Straight from the horse’s mouth

Benefits of Marketing Automation Software

Recently I read an article that stated more than 50% of companies surveyed in 2017 from Australia and New Zealand have adopted Marketing Automation Software. In my experience, I have found that while companies use the software they have not devised strategies to fully derive the benefits of Marketing Automation. In fact, I wish that we could change the terminology to “Conversation Automation Software” because when we think in these terms, then we are on track to fully derive benefit and value.

Why your organisation should implement Marketing Automation Software

Speaking with prospects and customers we see the following reasons for adoption of marketing automation:

  • Capture and manage leads
  • Create efficiencies in communications
  • Provide more timely communications
  • Data-driven personalised communications
  • Measurement of campaign performance to show what is working and what is not
  • Improve customer experience – provide information needed as required by customers

Each of these represents a legitimate, reasonable benefit and we often see these stated in vendor literature. But I must say, that they seem very clinical and not particularly inspirational. Hidden within however, is much more value to be had from Marketing Automation, which I will touch on here.

Keep your automated interactions conversational

In the race to add Artificial Intelligence (AI) to our marketing technology armoury (and we have done this), it seems contradictory to be shunning robotics and reverting to human traits. Marketing Automation empowers us to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right people but why do we want to do this? Because it imitates human conversational behaviour! Imagine being midstream in a conversation with the other party telling you important things about themselves and then you respond in a completely left-field manner. The relationship would go cold pretty quickly. Instead, good conversation is two-way, building on what we learn about each other. Marketing Automation Software works best when we deploy it in this same manner.

Use questions and feedback to shape conversations

Marketing Automation software has advanced in the last decade to be truly multi-channel and two-way in nature. The best digital marketers use it to seek feedback and learn more from their target audience at every interaction. In Marketing Automation we observe reactions to our content, we ask explicit questions and then we respond. The software can then dynamically serve up highly personalised content.

Plan your automated campaign to gain insights about your audience at each touch point

Our best campaigns are those which are designed from the outset both directly and indirectly to bring us insights into our target audiences. We then use these insights to automatically guide our next response. For some campaigns, the insights that we derive can be the most important benefit of Marketing Automation Software. These days, we are disappointed with email open rates below 50% and click rates below 10% and that is because we design and build our campaigns to be conversational and relevant.

Find inspiration and integral information in your analytics

I agree it could be difficult for marketers to view analytics as inspirational but guess what – the right analytics will bring you invaluable AH-HAH moments. Marketing Automation Software platforms are bringing increasingly sophisticated analytics packages as part of the platform. Late in 2017, Oracle introduced the Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (BIEE) to the Eloqua Marketing Automation platform. This is a very sophisticated BI platform that we can now leverage in marketing to bring insights. As a standalone acquisition, BI could end up costing more than the Marketing Automation Software if you were to acquire it separately!

Learn more about your target audience – Get the full picture with the amalgamation of multiple data sources

With increasing integration of other data sources into Marketing Automation Software we can inform campaigns and empower more relevant and timely communications. We also have the makings of powerful on-demand custom analytics with all of the data available combined with an enterprise grade BI platform. This can be used to profile campaign members and their outcomes on demand, prompted for timeframe and other attributes. Thus telling us much more about our audience traits and behaviours.

If your marketing team is not building automated campaigns that strive to have a two-way responsive conversation then you are missing major benefits of the software. So now you can add to the above list of benefits.

Upskill your team to create more holistic marketers

If you already have Marketing Automation Software or are considering acquisition, then you need to consider bringing the most benefit to your organisation. There is no magic one-team structure that fits all, because all organisations are different. However, there are some common themes when considering how best to support Marketing Automation. In order to bring the most benefit, your marketing team will need upskilling in a range of areas. Firstly, the use of the platform itself (view our training options). However, Marketing Automation success is underpinned by excellence in each of the following areas:

  • Content development
  • Data management
  • Design
  • Analytics
  • Deep website inter-dependence
  • Marketing strategy, planning and execution

By training your team in these areas they will not only be more proficient at marketing automation. They will also have a more holistic understanding and skillset, covering all marketing activities. The upskilling of staff requires strong organisational commitment.

What are the benefits of Marketing Automation software?

So if you seek an understanding of the value of Marketing Automation Software, you need to look beyond the commonly stated benefits of:

  • Capture and manage leads
  • Create efficiencies in communications
  • Provide more timely communications
  • Data-driven personalised communications
  • Measurement of campaign performance to show what is working and what is not
  • Improve customer experience – provide information needed as required by customers

You should add to the more commonly published benefits the following which I consider to perhaps be the most important but somewhat hidden benefits:

  • Learn more about your target audiences and get results by engaging with them on a more conversational and personal level
  • Present relevant dynamic content to your audience based on information they click/view
  • Use Business Intelligence analytics to convey learning and share across the organisation
  • Upskill your marketing team in a range of modern marketing skills to give them a more holistic view