Teraplan and SALESmanago’s technologies can support companies in order to successfully implement Marketing Automation to adapt corporate communication to the digital world, generate new leads, and increase the revenue.
Of course, things are not born overnight: in this post, we will see how, over time, it has been possible to learn how to effectively adapt marketing techniques and apply them in new contexts which were (and still are) increasingly “connected” and complex to handle.
Marketing Automation is a set of relatively new methods that help create the relationship between companies and their potential customers so they can be more efficient, targeted and less invasive; however, for this discipline, as for many other fields of application of technology, it comes down to reproduce – in a more modern way and with different tools – something we already know.
Often, it turns out that there are few really new things on the scene, and the novelties are sometimes not so obvious or easy to understand. In marketing, as, for example, in communication, the real innovation lays in the numbers (number of people involved) and in the operating modes: more and more personalized, fast and interactive.
So, when we use Marketing Automation for promotional campaigns or to acquire new leads, what are we doing really new? Methods change for certain, but it always comes to searching the interested parties and let them understand the strong points of our offer, in order to push them to a conversion.
A bit of history
When did we start talking about digital marketing? Probably a long time after we actually started to use it: I refer to the paradigm shift introduced by the common use of email (with many advantages in terms of cost reduction, but which also caused the problem of spam).
Then it was the turn of business websites followed, within a few years, by social media – where any company had to be present at all costs; then we realized the need to be found more easily by search engines and, more or less at the same time, it became possible to buy internet advertising services.
What happened? Quite simply we tried to replicate over the newborn digital channels – the practice we were already used to in the past: contact users, become known thanks to the paid advertisement, overseeing the media and making a statement that would allow the market to know us and appreciate us – with insights about our offering, success stories or other materials, in text or multimedia format.
From Digital Marketing to Marketing Automation
With or without digital marketing, automation is a concept which should not be underestimated, also because it has been already applied in many fields (from industrial production to agriculture, from transportation to health care, from logistics to warehouse management – just to make some examples). It was only a matter of time: sooner or later, also marketers would have seen the emergence of tools designed for them in order to reduce the impact of long and tedious manual tasks.
Initially, automation was applied to one of the most popular tools used by the marketers: email sending; it is for this reason that many people still consider the Email Marketing Automation as the only “automated” function of modern marketing.
In real terms, automation is much more – even from the email marketing point of view. A fairly basic way to use it is, in fact, to insert to email messages elements that allow you to send different answers depending on whether or not the recipient has read the text, or has clicked on a link to download some materials, to be redirected to a landing page, or to fill a form.
The true innovation of automation
The advent of the internet has greatly expanded the audience available for marketing initiatives; for this reason, the manual management of such a large amount of people involved is simply impossible. However, are we sure that the real news is here?
What automation makes really possible under the new web scenarios, can be summarized with three basic elements:
- the ability to capture new contacts and leads
- the ability to know their distinctive characteristics such as interests, preferences, and behaviors
- the ability to customize the marketing message by leveraging the knowledge obtained thanks to point two
A new paradigm based on knowledge
At this point, automation is not only a matter of quantity but also of quality: a kind of quality that really allows you to change the rules of the game.
How can we know in detail millions of web users and how can we be able to convert them to become our customers nowadays? Certainly not by chatting with them. The automation helps us to track navigation paths and learn preferences, most visited pages, downloaded material, etc.; this allows us to identify new contacts who develop an interest in the brand, thus we are able to find them in the internet wastelands and in social media audience. Of course, many “baits” are thrown to lure them, as well as other elements that can push people to visit our site – and this is done through advertising both on search engines and on the virtual meeting places.
As the new contacts reply to our proposals (basically signing up to receive further communications) our relationship with them becomes more and more engaging because, thanks to the kind of response we get, we can calibrate optimum pace, style, and tone of marketing communication.
In time, we continue to collect useful knowledge which allows us to profile our audience better and better so we can make relevant proposals, perfectly in line with the needs of the target in a highly personalized way – even being able to anticipate their needs.
New applications of automation
We haven’t got used to the web and social media when a new element appeared: the mobility, the ability of internet users to be online 24/7 via their mobile devices (tablets and smartphones), and also the development of mobile apps.
Apps are important as they not only have changed the way mobile users surf the web but also because they offer unprecedented opportunities for marketing interactions. In fact, they allow us to know even better users’ behavior and preferences even better and gives us another communication channel. Also keep in mind that mobile devices mark their location in the real world, giving us a chance to create a highly personalized and context-aware marketing communication.
By adding the mobility to the described model it becomes obvious that automation, at this point, is absolutely essential.
Marketing Automation does not mean sending thousands of emails at one time with no manual intervention but, above all, it means learning more about the market and, in particular, the people potentially interested in the brand.
Once identified, these useful contacts are profiled and managed in a one-to-one fashion in order to allow them to develop their awareness of a problem that we can solve with our offer, leading them to a positive purchase decision, and, obviously, following them even in the post-sale phase to improve their experience and to offer them additional products and services.
Mario Cerri, Technical Marketing at Teraplan Srl