What is Marketing Automation?
If you work in marketing and haven’t been living in outer space for the past few years, then you are probably familiar with the concept of Marketing Automation. To be honest, the term is quite self-descriptive: put simply, it’s the ability to automate marketing tasks. The goal is to free people from repetitive work and give them space for critical and creative thinking instead.
Marketing Automation is not channel-specific
Although marketing automation has been popular for quite a long time, many companies take a minimalist approach to it. They automate emails – and that’s it. To be honest, many of the so-called automation platforms in the market will actually only allow you to do this, and I guess that might be the reason some people misinterpret the concept.
It’s very important to understand that marketing automation is not channel-specific. Actually, not only should you be able to automate tasks in channels other than email, you should have the tools to program cross-channel initiatives based on outcomes. Let’s say you sent an email with a voucher code to 10.000 customers. Only 30% opened this email in the first 48h – you could automatically send an SMS with the same promocode for those 70% who didn’t. This will most definitely improve your conversion rate, and it will take you less than 10 minutes to set up the SMS follow-up.
Marketing Automation is not just about offsite comms
Also, marketing automation doesn’t have to happen exclusively offsite. Let’s say a customer has given you a low score for customer experience on a survey. The next time that person goes to your website, you should probably try to offer a higher level of support – through live chat or Click2Call, for instance. This can also be an automated response to a customer trigger.
3 ways you can use it
1. Multichannel Basket Retargeting
Works best for: e-commerce companies (or any company with an e-commerce or quote funnel)
Instead of just sending out a basket retargeting email, follow-up with an SMS 12 hours later for those contacts who did not open the email. You can create schedule restrictions so that the SMS will never be sent too late at night or too early in the morning. Obviously you don’t need to include a list of products in the text message, but you can add an urgency trigger – a notice of basket expiration or low stock – and a customer support number.
“Hello [[[customer_name]]]. Just a friendly reminder that you’ve left some articles in your basket. Get them before they’re gone! If you need help, call 900-900-900.”
2. Queue abandonment recovery
Works best for: telecoms, energy companies and any business with a strong contact centre sales operation
This is one of our clients’ favourites. Automate recovery calls for those people who hung up while waiting for an agent to be available. 5 minutes the call is disconnected, we will automatically call the contact center and wait for an agent to be available. Once the agent picks up the call, we will connect with the customer (who abandoned earlier). Before establishing the recovery call, we will verify if there has been any other successful call in the meantime, in which case the recovery call will not be established.
Again, if this recovery call too is unsuccessful, you can follow-up with a text message.
3. Customer Interest Personalization
Works best for: e-commerce companies (or any company with a product or service catalogue)
Whenever someone adds one or more articles of the same category to the cart (or has viewed certain product/service category pages several times), you can automatically add it to:
a) an email list for communications about that product category
b) a specific interest profile
This means that you don’t need any extra effort with email marketing targeting and you can effectively personalize homepage content on a next visit based on each interest profile.
Don’t forget to measure results
Automating tasks saves you time but it doesn’t guarantee a conversion rate improvement per se. That will depend on your strategy and content – you need to make sure that you’re sending the right message, to right customer, at the right time. So keep track of results – good, integrated reporting is key!