Is Marketing Automation Relevant to SMEs in the UK?

TeamWe've been researching the adoption of marketing automation in SMEs.  Finding data is very hard, yet there is a clear feeling that adoption of automation is slow.  Recent research featured from Software Advice shows only 2% of SMEs have a marketing automation platform and 47% are still using manual methods.  And yet Econsultancy (2015) found that 88% of companies they surveyed were very clear or quite clear about the benefits of marketing automation including:

  • More relevant communication
  • Increased customer engagement
  • More timely communication
  • Opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell
  • Saving Time
  • Increased revenue.

So why are SMEs slow to jump on the marketing automation bandwagon?  Is it because they don’t understand the opportunity enough, or are vendors not meeting their needs?

We carried out in-depth interviews with SMEs in a variety of industries to find out what they thought about the marketing automation opportunity.  Here we look at four different personas that are fictional but are based on extensive research.  Do you see yourself in Tammy, Nigel, Edward or Gordon?

 

Tammy the Traditionalist

Tammy works for a well established firm.  They are highly focussed on customer loyalty.  However, there is little interest, investment or skill in digital marketing techniques. Tammy's firm are traditionalists who like to put leather on the street. Communications with clients are highly personal.  Meetings, telephone calls and carefully crafted individual emails are preferred.  Whilst Tammy's firm sees a need to have a website, they do not engage fully in the digital world.   Tammy can see the benefits of marketing automation for other companies, but not themselves.   She sees that perhaps marketing automation could be useful for saving time dealing with smaller, lower value, customers. 

Edward the Innovative Entrepreneur (IE)

Edward is a highly enthusiastic solo-preneur with an active interest in digital marketing.  He has already adopted an off-the-shelf marketing automation package to drive leads into his business.  Strategically he understands digital marketing, but doesn’t always understand the details of implementation.  His current solutions present niggly problems and he finds himself struggling with the process of using them.     Edward is excited about the deeper insights he could gain from a system that tracks the entire web journey of the customer.  However, he has concerns about the time, training and cost of taking on a new system.  

Nigel of No Need Now

Nigel, like Tammy, is very much focussed on customer loyalty and is motivated primarily by return on investment.  However the company is smaller, a start-up with a handful of employees. Nigel sees a need to have a digital presence, but purely to let potential customers know that the company exists.  He recognises that his website needs to be up-to-date and responsive, but has little interest in its upkeep or driving traffic to the site.  Like Tammy communications with clients are highly personalised.  Customer records are currently kept on excel spreadsheets.  Nigel does see potential in automated marketing for spin-off products which have a larger customer base. 

Gordon of Great Growth Group

Gordon heads up a small branch of a much larger group.  Gordon is highly focussed on customer loyalty and growing market share.  Digital marketing techniques have been employed, but many different systems have been used.  This has created frustrations, particularly in terms of list management, and there is no single view of the customer. Much time is lost in uploading and downloading information between systems. Gordon is interested in how marketing automation could help his company to grow and retain the customer base.  He is very interested in the idea of having all customer data in one place, easy to access remotely by people within the company and external consultants.   He is however concerned about investment in time and money.

HOW CAN MARKETING AUTOMATION COMPANIES HELP TAMMY, EDWARD, NIGEL AND GORDON?

What we discovered is that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for SMEs.  Their concerns, their business processes, motivations, budgets are all so different.

We asked Tammy and Co to look at Commsbox and comment on how this type of integrated marketing software could help them in their businesses.

Marketing planning meetingTAMMY

Tammy isn’t aware just yet of how marketing automation can help.  Being a traditional company, they haven’t yet seen the need for marketing automation.  Unfortunately, Tammy’s firm may fall behind without realising it.  It’s important to be able to show her some practical benefits.  Tammy is open minded and can see the benefits but just isn’t ready yet.

What excites Tammy about Commsbox Marketing Automation:

  • The easy to use interface
  • Keeping her website copy alive, up to date and relevant
  • Saving time in the long term by automating processes
  • Having a tool that will give her power and control over her marketing
  • Being able to carry out low cost promotions.

What can we do for Tammy?

Chances are that Tammy just doesn’t understand how digital marketing can help her enough.  We can help Tammy by carrying out a digital marketing audit, looking at where her company stands compared to her competitors and how she could be planning now for the future.

EDWARD

ManagerEdward is already tied into a marketing automation package so he is unlikely to change suppliers.  Edward may experience difficulties with his current supplier’s package at some point as it's an off-the-shelf solution, so he has to mangle his processes to fit with what the software does.  This is annoying, but at the end of the day, he doesn’t want to spend time and money investing in something new unless and until his current solution no longer meets his needs.  It’s important to Edward that any change he makes will bring real benefit. 

What excites Edward about Commsbox Marketing Automation:

  • Being able to update his website with relevant web copy
  • The easy to use interface
  • Having one big database of all his clients and prospects
  • Being able to see how individual customers interact with his digital presence
  • Being able to identify what individual contacts were personally interested in

What can we do for Edward?

As Edward’s business continues to grow we need to keep Edward informed of updates to Commsbox, so he knows what his options are for the future.  We can make it easy for him to swap systems by easily uploading his current contact details into the Commsbox CRM system.  And we can develop new functionality for him if he needs something slightly different to the standard package.

NIGEL

Nigel really doesn’t have a need for marketing automation.  He has a handful of specialist customers and knows them very well.  Manual systems, excel spreadsheets and a static website will continue to work for Nigel for some time. 

What excites Nigel about Commsbox Marketing Automation:

Nothing really!  We have to accept that not everybody needs marketing automation!  Perhaps as his business matures, and competitors start to use this type of technology he will be a later adopter.

What can we do for Nigel?

Nigel may want to keep a watching eye on what is happening in digital marketing.  Signing up to our blog could help him keep abreast of key issues such as the recent impact of Google’s algorithm change.  When Nigel does identify a need for a more sophisticated digital presence, the lack of current systems will make it easy for him to transfer his web presence to a Commsbox responsive website.

GORDON

Gordon is already engaged with digital marketing, but using many tools has left him with integration problems.  Heading a dynamic, growing company, Gordon has been enthusiastic about using new techniques which has led the company to try out many new tools and methods of promoting online.  However, this has left Gordon with many problems including systems that are difficult to use, lack of integration between systems, messy lead and list management and a lack of detailed customer insights.

What excites Gordon about Commsbox Marketing Automation:

  • The ability to address multi-platform audiences – whether they use mobile, PC, tablet
  • The easy to use interface
  • Being cloud based, consultants and staff in multiple and remote locations can all access the tools
  • The ability to enhance SEO reputation through the SEO optimisation tools and blogging platform
  • Having all their customer data in one place rather than spread over disparate systems
  • Allowing for fast changes to their website
  • Having detailed customer insights to drive better marketing and decision
  • A less labour- intensive way of understanding their customers.

What can we do for Gordon?

Gordon will benefit from transitioning from many disparate tools to one integrated marketing tool.  Commsbox offers bespoke consultancy and web development for clients with more complex requirements.

Find out more about in our guide "Making the Case for Marketing Automation"

DOWNLOAD GUIDE

 

 


Caroline WrightCaroline is Marketing Director for
CommsBox, marketing automation software.  Her industry experience spans high technology companies, charities, membership organisations and the creative industries. Caroline also works as Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at the University of Hertfordshire and has been instrumental in setting up their new BA Marketing with Digital Communications.  She also works with postgraduates on MSc Marketing and with professionals taking Chartered Institute of Marketing/CAM Digital Marketing Diploma.You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Comments

No comments so far - why not be the first?

@
http://
(HTML markup not supported)

Why use an 'integrated' marketing platform?

An integrated marketing platform eases data flows and facilitates new ways of looking at, analyising and acting on critical business information.

Responsive Websites Explained, Marketing Review interview with Peter Wilson

Peter Wilson discusses Responsive Web Design on Star Radio's Marketing Review programme and why it's a necessary requirement for effective marketing automation.

Enhancing Customer Lifetime Value through Automation

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) predicts the nett profit attributable to each contact. See how Marketing automation can increase CLV through planned campaigns.

Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2015

Extract from the Keynote talk by Caroline Wright on the Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2015 at the Smart Digital Marketing for Growth Seminar October 2015

5 Steps to Convert Email Subscribers into Customers

A replay of the Commsbox and Brainstorm Digital webinar onthe 5 key Stages to convertemail subscribers into customers. Watch the webinar

Qualifying contacts through Lead Scoring

A robust lead scoring strategy can improve your sales process, delivering marketing qualified leads to your sales team

Smart Digital Marketing for Growth

Buyers are changing their behaviour, are you? Free half day seminar Grow your Business with Smart Digital Marketing, 15th October, Welwyn Garden City

How to give your website a responsive makeover in 24 hours

Upgrade a tired, old fashioned, dated web site into a fully responsive, refreshed design... in a day? Challenge accepted!

Building a new web site? Why beauty is only skin deep!

A web site should be a key element of any digital marketing strategy. Understand how the right technology can support your marketing activities.

CommsBox at the 9th Cambridge Digital Marketing Conference 9th July 2015

Commsbox will be speaking with digital marketers about marketing automation at the CIM 9th Cambridge Digital Marketing Conference at Duxford, 9th July

Key Learnings from Malcolm McDonald's Address to the CIM Small Business Conference 22nd May 2015

How to develop a strategy to grow sales and profits. A look at Prof. Malcom McDonald's talk from the CIM Small Business Marketing Conference - 22nd May 2015.

What is Marketing Automation and What Are The Benefits?

Marketing automation is any software package or web development that allows an organisation to automate some or all of its online communications.  

Driving Small Business Growth - CIM Conference 22nd May

The Chartered Institute of Marketing announce speakers for their East of England Small Business Marketing Conference 22nd May. Commsbox are exhibiting at event.

Small Business Marketing Automation Trends Software Advice Research

In our series on marketing automation for small businesses we report on recent research by Software Advice which showing trends digital marketing trends in SMEs

How Has Mobilegeddon Hit Your Website Traffic?

From 21st April, Google has expanded it's use of mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. Commsbox looks at how you can see if you are affected.

Commsbox at CIM Small Business Marketing Conference 22nd May 2015

Commsbox is at the Chartered Institute of Marketing Small Business Marketing Conference, 22nd May, University of Hertfordshire. 

Step by Step Inbound Marketing Success

A well planned and executed inbound digital marketing strategy will help you engage your target audience. Here we take a look at how to get there!

How Ocado Markets to a Segment of One

A study by Teradata shows 90% of marketers want to embrace one-to-one personalisation. Here we analyse Ocado's ongoing, automated customer engagement process

What's New in CommsBox Version 8?

CommsBox Version 8 introduces enriched customer journey tracking, CMS support for responsive sites, enhanced email marketing tools and much more.

About Us

CommsBox was designed by YellowHawk Ltd in response to the needs of some rather large corporate and government clients. But then we realised we had something that small and medium sizes businesses could also use to fuel their growth.

It's really important that you know, like and trust the businesses you deal with. So we promise that you can always get to know us, and hopefully grow to like and trust us. We have an open door policy at our offices, and you can drop by any time (just drop us a line first – so we can get the kettle on!).

Want to know more?

Contact Us

© YellowHawk Ltd 2014