Marketing campaigns that happen automatically are a lifeline to marketers who want to reach thousands, if not more, potential customers and maintain a connection right through to the final ‘click’.
But should we really rely on automated messages to reach our customers or is the human approach more beneficial for your business?
Here we look at the pros and cons of automated marketing and if it can help or hinder our businesses.
Developed in the 1990s with the advent of the internet when marketers required something more to reach out to potential customers, the marketing automation industry is set to reach nearly £4 billion this year.
Not only can we now automatically reach potential customers, we can automate analytics, return on investment and website visitor tracking, campaign segmentation, social media marketing, email marketing and analyse and manage lead generation.
However, as a tool, marketing automation is neither good nor bad as while it brings many benefits, it also poses many challenges simultaneously.
The convenience of being able to set up marketing automation and forget about it is one that sometimes cannot be measured. But there is no question that marketing teams spend less time as a result fussing with administrative details and more time completing tasks they do best.
Marketing automation forces teams to think about the buyer’s entire journey and so by focusing on the end goal rather than single steps, you are more likely to make strategic decisions about the tactics that will get you the result you want.
Companies and teams can easily set up feed to establish leads, creating automated workflows to keep your brand and or product at the top of the buyers’ minds right from the start of their journey to the end.
Marketing automation isn’t just a beneficial tool for specific industries; it’s for every industry and companies and teams of all sizes can benefit when they are selling a product or a service.
Marketing automation provides marketing intelligence along with tools that provide you with relevant customer analysis and data. It makes it easier for you to respond to your target market’s ever-changing requirements and stay in touch, reminding them of your product and the service they received.
While the benefits are measurable, the time marketing automation requires to set up effectively can often outweigh the results it will produce. Once you have invested the time on initial set-up, marketing automation also requires time to manage, ensuring you are responding in the best way to your target market.
Costs have reduced in recent years and while marketing automation can boost your return on investment, the initial outlay can be daunting for some smaller businesses.
Marketing automation is conducted on sophisticated platforms, which means if you are not versed in the technology, then you could become lost in too many reports and analysis for your campaigns to be effective.
If mistakes occur, it is likely they will go out to thousands as opposed to hundreds of potential customers; it may also mean you do not spot the mistake until months later. If you use marketing automation tools, you will need to ensure every communication sent out is proofed once, twice and three times before it is dispatched.
Although communications can be personalised, many teams can miss the opportunity and their marketing can be lost in the noise of thousands of other emails.
In summary, while marketing automation may cost to initially set up, the return on investment can be fast and the software will pay for itself. It is highly beneficial as long as you are able to put the effort into setting it up effectively and efficiently. You need to know your own needs and more importantly, you need to know your audience; that way you can select the right software.
But if all the above is daunting, sometimes you can’t beat an old fashioned, personalised email.