Marketing automation picture

Evolving dreams of marketing automation

16.9.2016 -

People’s digital behaviour is undergoing a change. Marketing automation and digital marketing methods overall are forced to change as well. I noticed this also during my summer vacation.

During the summer break, I thought I would completely wipe my brain clean of work, log off my email and focus on holidaying with my family. But that didn’t quite work out. Although we were travelling abroad and throughout Finland, I was constantly coming across automated marketing and my thoughts turned back to work.

I’ve now been Solteq consultant for a while, and since the vacation I’ve got a good grip on the job. However I still remember the company perspective – fragmented processes and some bureaucracy. Now in this role, I can observe the changes taking place in our surrounding environment and think about how to apply them to customer needs. And what a big change there is going on.

Googling days are over

The major change taking place in people’s search behaviour affects on digital marketing. I recently attended a Google seminar where participants were discussing changes in traditional search. This will affect their operations, and along with it, opportunities for many other companies.

Search habits are no longer just about googling, but are clearly visible in other channels. Such as when one is browsing feeds in Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Of course good old search term advertising’s new features are continuously being released as well, and functions such as expandable text advertisements.

Google is strongly considering changing the search function in its map services. Voice control will likely be seamlessly integrated. Personally, I still represent a generation that won’t even dare take a phone call on either bus or train, because the people around me can hear my conversation. Perhaps my children will become the real digi-native generation.

One of Google’s most prominent changes is the fourth advertisement spot on its SERP (Search Engine Results Page), which makes SEO work entirely irrelevant since organic results will no longer show in ad placements. We can already construct automated feeds for these new ad spots, for example using double-clicking interfaces. Advertisers can build their own dashboards to track costs and monitor brand visibility.

The effects on business

What does this mean for companies? Marketing automation has traditionally been triggered email distribution, but that’s no longer the case. Nowadays, we follow brand visibility in social media and offline, we personalise websites on-the-fly for customers and we send push notifications via apps.

Soon everything could operate like Skynet: a human workforce will no longer be required to communicate. Products will arrive at your home before you even knew you wanted them and money will also be transferred from your account automatically.

In this sense, evolving marketing automation is the business sector’s dream: cost-effective operations with no mistakes and with a constant cash flow. Of course the purpose of marketing automation is to eliminate excessive manual operations. However, it will not replace human labour and long-term development. Success requires work.

Automation can take care of some basic functions but people still remain responsible for design and maintenance.

How to achieve marketing automation euphoria?

Some sell way too utopian dreams to businesses, in which everything works seamlessly and cost-effectively by snapping your fingers. After having seen such projects I must say that in practise going through different phases might last forever. Due to a lack of resources expensive solutions might end up gathering dust on the shelf.

There’s no shortage of different providers of automation solutions, from light applications to Adobe’s Marketing Cloud. The right solution requires information about a company’s operations and an understanding of its future needs.

The automation solution should not only provide euphoria today, but serve the business at least five years into the future.

Of course, five years in this field is equivalent to about 1,000 years of evolution, but to quote the actor, Christopher Walken: “We have no way of knowing what lays ahead for us in the future. All we can do is use the information at hand to make the best decision possible.”

Ilari Vallisaari

Ilari Vallisaari

Measuring and developing marketing operations are very important to me. I currently work with marketing automation and data integration to get the best possible ROI from digital marketing. I have encountered all kinds of projects during more than 10 years in the IT, mobile and marketing sectors. Success stories require support from the entire organisation and a successful product launch.

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