What CMOs Need to Know About Marketing Automation
Automation is making waves in the business world as more and more companies are moving towards digital transformation. Companies are allocating large sums of their marketing budgets for technology investments that promise to make their teams more productive and the business more profitable. Furthermore, the greatest benefits that business leaders expect to see from digital adoption include saving time and money by automating tasks and reducing the need for human involvement.
But when it comes to marketing automation there is a whole lot more to it than just setting up emails and social media posts to be sent out on a scheduled time. Automation is truly revolutionary and offers numerous benefits that every CMO needs to be aware of.
Automation makes personalized, timely communication possible
Reaching your customers with a perfectly timed marketing email or targeted ad can mean the difference between a conversion and a lost sale. Personalization is also extremely influential on consumer purchasing decisions considering that customers are over four times more likely to purchase a product that comes from a personalized recommendation from a retailer.
Through marketing automation, brands can finally reach out to customers with right place, right time marketing content that is personalized to the customer. Rather than sending out generic marketing emails to everyone on the database, automated communication systems push specific messages based on action triggers, such as abandoned carts, account creation, and so on. In fact, triggered emails have 2x open rates and 3x click-through rates compared to routine emails, which greatly increase the chances of conversion.
Setting up an automated behavioral flow is the best way to create a strong marketing strategy that reaches customers appropriately based on their actions. This is particularly effective in re-engaging customers who haven’t interacted with your emails in a while, or who simply haven’t considered making a repeat purchase from you.
You might also take a leaf out of smart retailers’ email handbooks—they do everything to bring back customers who’ve abandoned their shopping carts. Here’s a great example from Whisky Loot, which addresses any and all hesitations (while being funny about it) a customer might have in going ahead with the purchase:
Automation and AI go hand-in-hand
There is a lot of fear and confusion around AI in the marketing field. Some worry that using machine learning implies that your brand will eventually lose its human touch that is so essential for emotional connections with customers. Others claim that it is too expensive or simply unnecessary, particularly for smaller organizations.
AI is helping make automation smarter and more strategic by using technology to predict the right timing for brand messaging receive the highest visibility on every digital channel conceivable. According to a report from Vanson Bourne, 80% of all businesses have adopted AI in some form, with automation being the most common use for this technology.
AI-powered NLP (natural language processing) can also be used for automated responses to customer inquiries via social media or through chatbots. Again, it is import that the human touch is not lost here. Hipmunk is a great model to follow because of its highly conversational style that really engages customers. On the travel site’s Facebook page where customers can use a Messenger bot to plan trips, find flight deals, and book vacations, the friendly chatbot uses casual language for a truly “human” experience.
Automation doesn’t make you lazy—it makes you smart
While automation can certainly save your marketing team a lot of time in the long run, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will have less to do. Nor does it by the stretch of the imagination mean that CMOs can afford to cut their marketing teams some slack, or focus less on innovation, or not be bothered about the need for creating new content consistently.
An automated marketing system is not just a way to save yourself a few hours a week that are typically spent typing up emails or social media posts. Automation is heavily based on data analysis, meaning that it allows your team to be more strategic and make data-driven decisions that can optimize your efforts.
For example, many marketers use scheduling tools for social media marketing. This also needs team collaboration and coordination on creating and optimizing these posts. Data-driven content marketing automation uses analytics to predict the best possible times to post every piece so that it has the potential to reach the biggest chunk of the (targeted) audience. You can even also re-publish ads and target other segments automatically.
This ensures your campaigns are more successful in terms of metrics and free up valuable individual time that can be focused on other projects.
Marketing automation is creating new roles
Any CMO will admit that they have an uphill task when it comes to keeping up with new trends and technology. One reason that many companies have failed to successfully reach digital adoption is due to internal resistance to technology and change, along with a lack of knowledge and understanding. This is particularly true when it comes to highly technical approaches like AI and automation.
As automation becomes more commonplace and popular, businesses are starting to expand their C-suites in order to bring on more experts that can help with this strategy, such as CMT (Chief Marketing Technologist) and CAO (Chief Automation Officer). Heads manning these roles are responsible for implementing emerging digital systems throughout the organization and tracking the results of these programs. The CAO role is specifically focused on finding and integrating automated solutions that fit best for the business. Meanwhile, a CMT is an evangelist, advocating new technology and getting teams the resources they need for digital adoption, such as IT assistance or specialized training.
As automation becomes a more integral part of any business’s strategies, it may be necessary to create these narrow but dynamic roles in your organization to ensure that your marketing team is able to optimize their efforts and take full advantage of the MarTech SaaS tools that enable you to act on every little data point that’s available to you.
Automate your way to success
Businesses that are able to embrace promising technology early on and integrate it effectively with their operations will be able to stay competitive in any industry. As technology like AI keeps evolving at a breakneck pace, it is incredibly important that brand-focused CMOs stay on top of these trends and systems, and understand how automation can be central to the success of their marketing efforts, and equip their teams with the right tools and resources to implement cost-effective and result-oriented automated processes.
What steps are you taking to make automation a part of your everyday marketing processes? On which channels does automation work best for you? Let’s discuss in the comments!
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