Few years ago, SMS marketing was the buzz word. But with increasing TRAI regulations and interconnect charges, it lost the steam. Then, email marketing became the new kid on the block. After achieving huge success, came social media marketing with claims that “Email is dead” which is truly not the case. But social media has taken off lot of investments from marketers primarily to acquire new customers. Now there is a lot of buzz around “marketing automation” and technology taking jobs of humans. So should marketers be worried??
Luckily, marketing automation is not a new channel or a medium, but it is a platform to help marketers better orchestrate and optimise their cross-channel marketing.
So how should you identify if it is the right time for you to invest and/or evaluate marketing automation solutions (MAS)?
Here is a 5-point checklist you should consider to decide whether your brand or your organisation is ready for marketing automation:
This is the basic requirement. If you have at least one digital property which is owned by you, you are eligible to use marketing automation and then can further filter using the points below. Example of an owned digital property is your website or your mobile app. Having your brand’s Facebook page is not an owned property. Having your business listed on Amazon or Flipkart is again not an example of an owned property. With an owned property, we mean you need to own the domain in case of website, and SDK in case of a mobile app.
So, if you don’t have at least one owned digital property, marketing automation is not for you.
So now you have at least one digital property owned by your brand, then what next? Let’s talk about the subscriber size. If you have a subscriber base which can be counted on fingers, you need not worry about automation as that can be easily managed manually and with excel sheets. But if you have a huge subscriber base (in thousands or more) with each user having his/her own digital journey through your owned properties, you definitely need to invest in automation.
Marketing automation can help you reduce the manual efforts of your team by building workflows mapped to the customer’s journey and also will help eliminate errors.
If your sales cycle is longer (apart from impulse purchases) or you are offering multiple products/services, you definitely need to invest in marketing automation.
Marketing automation helps in lead scoring and nurturing, and thus sending relevant communications/offers to move the buyer closer to the purchase or to up-sell/cross-sell gradually giving a boost to your customer lifetime value.
If you are using a single channel of communication, basic automation within that channel will help you to some extent. But when you are using multiple channels, you definitely need to invest in marketing automation to maintain consistency and continuity in communication across all channels, by having a unified view of every customer.
If you are spending heavily on social media, you should invest in marketing automation, as it helps optimise your spend and bidding across all the paid mediums. With unified view and data about the customer and his response across channels, you can get better ROI for your digital ads by maximising spends for individual customers across all the paid mediums which is surely impossible to do I manually.
Hope this checklist serves as a good primer and helps you decide whether or not you should invest in marketing automation.
Any other points you think are critical to deciding on marketing automation investments. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.