The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Innovative technology and smart software make it possible to automate a large portion of marketing activities. You can now automate anything, from lead generation to social media management.
Automation comes with many benefits, from increased efficiency to a more personalized strategy.
Marketers can now leave all the repetitive and boring work to software and focus on building strategies and organizing campaigns, right? Wrong!
Marketing automation is no walk in the park, and it comes with its own set of challenges. Here’s what they are and how to overcome them.
Those who are just getting familiar with marketing automation might even stumble on the first step. Finding and purchasing the right tools, implementing them, knowing how to use them properly, and getting all the staff on board can be a real challenge.
A business that doesn’t have at least one trained professional might end up wasting their time and resources trying to set the automation wheels in motion unsuccessfully. They could actually incur significant damage by experimenting this way.
However, this shouldn’t discourage you from trying it. You just need to do your research and prepare properly. You can hire a marketing agency to help you find the right tools and set them up. Alternatively, you can do research on your own, read other people’s experiences and advice, go through online reviews for various tools, etc.
Make sure you find a vendor who won’t just sell you their product and leave you to figure it out. Many of them are willing to help you set it up, show you how to use it, and even offer staff training.
Imagine getting a seemingly perfect tool, only to find out it doesn’t integrate with your systems. Your marketing efforts are intricately connected with all the processes within your business. That’s why your marketing tools need to integrate with any other systems you use so that they can get the right kind of data to perform at a high level.
For instance, you can automate a large part of customer interactions via conversational AI chatbots, but you need to make sure that your bot gets access to any database and system it might need to provide great service.
For example, the bot should have access to all the relevant forms so it can pull them out per customers’ requests. If you want it to help with sales, you need to integrate it with customer behavior intelligence so that it can personalize and upsell.
Although automation is becoming more advanced by the day, you still can’t rely on it for everything. Knowing where to draw the line is not just a matter of intuition. You will see for yourself what works and what doesn’t. This largely depends on what your business is about and who your customers are.
That said, customer service and/or support can get significant help from chatbots and other similar solutions, but it shouldn’t rely solely on automation. Some matters are delicate — such as complaints and complicated issues — and require the help of a human agent.
Also, relying on automation for content creation is a bad idea, at least for the time being. The software can generate good content ideas and even drafts and repetitive short-form pieces, but it still depends on the creativity of humans.
Amassing a huge database may seem like a great idea, but it’s not only about quantity; quality is important too. The data you feed your marketing solutions is vital to their success. So you need to be careful about how you maintain your databases.
Your primary task in marketing is to reach the right kind of people, and automation can’t help if you’re working with a random contact list bought somewhere off the internet. You should collect leads yourself, and you need to target the right kind of audience, which means your database should undergo a cleanse every once in a while.
Make sure to eliminate the contacts who have unsubscribed or bounced. You should also separate your disengaged prospects and make them the target of a different campaign focused on engagement.
One of the main selling points of any marketing automation solution is its ability to measure its effectiveness through a variety of data points. The problem lies in this variety. In a sea of data, how can you separate insight from plain information?
The solution lies in determining what your ultimate goal is. What do you want to achieve with the tool? This will inform your decision on which key performance indicators (KPIs) to follow — because you can’t follow them all.
In time, you may refine your system of measuring the campaign effectiveness by experimenting and finding a use for various data points.
Automation can improve your marketing efforts, but it’s not just about kicking your feet up and letting the machine do all the work. It’s about the smart and informed use of the machine.
Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both