Everything you need to know about marketing automation and customer journeys

22.11.2018

 

 

Marketing and advertising often have reputation of being rather annoying, something that is done by the bulk. This understanding is a consequence of TV and radio ads that really are targeted towards the mass. Digital marketing, however, is something quite different. Quality digital marketing means talking to the right people at the right time and in the right way, without any spam. It also means that customers can talk to you, without them being passive (and unhappy) consumers of your marketing messages.

With digital marketing, everyone wins - people interested in your products and services get exactly what they are looking for; you don’t waste money and time in unsuccessful marketing campaigns and unsatisfying results and you get real-time feedback instead.
How do we reach this optimal level of digital marketing? In this article we will give you the key to unlock the door to success.

1. What is marketing automation?
2. Why use marketing automation?
3. Our Top Advice - Strategy and Deployment

 

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is an innovation in digital marketing, trusted by the most successful and modern companies in the world. It represents an optimization of the marketing and communication processes in the organization through their automation. When you deal with many clients and employees, there is a need for marketing at scale. However, it should not be done lazily. Using strategically drawn customer journeys, you can predetermine how you would like a customer segment (for example, loyal customers) or a campaign (such as a digital product promotion) to succeed.

Through detailed steps that form a journey, you can direct your customers or employees to perform an engagement much more elegantly, compared to chaotic and mass marketing campaigns. A key aspect in marketing automation is the planning and preparation of the client's journey, as well as the instrument you choose to implement it with.

Let's imagine that your company is in the outsourcing sector and recruits new employees quite often. Every employee that leaves is costly because it means that the selection process must start from the beginning. You need to have a definite "client journey" to help new staff get into work as smoothly as possible and reduce turnover. For example, after being approved for work in your company, new employees receive a welcome email that includes information about their direct manager, the best restaurant near the office, information how they can contact someone from the human resources department and information about where they can use their sports card.

A week later, you send them a Facebook invitation for an event the company organizes specifically for new employees. Those who come to the event will receive an email saying, "Thanks for coming!”. Finally, those who failed to come receive an email saying, "Sorry we didn’t see you at the event!". After a month or two, you send them another email with a short questionnaire about their first impressions from the workplace. If the feedback is good, you can ask them to leave a good review of your company in social media or in Google, and if the feedback is not good - organize appointments with a human resources manager and work on the issue together. As soon as Christmas, Easter or their birthday approaches, why not send them a greeting card? Personal attitude will be appreciated.
Preparing and implementing such type of client journeys may seem very labor-intensive, but if you plan it well and use a reliable marketing automation tool, work time is reduced. Your main task is to prepare the steps of the client's journey, the rules (if X happens, Y follows) and the message templates / emails, and the system itself will do the rest. The results will not take long- in the example above, your employees will be grateful for the attention, attitude and opportunity to give feedback. Finally, they’re guaranteed to stay by your side.

 

Why use marketing automation?

Optimizing marketing processes is much more than a social media content plan or a general email strategy. Basically, marketing automation means that you communicate with existing and potential customers in the most appropriate way for them and for you, at the right time and in the right place. This is impossible without a specific marketing strategy and subsequent automation that follows this strategy. By reducing the human factor in subcontracting, marketing efforts become more efficient and more precise, and marketing experts have more time to focus on the creativity of their campaigns, as well as a better customer relationship beyond the automated ads and emails.

This increased marketing department productivity means that campaigns are more successful, bringing in more conversions (sales, brand recognition, sending queries). In the same time, by automating a large part of the monotonous tasks, your employees become happier and more satisfied with their work, resulting in increased loyalty and correspondingly less turnover.

From a client's point of view, you don’t spam people with endless and unrelated messages, you communicate with them only when it’s needed. Don’t bother and don’t waste money communicating to people who are not interested in your company. The end result of automation is: more sales, reduced costs for new employees, a happier team and more satisfied customers.

Thanks to the capabilities of the system (for example, the Salesforce Marketing Cloud), you are doing personal marketing on a large scale. This means that you have the benefits of "mass" marketing (reaching many people), but it doesn’t feel like this - because you offer personalized attitude and dynamic marketing communications tailored to the specific needs of the customer.

The biggest benefit from marketing automation is that it gives your company independence - Having a working and flexible marketing department, you only need a good system and a few trained employees to use it. And the more they use it, the better they get at it! A good system makes you independent of subcontractors, agencies and freelancers because it allows you to do everything yourself. If you are an agency, marketing software allows you to manage many accounts without compromising quality and wasting time.

 

Our Best Tips - Strategy and Deployment

• Find a trusted partner who understands your business goals and technical specifications – Don’t underestimate the power of research! If your chosen partner only understands marketing processes, you will need another partner to implement the product technically and run it throughout. If you choose a partner with technical expertise only, with no marketing experience and knowledge at all, you will simply automate already bad processes and you won’t be more successful in the long run. We, at Next Consult, have an extensive marketing and technical expertise, and we are certified by Salesforce.

• Choose a suitable system - According to our experience, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is the best solution for marketing automation because it combines the most important marketing modules and has built-in artificial intelligence that helps data analysis. We use it in our company for all of our marketing and it makes it much easier for us! If you still prefer to use another system or want to learn more about Marketing Cloud alternatives, we are here to advise you.

• Don’t neglect strategy - What do you want to change with marketing automation? There is no limit to what can be achieved thanks to this innovation in marketing. It is important to know what makes sense now and in the future for your business. Do you want to utilize your employees better, increase the success of your marketing campaigns, or penetrate a new market? All three things can happen at the same time, but they must be specifically set in your strategy - the system is just one way to meet the needs of your business. To be satisfied, it is important for these steps to be identified first.

• Don’t be afraid of resistance - There is (or very rarely) a person who is completely open to change. Especially in the office! Often, people are afraid of new technologies, think that they will replace them and cost them the workplace. The fact is that technology only makes work more diverse and at the same time facilitates everyday tasks. When implementing a new system, or even just a new process, it is important to have support from the senior management of your company. This gives confidence and self-esteem to employees and they have a positive motivation to accept change. After a certain period of adaptation to the "new way", they will be able to evaluate the benefits for themselves and feel comfortable enough to address any problems or give feedback to the management staff.

• Measure and Optimize - Once you've drawn or made a client journey, don’t stop there. Once you have more time (the work done by the system), go ahead with improving existing customer trips. If something doesn’t work the way you want it, replace it with something new, measure its success and decide what is best for the case. The system will help you in these experiments using the built-in artificial intelligence that will navigate you with different statistics and suggestions.

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