Email marketing is an effective marketing channel for many companies. If mass email marketing works reasonably well there’s usually little desire to make major changes – at least not all at once.
However, consumers are becoming more demanding than ever before. They want to receive more engaging content tailored specifically for them, useful communications (such as special offers) via the appropriate channels and, of course, at the right time. This is widely known and there has been much talk of marketing automation in recent years. The transition from email to personalized targeted advertising doesn’t happen overnight. It’s well worth assessing the situation soon rather than delaying the move for too long.
Is marketing automation only about scheduled emails?
Broadcast email is one of the frequently used activities in marketing automation. As a result many ask about the difference between marketing automation and email marketing. Is it possible to refine current email marketing to send targeted communications to different customer segments?
It is of course possible. In large businesses this is already being done and it allows them to experiment with data mining and extensive content production. This is good practice because processing customer data and producing even broader content are issues that arise in the transition to marketing automation.
But are your current email tools adequate? Many programs can be expanded. It’s also possible to build additional features into existing systems. It’s therefore crucial that any comparison of tools should mirror a company’s marketing and sales goals. There is no shortage of alternatives, with many solutions demanding major investments.
Other factors worth considering include available resources and the selection of marketing channels. Customer relationship life cycle is also an important concept. It’s essential to understand different customer groups and how the customer relationship changes over time. Companies must understand how a potential buyer becomes a new customer, who over time evolves to the level of a committed and loyal customer, until the customer account is once more in danger of slipping away. It’s essential to design appropriate and focused communications to influence customer behavior at each stage and to increase the number of loyal customers.
Marketing automation therefore isn’t only limited to email, but can also be used to combine digital marketing, social media campaigns, web analytics and CRM data.
Should companies then transition to marketing automation?
It’s recommended if the following apply:
- Sales teams want more high-quality leads from marketing
- There is room for improvement in conversion rates
- The marketing team needs a faster way to distribute targeted messages
- The customer’s purchasing process is at least one week long
- Sending email alone isn’t increasing sales
- Current resource levels prevent the marketing team from completing all required activities
- Different messages are needed for different customer groups purchasing different products
- Marketing wants to know which advertising campaigns are most effective
- It’s not clear whether more or less marketing investments are required
Marketing automation promises to be a path to saving time and reaping outstanding results. One long-time marketer observed that conversions have improved, but the results required time and effort. Initially personalization may lead to results and profits consisting of many smaller streams. However, with time and effort those streams will become a flowing river.
The early stages of the project therefore require great patience and the desire to learn. However, concrete changes and improvements will soon become evident. It is safest to proceed slowly as long as the direction is right.