There’s a preconceived notion among some in the B2B world that marketing automation is a bad idea, one that’s right up there with pop-under ads.
This misconception likely comes from the early days of social media marketing, when desperate, unscrupulous companies used automated third-party services to blast what truly amounted to spam across their social channels 24/7.
While that sort of automation is terrible, maybe even downright unforgivable, the last thing you want to do is discount automation altogether. Don’t be a hater, there’s so much about automation for a marketer to love.
Even though I cringe whenever I hear a so-called expert preach that “all marketing automation is bad,” I don’t take it personally. It’s all about education, and I’m always happy to talk to people about the future-forward technologies propelling today’s marketing automation software tools.
So, in this short article, I’m going to baby step your doubting mind to the concept of embracing automation in marketing, because the crazy paradox about automation is that, when done right, it can actually empower you to get up close and personal with your audience.
Automate the mundane and focus on the dynamic
Marketing automation platforms allow you to automate the mundane and pain-in-the-ass tasks associated with scaling your online marketing efforts.
Before the engagement purists jump all over me, I want to make it clear that you’ll still need a good human team creating that content, because you’ll never be able to replace the creativity of your writers and graphic designers with robots. But by planning marketing messages ahead of time, you can focus on active, in-the-moment marketing tasks.
Imagine freeing marketers up so that they have more time to actually market! When marketers are able to focus on being proactive in their jobs, consumers are guaranteed a better experience.
Personalize the experience precisely
Aside from automating the most routine tasks, there are things you can do with marketing automation that you can’t do manually.
Your customers don’t want to be talked at; they want to be talked with in a way that makes them feel like you’re listening to their unique needs. But having one-to-one conversations with hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of customers can get unwieldy.
With marketing automation platforms, you can create customized conversations that scale to the masses. Ironically, automation can be the driving force behind — not a killer of — truly personalized experiences for your customers and prospects.
While a prospect is on your website researching her product needs, you can use marketing automation tools to place just the right dynamic content before her in her preferred channel and at the perfect time.
The result is the singular goal of marketing: your customer perceives (and experiences) that your brand is perfectly aligned with their needs.
Scale, measure, and drive
At the end of the day marketing automation is here to scale, measure, and drive revenue.
While that doesn’t sound as sexy as social, content, and SEO, it is certainly an essential component of the overall integrated marketing strategy. It also explains why the topic of marketing ROI has been gaining so much traction across the digital marketing space.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of marketing automation is that you can use it to better measure your campaign results quickly and easily, and then make adjustments on the fly. While marketing stats were once hidden behind veils that prevented us from measuring campaign effectiveness — forcing marketers to hazard guesses about what was actually working — those veils have been lifted by sophisticated metrics tools.
We can now precisely measure the effectiveness of our social, email, and other types of marketing campaigns, as well as the true ROI they deliver.
Because the technology behind Internet marketing has gotten so darn exact, we can scale our marketing efforts like never before. Strategically applied, marketing automation allows us to prove exactly how our campaigns affect revenue.
What’s to hate about that?
See you in the comments?
About the Author: Jason Miller is the Senior Manager for Content and Social at Linkedin Marketing Solutions by day, and a rock and roll photographer by night. Get more from Jason on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.