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Marketing through Automation

Marketing automation when implemented succinctly will act as the bridge that brings disparate processes, systems and channels together, enhancing campaign management, execution and overall effectiveness.

Automation is the new buzz in town. Top it up with AI and it becomes God's blessing to mankind. Optimizing cost and making businesses lean is the need of the hour and Automation is doing it for the businesses. While Automation has been making waves in most of the business functions, marketing for its abundance of creativity and strategy has been a challenging space for implementing automation platforms. Marketing traditionally has been the flashy part of all the organizations with creative, ads, branding, etc. The 'Mad Men' have only jazzed up the function. However there is a strong need for quantifying anything and everything that Marketing does, to justify all the spend. This is where the Marketing Automation tools come into picture. It's about time we revisit the objectives and goals of implementing such platforms and how they can help realize the real potential of marketing and sales functions.

Challenges Ahead:

  • Spend vs. ROI: Is it worth to spend heftily on such platforms?
  • Integration of marketing automation: Need for higher amount of integration across various systems like CRM, CMS, Analytics etc. for Data feeds making it complex
  • Omni channel campaign execution: Difficulty in generating and managing content across all the channels due to cost and availability of resources
  • Scattered processes: Businesses more often tend to be disparate and decentralized resulting in marketers most often finding themselves unable to associate with campaign responses, lead qualification, and sales follow ups creating difficulty in calibrating and comparing the performance and benchmark it against industry performance or even within the organization
  • Perceived complexity of the tool: It could be perceived as a highly complex task to be implemented and executed

A strategic approach towards an organization wide solution:

Business processes: For marketing automation to succeed, it is important for the marketing processes to be linked with the sales processes, which could be made possible by aligning the KPI for both the functions such that they complement each other and assist. The focus should be primarily on the quality rather than on quantity.

A bold step in process standardization and aligning KPIs is also to set up a SSC for marketing and Sales related activities. Due to varying reasons marketing and sales usually end up being a decentralized and regionalized function. However there are synergies across geos which could be harnessed through an SSC.

Omni channels experience: Customers are connected to more than 2 devices at any point of time in varying combinations. Focusing marketing automation effort on only Email is belittling the effectiveness of the accelerator. It is much more prudent when you are able to follow the customer journey through the channels, starting from capturing the visit and interests on web to nurturing through emails and converting through online or physical store. The ability to provide seamless transition between online and physical world enhances the customer experience and trust amongst the end users

Integrated systems: Seamless Omni-channel experiences are a result of aligning systems and processes. For instance customer experience can be enhanced if the customer journey can be enriched by information collected via a digital ecosystem which connects the CRM to the Campaign management system with a process in place to ensure customer contacts are cleansed and updated at regular intervals with customer info and preferences. Any customer visit to the portal is tracked and further processed resulting in relevant campaigns and loyalty programs. Enabling integrated systems will help expedite the process of implementing marketing automation

Self-funding implementation: While we may think through all possible challenges, Cost is always a show stopper most of the time and so the need to identify the various cost elements and prioritizing the low hanging fruits and building a self-funding implementation road map is the key. Cost saved through the initial steps can fuel the future deployment of the marketing automation platform. Thought the curve may take a dip in the beginning it will turn positive as results show.

Other factors could include availability of content, skilled resources etc. These factors again impact across industries in similar fashion and can primarily be addressed through SSCs. For example in the case of content, centralizing the content creation or DAM will give a better visibility on the availability and reuse of content. Thus bringing down the production cost and possibility improving the speed to market.

Automation driven marketing has the potential to vastly enhance the process. The extent to which organizations can capitalize on these benefits depends on their ability to spend and their willingness to adapt to changes. Marketing automation when implemented succinctly will act as the bridge that brings disparate processes, systems and channels together, enhancing campaign management, execution and overall effectiveness.

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