Marketing automation platforms offer practitioners the power to scale campaigns and spend more time strategizing than executing. Over the years, the adoption of marketing automation has led to increased technology innovation, helping us do more in less time. However, the use of marketing automation has introduced new challenges, such as how to build your team and processes, balancing people and technology, database structure and integration, the need for rapid content development, etc.
In the flurry of this activity, and with the approaching holidays, we can’t get caught up in the chaos and lose sight of all that marketing automation has brought to the table thus far. Sure, it’s brought new challenges, but it has also solved for old ones. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a list of the top things I’m thankful for in the world of marketing automation:
- Data synchronization. No longer do we have to piece together an email list in Excel or download the list from our CRM database just to get a list of people to email. I actually remember using Outlook and Bcc to do mass emails at my first marketing job. Yikes! Now our marketing automation tools seamlessly sync with our CRM database and we can segment as we need and hit “Send.” Bliss.
- Engagement tracking. I’ve always been curious who is actually opening and clicking through on the emails we’ve sent. Has this prompted other interest, like visits to our website? With marketing automation, it’s no longer a mystery! In fact, our teams can now prioritize contacts and/or build a nurture plan based on engagement levels.
- Personalization. I also remember debating what greeting and salutation to use when sending a mass email. Now, we can easily insert first names and dynamically populate signatures to have the email come from the most relevant person. This makes our emails more relevant and cuts down on the debate time.
- Subscription management. This one I’m happy for as a customer and as a marketer. We’re not in the business of trying to annoy or overwhelm our customers with emails. And it’s not our intention to accidentally leave the right customers off of our distribution lists. Subscription management makes it easy for us to manage our lists and allow customers to self-select what they’re interested in receiving.
- Scheduled nurture streams. A campaign never begins and ends with just one email. It’s all about the continued engagement and follow-through. When someone downloads content from your website, we typically don’t want the engagement to stop. Automation lets us plan out the conversation and automates the process so you don’t have to manually do it. I especially appreciate this during the holidays! With automation, we can take the time off that we need and spend it with family knowing that our campaigns are running without us.
- Valuable events. Many of the marketing automation platforms have regional road shows, annual summits, etc. And there are great industry conferences, such as the SiriusDecisions annual summit. I love the opportunity to attend these and I’m thankful they exist. I always walk away invigorated with new ideas and new LinkedIn contacts.
- ClickZ.com. Last but not least, I’m thankful for being able to contribute my thoughts and ideas on marketing automation on ClickZ. This publication has a wealth of information and I’m honored to be a contributor. I’m hopeful that in some small way, these contributions help you find a few things you can be thankful for.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to count your marketing automation blessings.