4 things you must consider before investing in marketing automation
Imagine you were browsing to shop for running shoes online. The next day you receive an email from the online store highlighting promotions of all sorts on all kinds of shoes – for running, for tennis, casuals, formals..even pumps and stilettos, when you’re decidedly male!! Ignore that, and you receive a text message with links to their exclusive promos page online. Delete that too, and you get a call, wondering if you’d like to try a preview of the new collection. Too much and too soon, you’d think? Especially, when all you were doing is considering taking up running….
If you were the online store chasing a lead, you’ve probably chased me all the way out of the door, in a manner of speaking. Conversely, imagine if you were the store waiting for a click or an online visit for days on end…and then you end up using all your resources on the wrong leads, shooting your cost of conversion through the sky. A case of too little, too late, perhaps?
It’s a very fine line that balances gathering true leads and then taking the pains to nurture them to conversion. Many marketers involved in this tight-rope walk are increasingly relying on automation software to help them out. But again, ensuring you are betting on the right automation horse is a step that needs some careful consideration, before you embark on the journey.
The journey begins with a ‘when’ – When is the best time for you to consider investing in an omnichannel marketing automation platform? Here’s my take on four aspects that could clue you in.
1. Your audience has multiplied faster than your skills on excel.
Well, good for you! The larger your audiences, the more your leads and conversions. Only, stop to consider which of these audiences you might want to target for what specific communications. Potential customers want to know about the brand if they have common interests. Taking our example before, if your next footwear collection is mostly around outdoor sports, chances are your leads will emerge from the younger audiences with interest in sports. Identifying these segments and interests, whether you’re B2B or B2C, are very critical to your business. If your audiences base is large enough now, you’d want to ditch your excel approach in favour of advanced audience segmentation and filtration features offered by marketing automation software today, to reach out to the right prospects out there.
2. You’re mobile, social, online…really connected.
It makes sense to be wherever the prospects or customers are. And the more channels you are on, the more helpful an automation solution will be. Why? Firstly, because you’ll eventually find out that customers – as omnipresent as they seem – really have specific channel preferences when it comes to communications. Secondly, whatever the channel the customers are on, it’s important you present a homogeneous image across every one of them. There is your need to be omnichannel. Every channel needs to be interconnected and should reach out to the customer as and when its needed.
3. You have data and a plan. Now, you need to make them meet.
For many marketers, that’s like having the sun and moon in one place. Have one and the other disappears. But, most organizations today do have the data – located in silos, across internal systems and home-grown databases. The challenge is in assimilating it all into one location, running a marketing plan on top of it and then drawing insights. In short, developing a Big Data infrastructure that feeds into intelligent marketing. The question for you is – are you there already or are you moving in that direction? If you are, let marketing automation software take a load off your shoulders. Feed your data into its machinery and let it hack away for you.
4. You know your customers….and how to stay with them all the way..
Customer engagement is part science and part art. If you have a carefully constructed Customer Engagement Process, all you need is a little operational help – to engage prospects in a relevant and contextual manner, show existing customers you value them and keep away from avoidable blunders. Easier said than done? Maybe… maybe not. But with some automation at your disposal, you’ll at least have a head start. You’ll have the framework to automate your communication to be more streamlined, systematic yet flexible. Add in a little creativity and you could hit bulls eye with a perfect engagement formula.
If you’re ticking off this checklist, it could mean you’re ready to invest.