With the digital landscape continuously growing and technology evolving, marketing automation has become more important than ever for businesses. While most businesses know and understand this, what they often overlook is all that goes into a marketing automation program.

Creating an effective marketing automation strategy takes time, planning, and requires input from multiple departments. The good news is that with a successful strategy in place, you will have more insights into customers than ever the before.

To help you get started, we’ve outlined common questions below. Get the answers to essential questions surrounding marketing automation to ensure your strategy is successful:

Why should businesses take a more strategic approach to marketing automation, rather than just ‘bolting it on’?

The nature of today’s digital customers – constantly connected and ready to react – has opened the door to ‘multichannel marketing’. This means there is now an array of touch points where your customers can interact with your brand and these have increased the complexity of communication.

A lot of behavior is now tracked from email, web and mobile channels, which means marketers are often overwhelmed by the thought of addressing all the potential “if/then” scenarios. The good news is that you don’t have to tackle it all at once – you can make incremental changes to build your strategy gradually and increase the complexity of your campaigns.

From our experience, the most successful marketing automation strategies grow with business demands, and this takes place over a period of time.

Who should be involved when implementing a marketing automation strategy?

It is important to include the right people within your organization when implementing a marketing automation strategy. It’s a commonly-held belief that marketing automation is the sole responsibility of marketers, but it’s essential to have a holistic business approach.

This involves support from sales, product development and customer services, as the work they do should impact marketing messages. And the results of marketing campaigns, such as generated leads, should in turn influence what they do – it’s a bi-directional relationship, not just one way.

How can businesses take a more strategic approach?

Often organizations want to automate 100% of their marketing processes, which is very hard to achieve immediately. The trick is to set realistic, achievable targets and gradually build a fully optimized marketing automation process.

For beginners we recommend setting up trigger messages, such as welcome and thank you emails, along with any emails that can be automated by a form submission. This is the most simplistic form of marketing automation.

Moving forward, it’s a natural step to use segmentation to send highly-personalized emails to specific groups based on demographic and transactional information, depending on what stage those prospects are within the customer lifecycle.

Finally, by incorporating more sophisticated web data, marketing automation can exploit all available data across a variety of touch points such as email, web and mobile to produce reports on click-through rates, cost per lead and conversion rates.

What kinds of strategies can marketing automation support (i.e. content strategy, communication strategy) and how can it help them?

The transition from outbound to inbound marketing is hardly breaking news. Inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for eCommerce since 2006 (Hubspot). As inbound strategies such as Content Marketing continue to be a strategic initiative, it’s crucial marketers use behavioral targeting to identify prospects at the very beginning of the customer lifecycle and to combine it with marketing automation.

Put simply, this means that by analyzing the response to content such as blogs, whitepapers and newsletters, marketers should be able to profile who their prospects are, what they like, and how they communicate, so that organizations can deliver automated, highly-personalized, one-to-one experiences for every single prospect and customer.

How do non-email channels fit into a marketing automation strategy?

Customers aren’t just on email. Data can be collected from multichannel customer touch points including social, mobile apps, and even off-line channels. The goal is to consolidate customer data from multiple channels into a single database that enables marketing automation to deliver a relevant, personalized customer experience.

Any final advice on being more strategic with marketing automation?

Three concluding points to consider…

  1. Learn to walk before you run. Don’t try to automate 100% of your marketing processes straight away. Start by identifying your key business objectives (whether it’s a focus on acquiring prospects, retaining current customers, etc.) and then look at how marketing automation can help you achieve this.
  2. Set appropriate metrics. While click-through rates and open rates indicate whether your recipients have found the campaign more engaging, it’s the amount of repeat buyers that will show a campaign has been successful in improving retention rates.
  3. Multichannel mastery. It’s not just about the ability to collect data from an array of communication channels; it’s consolidating the data that allows marketers to automate highly personalised, one-to-one experiences for their customers.

Learn more about Emarsys marketing automation and how we help B2C companies drive ROI.

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