Using Marketing Automation to Drive Your Strategy
Marketing Automation Recommendations from Marketing Leaders
Chances are you’re already using automation to some degree already. Whether for email marketing or social posts, automation just goes with the territory of digital marketing. There’s no secret you need to learn, or strategy you have to master, before you can use marketing automation -- automation technology allows marketers to take more control over their digital campaigns without having to rely on IT.
So What is Marketing Automation Exactly?
Marketing automation is the automation of any repetitive marketing task -- from posting to social networks (maybe with Buffer), segmenting leads (Pardot), sending transactional emails (Mandrill), or pulling data from your CRM into your other marketing systems (Salesforce). While there are marketing automation systems that offer a variety of tools in a complete package -- interconnected lead segmentation, email marketing, campaign building -- there are plenty that focus only on specific tasks like email or social media. Using automation doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing choice.
“You don’t have to have a huge budget or be a huge organization to incorporate automation, all that’s required is an analysis of your marketing workflow.”
What to Expect
Whatever service you choose, whether it’s Marketo or MailChimp, some aspects of marketing automation are pretty universal. Here’s what you can expect when operating, installing, and maintaining automation:
- Initial Development Required: While automation is simple to use, integrating it with your other systems is something most non-technical admin can’t do, and we recommend working with a development team for the initial installation. Working with developers means that your automation will be integrated with your system exactly as you intend and customized to fit within your workflow, instead of forcing you to change your workflow to accommodate it.
- Simple UI: Even though it encompasses powerful tech, marketing automation is built for marketers, not for IT, and most services operate from a simple, recognizable, user interface. This means working with familiar tools like templates for designing landing pages and emails, calendars to schedule social posts, and drag-and-drop organization.
- Optimization with Analytics: To keep track of your marketing automation and make sure it’s functioning the way you originally intended -- still acting as a “support beam” for your marketing -- you’ll have to regularly check in on it. This is why analytics are included with most automation services. Automation doesn’t immediately guarantee success, and you’ll most likely have to make some tweaks -- such as altering your email template or redefining the parameters of your segments -- to find what works best.
- Consider a Campaign Builder: A campaign builder isn’t offered by every marketing automation system, but it’s often offered by systems that have a package of services (like Act-On or Wild Apricot). It gives you a complete perspective of your CRM data, the tools you have available, and ways to implement them. It can help you design a workflow and then automate tasks like email responses, social posting, and segmentation. Campaign builders are a good way to organize and use multiple automation processes at the same time.
- Better Customer Care: One of the benefits of marketing automation is its potential to save time. It’s a lot faster to use software to segment and leverage email lists rather than doing the same manually. In addition to saving you time, automation streamlines and regulates customer care, automating initial interactions and allowing you to focus your attention on higher level interactions.
- Control: Whether you choose to use a comprehensive automation system (like Salesforce) or an individual service (like Mailchimp), you maintain total control over what is being automated, and how.
Advice From The Experts
Here is some advice from other marketers who work with clients to implement automation or have used marketing automation themselves:
“The main reason to use marketing automation tools is to bridge the gap between marketing and sales. Automation can deliver notifications of customer interactions directly to sales teams by segmenting, based on the area of website interaction, and lead scoring, based on the kinds of interactions the potential customer has traversed.”
-Kyle Parsons, Partner at Ops-Vantage
“Stepping back, it’s most critical to identify the needs within your organization. What is the cost of actually doing nothing and sticking with business as usual? Conversely, what’s the upside potential, or value of actually doing something?”
-Dan Zasloff, Founder and Principal of Artrics
“A word of caution with automation -- make sure you always think of the customer first. Don’t waste your time with automation unless you’re planning on providing value to a group of people that you know needs or wants your product or service. Provide useful tools, great third-party industry-specific information, or other content necessary to help your customer do their job better...It seems simple, but no amount of automation will help customer acquisition if you cannot communicate today the value and difference you provide your target market. It will just help you identify a product market fit, business operations, customer service, or messaging problem more quickly.”
-Rachel Beisel, VP of Marketing at Gorilla Logic
A Tool For Every Digital Marketer
Any digital marketing strategy can benefit from marketing automation and at no point should you feel excluded from using automation by technology. With modern tech developments, automation services have been built to support marketers, non-technical admin that know what they need to do to generate leads and build audiences. And with current marketing tech industry standards, you don’t have to wrestle with a complicated tech system to accomplish it.
If you have any questions about marketing automation, would like to know the automation systems that are available to you, or are interested in ways you can implement marketing automation, feel free to contact us directly or check out more information about automation systems here.