Our guest blogger this week is Caroline Wilson, from Commsbox.
Personalised marketing campaigns driven by online data collection are fast becoming a key consideration for marketing your business online.
According to Digital Marketing Magazine* a study by Teradata showed that 90% of marketers, want to embrace one-to-one personalisation. Marketing automation, the ability to collect data via your website and provide automated and personalised responses, is a key enabler for this important trend in 2015.
However, it is still early days in terms of uptake of this relatively new technology, particularly in the UK. In this blog, I take a look at the key factors affecting take-up of marketing automation.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of marketing automation are clear. A structured marketing automation campaign enables companies to reach out to their potential audience, capture customer data and then tailor future messages and offerings to the individual interests of that customer. We’re all familiar with how Amazon do this, by tracking our browsing history, and then delivering web content and marketing messages that link closely to items we have looked at before.
Good automation campaigns enable you to drive the individual customer journey based on the links clicked in email campaigns and the subsequent pages they visit on your website. Marketing automation tools enable you to segment your website visitors into discrete lists according to their interests. Messages are then personalised to the individual, not just in terms of content, but also the nature of the contact itself and the timing.
The more engaging and relevant the contact strategy is, the more likely you are to build an ongoing and profitable relationship. With the right tools, and the right level of planning, automated campaigns can even provide the Nirvana of building your business whilst you sleep.
So if marketing automation is such an effective tool, why isn’t every business getting on board? We carried out some in-depth research and here’s what we found out.
In research carried out by CommsBox we discovered three key factors.
MONEY AND TIME: The adoption of any new marketing technique will require investment. Although marketing automation doesn’t have to be that expensive (between 4 pence and 10 pence per contact per month is achievable), there are other resources to consider. Primarily, companies need to find the resources to generate strong and original content and to plan campaigns. It’s vital to plan out the customer journey one step at a time. You need to consider what happens next when a customer clicks on a link on an email, or fills out a contact form, or downloads a whitepaper. And what happens to those contacts who do not take those actions? Do you want to send them reminders, or leave them alone? At what point do you want to stop sending automated messages, and swap to a personalised contact my telephone, text or individual email?
These are all processes that have to be thought through. It’s not impossible, but it does take time. This is where a good automation consultant with experience of campaigns can help. And an easy to use marketing automation system will enable you to deliver and manage those campaigns.
MOTIVATION. There is a habit in many organisations of thinking that the old ways have worked just fine, so why is there a need to change? For many, the massive pace of change with the increase in social media use, internet usage and mobile phone ownership is easier to ignore than to grapple with. Many old school businesses just don’t understand this new minefield. Unfortunately companies who refuse to embrace change will get left behind as newer, fresher, minds embrace new marketing opportunities as they arise. Whether we like it or not, it’s crucial to keep up.
MODE OF OPERATION: Interestingly we found that the challenges facing companies in their automation plans did change with the size, longevity and culture of the company. Smaller companies are less encumbered by existing systems and so more open to change. Larger, and more established companies are more likely to have invested in older CRM technologies. Significant investment may have been put into these systems and the processes that surround them.
Marketing automation can be used to replace traditional lead generation campaigns, and may threaten the very existence of a sales culture. There is also a shift in ownership of technology. Whilst traditionally the remit of the IT department, increasingly digital marketers are tech savvy, and so there are different views on where future ownership of the marketing automation system lies.
Championing Marketing Automation within your Organisation
Within organisations there may be individuals who are championing new marketing techniques, whilst others are holding back. A healthy debate needs to take place within any organisation considering marketing automation so that all impacts and angles are considered. With this in mind, CommsBox has produced an easy to follow 6 point guide which will help those who want to think this through in an organised way. The guide leads you through the steps to:
- Quantify the benefits
- Quantify the risks
- Work out a plan of action
- Consider the costs
- Bring this altogether in a business case
- Persuade the decision makers
*Digital Marketing Magazine (2015) 90% of Marketers Say Individualised Marketing is the Future