activities of the individual recipient (no email opening or clicks, for example).
3. Automation goes beyond incorrect data
Automation is based on data, but this does not mean that it will fill any gaps and shortcomings in a database.
The first problem is insufficient data or the lack of a constant flow of new incoming information. To function effectively, automation requires a certain volume of data. Overwhelming your contact list with weekly triggers is inconceivable. Instead, a constant supply of contacts and information is necessary, so as to make the database tend to expand.
The second problem concerns incorrect data. If you import information from other marketing systems and Business Intelligence software, you also need to take the time to clean it up. Incorrect data means incorrect campaigns, regardless of the software used. It is therefore necessary to always take the time to do some data cleaning before diving into automation.
4. Automation only applies to the email channel
Email marketing is only one part that automation can manage and optimize. In reality, marketing automation is the combination of many features and parts: CRM, lead management, and web analytics, for example. An essential tool in both B2B and B2C; for example, multi-channel retailers have to deal with a growing number of users that are difficult to reach through traditional channels. In these cases the combination of different channels within a single automated flow becomes almost a necessary condition.
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5. Automation stops with a sale
This must be clearer than ever before: automation activities extend beyond conversion. Indeed, customers who have just purchased something represent a new opportunity for sales, cross-selling, upselling, or repeated sales. Marketing automation is essential in order to continue to engage them, keep the conversation going, and convert them into brand ambassadors who share your content and promote your proposals.
In short, automation lets you nourish the after-sales relationship with as much effectiveness as it does in the lead nurturing phase.
The adoption of marketing automation continues to grow. Its potential is simply too great to be ignored, because it is capable of combining process automation and the personalization of the relationship between brands and recipients.
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