Marketing automation is a bogeyman for many small and medium-sized businesses, but there are so many affordable alternatives today that there are no financial barriers between efficiency gains and medium-sized companies. Why are many business leaders still afraid to automate their marketing processes? Automation has several connotations that often lead to wrong conclusions. What is true and what is not?
Let us imagine automated marketing on a scale. Let’s place a rural winery at one end of the scale. The winery is a love project, which is why the owner pays special attention to both the customers and the quality of the product. After a successful year or two, he starts selling to restaurants in the area. Restaurant guests love his wines and ask where they can get them bottled. At the winery next door, comes the reply.
But what happens if the owner can and wants to significantly increase the quantity of wine produced and extend the quality and attention to restaurants – to more restaurants, hypermarket chains, wine shops and many smaller premium stores?
Automated marketing and high quality customer relationships? Can absolutely be a winning combination!
Many people’s intuition tells them that the two ends of the marketing automation scale are quantitatively and qualitatively opposite. That is, while the winery above has few customers but serves them with high quality, automated systems serve partners in bulk, but this quantitative surplus comes at the expense of quality.
Well, it’s time to say that this is not the case.
Automation, while indeed capable of efficiently serving more customers, not only does it not preclude, but when coupled with well-chosen software and the right marketing strategy, it actually promotes kind, attentive, customer-centric communication.
What can automation do that the average contact person can’t?
You never have a bad day, and your memory is flawless for years.
A well-set-up automation system with the right messages is like the most attentive business manager talking to business partners himself. He is an attentive, professional contact, and the longer the business relationship, the more this becomes apparent. He remembers all deadlines, knows which partners order which wines and how these orders are distributed at different times of the year. You know which partner restaurants are more frequented in summer, and which in autumn and winter. You remember to send gesture messages to all your business partners at the appropriate holidays, and you know when it is possible and worthwhile to push sales volumes to which partners. And all this is automated.
Automation is good because it can be perfectly tailored to a company’s goals and it is a “one-stop shop”. All data is stored and managed at the same time. If the user company converts the data into information with the right logical relationships, the result is a fabulous benefit: the business partner gets the right message when and by the business partner that has the best chance of converting.
A message like the next one can only be delivered to the right partner(s) at just the right moment by storing large amounts of data and sorting it properly:
The autumn-winter season is fast approaching, with fully booked, indoor evenings. Based on our experience from previous years, your guests mostly choose our cabernet sauvignon wine at this time of year. We haven’t forgotten this year either, with the usual amount of bottles set aside for you.
However, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Pinot Noir, harvested and bottled two years ago, has now matured to an excellent age, bringing out all the varietal characteristics beautifully. If you’d like a tasting round, we’d be happy to send you a few bottles next week.
Who is the contact person or sales professional who can conjure up the partner details that are important at the moment without any particular investment of energy, even if it means remembering hundreds of partners? And messages sent at the right moment not only deepen the relationship with the partner, but can also be very good for the sale of goods or services.
The marketing funnel, the alignment of each customer/customer group and the messages are almost only limited by creativity. In a good automation software, the possibilities for connectivity are virtually limitless. In addition, it is possible to see how many people have opened an email, which segments click on which messages and calls, which triggers are used to convert.
Watch out! Marketing automation can be a magic wand, but you decide what you want to focus it on!
Automation will be whatever you set it to be. You can keep as many smiling returning customers as you surely can without automation. But you can’t spare the segmentation, the messaging, the work of setting your own brand tone. It’s important that the automation process and the messages you use are carefully thought through, well integrated into your company’s annual marketing strategy.
It’s a no-brainer: if you can find the right balance between the elements, you will have no problem cultivating, deepening and further increasing the value of a truly long-term, even high-volume business relationship.