Marketing Automation- what it is and why you should use it. | a&g creative group
July 22, 2016

Marketing Automation- what it is and why you should use it.

Marketing Automation; sounds simple, turn it on, sit back and relax? Unfortunately it is not that easy and requires a precise set up to be successful. So what exactly is Marketing Automation?

Wikipedia saysMarketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.”

What? Doesn’t sound simple anymore, does it? Let’s have a look at some examples to understand marketing automation better.

One of the oldest forms of marketing automation is the use of software (e.g. Microsoft Word) to insert names and addresses from a datasource onto letters and envelopes that where sent to consumers by mail. That long ago, eh? Yes, it actually has been around since the 1980′s. Remember when you wrote the letter in a word document and used these placeholder called “mail merge fields“. I think they looked something like this:

“Dear {{First Name}} {{Last Name}},
We are happy to invite you to our awesome event on {{Date}}, at {{Street Name}} in {{City}}.”

Once everything was set up, you could merge the letter template with your datasource and the final letter would look something like this:

“Dear John Doe,
We are happy to invite you to our awesome event on January 10th, at 111 Kingsway in Burnaby.”

Now the letter could be printed and sent out. Depending on how accurately your datasource and your letter template was set up, you could write a letter to hundreds of recipients within minutes.

Exactly this functionally is still around and used widely for various, mostly digital marketing channels. The only difference between now and back in the days is the huge amount of data marketers have in their datasources and the aspect of “real time marketing” (e.g Social Media).

Personally addressed emails are the norm nowadays. Emails starting with “Dear valued customer” are hardly being read anymore. But emails starting with “Dear Jane” or “Dear Mrs Smith” are usually more successful.

But not just mailers, digital or not, are generated using marketing automation. Almost every e-commerce website uses automated marketing in form of your name being displayed in the “Your account” section. You’ve probably seen it, “Welcome back Joe”  or “Hello Jane”.

Once you log into your frequently used e-com site, you will also see things like “Recently viewed items” and/or “Other Products you might like”. All this information is automatically, or how we nowadays say, dynamically being inserted into the webpage you are viewing, based on your purchase and/or browsing history.

When you abandon an online shopping cart, you will most likely find and email in your mailbox from the same website encouraging you to go ahead with your purchase and/or suggesting more products that might catch your interest.

Another really good example of marketing automation are those “website that follow you around the web”. Yes, exactly those. We’ve all seen them. You go on a website and all of the sudden whatever website you visit, there is an ad from that first website you visited.

Shocking, I know. However, for us online marketers, marketing automation has quite a few benefits:

  • We save time and money.
  • We are more efficient. By streamlining and automating certain processes, again we save time, but also make *hopefully* less mistakes.
  • We can collect more consumer data that ever, giving us better insight of consumer behavior, which can be used to make marketing and communication more relevant.
  • We can personalize communication and make it a more unique and inviting experience for customers.
  • We can be more consistent and unify your branding across multiple channels.
  • We can manage multiple channels and easily keep track of customers across all channels.
  • We can integrate with CRM Systems to assures leads won’t get lost.

… and many, many more.

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