Complex customer journeys need something new. Think marketing automation
Even before we dive into the benefits of marketing automation, here’s how your customer journey looks like today. Ria is a die-hard fan of the stationery brand ABC. ABC Stationery has an excellent offline and online presence. It has physical stores across India, an awesome online store, and even a mobile app that customers can use to check out new products and make purchases on the go. Ria visits a nearby ABC store over the weekend to look for watercolors. The salesperson tells her about an ongoing flat 20% discount that is valid till the month-end. Ria provides her phone number and email address but leaves without making a purchase that day. A few days later, when she visits their online store, she sees a personalized banner on the home page that reminds her of the limited-time offer. She adds a couple of watercolor palettes to her cart and exits the website. At the end of that month, she receives a push notification on her phone via the brand’s app, reminding her that the discount ends in two days. She opens the app and finds the watercolor palettes in her cart with the discount already applied on the bill. She makes the purchase and receives the products the next week with a personalized card in her name.
This example also reflects how most people today shop online, owing to greater Internet accessibility. The Indian e-commerce market is expected to reach $99 billion by 2024. This makes improving the omnichannel experience crucial for brands to stay relevant in the digitally driven new normal. As you can see, Ria’s purchase journey starts at a brick-and-mortar store and ends on a mobile app. But throughout this journey, her experience with the brand is consistent. This is what marketing automation can help you achieve – a consistent brand image and messaging across channels without missing a beat, ever.
Let’s look at how brands can leverage marketing automation to create seamless, personalized customer journeys.
Marketing automation makes the omnichannel experience seamless
Ask yourself this question: Would Ria have had a satisfactory experience with ABC Stationery if the watercolor palettes she saw in the physical store were shown as ‘Out of stock’ on the online inventory page? Or what if she could not avail of the promised 20% discount on the mobile app?
Marketing automation can help you avoid such inconsistencies and allow your customers to enjoy a truly seamless buying experience! A study by Harvard Business Review indicates that 73% of shoppers used multiple channels to discover and buy products. This means it is crucial for brands to have ample data from across platforms to build a consistent, real-time customer database that marketers can use to avoid dated, redundant customer engagement. With marketing automation that is tied to a single source of customer truth, you can create consistent experiences across platforms and hyper-personalize your marketing efforts.
With advanced technologies like Wi-Fi Analytics, you can also capture customer data such as buying history or interests of visitors at physical stores and further enrich your customer database. The more data you have, the more unified and personalized experiences you can create for your customers.
Marketing automation improves the marketing team’s performance
Almost 80% of all highly successful businesses have been utilizing marketing automation for more than a decade. Basically, automation takes simple, repetitive tasks off your plate and replaces that with free time to do more creative thinking and strategizing. So, instead of being caught up in routine tasks like responding to email or sharing marketing collateral with interested customers, you can focus on what you do best – being creative.
In fact, marketing automation can also improve the kind of marketing strategies and campaigns you create. How? AI-powered marketing tools soak in tons of data from different sources and condense them into deep insight. You can use these insights to connect all the dots and target each customer segment with laser focus.
Marketing automation can also help you look into the future! You can use nifty marketing automation tools like Oracle Eloqua to preplan and execute your marketing campaigns with the flair of personalization. Thus, marketing automation also ensures your brand is consistent in its marketing messaging as well as in its frequency of output.
Marketing automation improves profitability
Marketing used to suffer the reputation of being the least quantifiable of all business activities. But now, almost two-thirds of businesses using marketing automation outperform their competitors.
Marketing automation makes it possible for you to capture and prioritize the most suitable leads and automatically assign them to respective marketing team members. With better lead generation, you can create greater harmonization between your sales and marketing teams to ensure higher conversion rates. It also enables you to give every lead its due attention based on various factors like their company size, stage in the sales funnel, platform(s) of engagements, and so on. And all of this can take place simultaneously without consuming hours and hours of your time.
But that’s not all. Marketing automation lets you know whether your marketing efforts are working or not, even letting you see the extent of their impact. This means you don’t have to shoot in the dark anymore. Using analytics from past performances and forecasting capabilities, marketing automation can help you predict how far your efforts would reach and the kind of fruits you can expect to reap from them.
COVID-19 has really given a push to digital transformation. We’ve seen that businesses that had adopted automation were more resilient and able to get back to business sooner. With the number of tools for marketing automation increasing by over 40% since last year, most businesses have picked it up due to FOMO [fear of missing out]. But what marketers and brands from across industries need to be mindful of is ensuring the smooth transition to the digital and enabling every employee with the right resources to extract the full benefits of marketing automation.
Contributors: Meher Afroz, Preeti Mishra, and Swapnil Adsul