The Role of Automation in Digital Transformation
As automation technology continues to evolve, the capabilities—and expectations—of marketers evolve alongside it.
Better automation goes hand-in-hand with real-time access to customer data and behaviors, including both digital and nondigital touchpoints. It comes as no surprise that advances in technology further empower marketers to put customers at the center of the experience, personalizing messages and delivering them when customers are most receptive to their content. Combining deeper and richer data sets with learning models, marketers can create granular content and trust automation to deliver that content in optimal fashion at scale.
Simply put, the marketing tech of the future can do what humans can’t. The ability to analyze mass quantities of user data in real time, split that data into segments, identify anomalies, create scoring models and predictive content recommendations, and then deploy market messaging that resonates with consumers as individuals at scale requires a new breed of automation capabilities and technology platforms. While this cognitive tech isn’t necessarily new science, only recently have we attained the computing power, coupled with decreased costs, that’s necessary for mass adoption.
Still, we’re just scratching the surface of how this tech will revolutionize marketing theory.
How Automation Benefits Marketers
Increased automation has already begun to reduce the time and effort required in delivering communications to optimize campaign performance. For campaigns that span multiple lines of business and agency partners, marketers’ abilities to optimize spending and correct course in real time adds up to meaningful budgetary savings in a time when every marketing dollar needs to go further.
In addition, automation allows marketers to leverage customer engagement opportunities with fast, personalized responses at scale. As customers become increasingly digital, the brands that anticipate and meet their high expectations of immediate personalization will create more lasting relationships with their customers and drive more revenue than competitors that are slower to adopt and leverage automation technology.
Personalized engagement is equally critical to companies that convert and transact offline. By automating points of engagement throughout the customer journey regardless of channel, marketers can boost conversion no matter when consumers decide to pull the trigger.
Fortunately, automation tech can help identify where these points are, allowing brands to anticipate when customers will convert and target them with the most effective content and incentives. The more relevant that content becomes, the better. Given that consumers utilize both digital and offline channels in the consideration process, content that embraces their journeys with a holistic perspective is more likely to win conversions.
No Risk, No Reward
Every new technology and approach, though, isn’t without its risks, and marketers who implement automation before developing a strategy for it are likely to come away frustrated.
Before investing in any new technology, companies should consider how they want to use it. Consider some of these questions:
- Where are the opportunities for cost reductions, engagement increases, and conversion rate boosts?
- Where does the real-time data come from?
- Will these processes enhance the consumer experience or burden it with excessive, irrelevant information?
Marketers who consider and prioritize goals first can avoid these problems. It is critical to create a cohesive strategy for the rollout of a data-driven automation program. This way, you can analyze information and reveal insights into the efficacy of varying forms of marketing spend and measure against success criteria.
Thus, consider the role of programmatic media buying, from audience targeting to real-time bidding. Rich data—married through first-, second-, and third-party sources—allows marketers to refine their targeting techniques and automate transactions through real-time bidding. Machines can’t replace human planning, but they can empower people to build smarter strategies and then optimize their execution.
Set Automation in Motion
To put automation to work and capitalize on its benefits, marketers should follow these tips:
Marry Content With Measurement
Customers convert when they get the right message at the right time. By measuring the effectiveness of content against different audiences, you can use marketing technology to automate the generation and delivery of that content. Don’t get overwhelmed by data or scale, though. Define audiences, create content, and map the variations of content to these audiences. This serves as the framework that allows you to programmatically generate, deliver, measure, and optimize at scale through an automation platform.
Identify All Consumer Touchpoints
Every time a consumer interacts with your brand, that’s an opportunity to gather useful data. Enrich data stores by collecting information at each turn, then use that data to fuel the decisions of automation software, ideally as close to real-time as possible.
Listen to Users and Build Contextually Relevant Messages
Consumers will tell you what they want, so listen to them. You should constantly measure and optimize communications through engagement data, tweaking tactics in response to customer feedback. In addition, treat every customer as an individual, using automation software to deliver this messaging.
Data-driven automation is at the foundation of smart marketing in 2018 and beyond. By collecting customer data and making every interaction feel personal, brands can use automation to increase engagement and ultimately conversion, thereby automating the boost to their bottom lines.