It's time to redefine how we think of marketing automation and marketing automation software. For many years this term has referred to a collection of software platforms designed to automate repetitive marketing tasks. Traditionally, this covered a primarily B2B lead scoring and nurturing process. However major developments in the development of customer journey have required employees to adapt more interactive and less linear marketing automation strategies.
Not only has the way consumers are interacting changed, but also the platforms on which this interaction is occurring. With social media sites, mobile devices and the cloud disrupting a vast range of B2C relationships, marketing automation evolved out of necessity.
Embracing the "internet of customers" requires more than just a basic automating of repetitive tasks. Consumers are armed with a range of software and technology that gives them fast access and total control over their journey through the sales process. Without a marketing automation solution that is as efficient, how can companies expect to keep up?
The next step in marketing automation
Marketers' needs are evolving alongside the ever-changing customer journey. This is causing increased changes to the level of automation companies require. Traditional software and solutions are no longer making the grade, but fortunately the next generation of marketing automation technology is already being designed and built to meet companies' requirements. Even leading global marketing automation brands are starting to adopt more advanced technology in order to keep pace with the evolution in customer journey strategies.
Over the past few years, marketing automation has become a powerful and trusted business solution. As the marketing landscape is continually disrupted by mobile, social fragmentation and globalisation, automation is a crucial tool to help move prospects through the customer journey with minimal time and resources.
With an increasing number of businesses embracing this vital trend, marketing automation tools have become essential resources for sales teams, service agents and marketers alike. These tools enable companies to keep track of the multiple platforms and facets of their consumer strategy all on a single technology infrastructure. This includes unifying sales, service and marketing processes to allow businesses to deliver a seamless customer journey. So, why is this changing the face of marketing automation?
In short, it's all about how customers today are constantly connected and expect personalised treatment from companies and brands they trust. Clients don't want to be treated like a nobody in the crowd - instead, they want know that the companies they interact with understand they are individuals worth remembering.
While today's consumer is seamlessly communicating through a range of channels and platforms, many companies and brands are still attempting to manage those relationships through traditional campaigns and touch points.
With changing markets and accessibility, now is the time to go beyond existing marketing touch points and create real relationships that truly surprise your customer at every stage of their ongoing journey with your brand.
So, it is easy to see how the traditional definition of marketing automation begins to fall short of this new world. Rather than simply streamlining repetitive tasks within a marketing campaign, automation needs to enable companies to drive more strategic and consumer-centric processes.
This evolution will put the customer at thfe centre and strive to add value along every possible touch point along the customer journey. This includes every step from their first interaction with your brand through to their purchases and into the follow-up and feedback.
Overall, modern marketing automation mix is email, mobile and social heavy; with also a strong emphasis on reporting, lead generation, search funnel optimisation, and prospect tracking - all in one integrated system.
Redefining marketing automation
With all this in mind, it is easy to see why we need to expand the definition of marketing automation to align with a new customer-driven world.
Rather than simply standing for a traditional email software solution, marketing automation is about collecting and analysing a vast wealth of consumer data, connecting with clients along every step of the customer journey and embracing evolving platforms and technology.
Since the original introduction of mobile devices and other e-commerce platforms, the marketing landscape continues to develop in leaps and bounds. Mobile, social media and digital consumption has not only changed the way consumers interact with businesses, but must also change the way marketers interact with consumers.
In particular, the new marketing automation definition needs to reflect the term's change from traditional solutions into more interactive and strategic processes. It is no longer about setting up a software solution and sitting back with your arms crossed. You also need to continue to optimise those moments that matter in your customers' lives - and delight them or win them back when required.
Marketing automation now refers to the process in which consumer and business data meets predictive analytics in order to deliver and manage personalised marketing and interactions. In particular, ensuring this all comes from and is managed by a single source will allow businesses to deliver a consistent, relevant and personalised customer journey.