Marketing and automation – these two words have become inseparable in recent years. The sheer volume of data available now to digital marketers makes automation the only way to effectively manage the big data aggregation –> analysis –> insight –> action process.
We could make the claim that automation originated in the inbox. By gaining permission and data via an opt-in, email marketers have long harnessed data to drive relevant communications with a clear line of sight as to how email impacts conversion points in conjunction with other channels. For quite some time, email marketers have accessed robust analytics to justify the impact of messaging on marketing goals. But that’s just the tip of the automation iceberg.
Building off our email marketing knowledge base, similar methodologies and automations are being applied to lifecycle communications across multiple channels. Cross-channel consumer interactions produce explicit and implicit data, which is then gathered to fuel highly targeted, automated communications that are delivered on channels and at times that have been optimized to generate the most engagement throughout the various stages of the customer lifecycle. New technology advancements and marketing automation solutions are making all this possible by bringing together sophisticated data analytics and campaign automation capabilities, and packaging it all up in easy-to-use UIs that marketers can own and manage. Contextual marketing is here, and it’s becoming a competitive requirement.
So how do you get started? To drive contextual marketing via automation, as always, marketers must start with clear objectives. Finding the right marketing automation solution to help deliver the right experience at the right place and time comes next. The first step is to build out a plan with specific use cases across the lifecycle and establish hypotheses about consumer needs. That will result in a strategic blueprint for automated consumer engagement. You can then prioritize and test these use cases to gather cause and effect data that can support further investments marketing automation technologies and solutions.
With Automation Comes Greater Accountability
With this increased ability to drive action across the lifecycle comes great responsibility! And accountability. Marketers who get buy-in on sophisticated automation platforms and strategies will be under greater levels of scrutiny to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) to justify ongoing investments. Simple engagement metrics will become less and less relevant, and more sophisticated conversions and lifetime value metrics will be tied back to campaign performance.
However, at the same time, automation is also bringing enhanced capabilities for agile and ongoing testing, learning, and optimization. In short, it’s making it easier to market better. This process needs to be “baked into” platforms to deliver capabilities that become smarter as programs deploy, and many solutions on the market today have that. Smarter, faster, better marketing leading to key conversion actions is the goal. The technology is here, and leading marketers are embracing the opportunity – and challenges – that come with it.
One thing is clear – being late to the automation party is very problematic. The initiatives and technologies that support today’s hyper-contextual consumer experiences are the only way to remain competitive and relevant to consumers.
So don’t wait! With automation capabilities in place, start with specific lifecycle use cases to begin delivering automated communications that add consumer value, drive action, and increase your organization’s efficiency and overall impact.
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