What is Marketing Automation and What Are The Benefits?

SuccessMarketing automation is any software package or web development that allows an organisation to automate some or all of its online communications.  Usually these marketing communications are triggered by the action of a website visitor, for example a visit to a certain webpage or filling out a form.

If you think about Amazon, you'll quickly realise that marketing automation is not new.  For as long as we can remember Amazon and other big brands have been sending personalised, automated emails and delivering personalised web copy.  What is relatively new is the ability for smaller companies to target individuals with relevant, timed communications triggered by online consumer behaviour.  

So we can think of marketing automation in a number of ways. Firstly there is bespoke automation, the kind that big corporates will invest in, where the customer journey is carefully mapped out, and individual customers are treated as a market of one. Secondly there are all-in-one marketing automation software solutions that bring marketing automation to smaller companies as a standard package. And lastly there are offerings, such as CommsBox, that can offer the price competitiveness of an off-the-shelf package with some bespoke elements if required.

A good marketing automation package gives businesses an effective way to stimulate, capture and nurture leads online.  Marketing automation software varies from supplier to supplier, but will often contain a combination of email marketing, content marketing, content management, SEO tools and list management, all wrapped up with the ability to automatically trigger time based or action based communications.

A Typical Customer Journey Using Marketing Automation

A typical marketing automation campaign starts with a digital marketing activity, for example a social media post, display advertising or search engine marketing that leads a prospect to a landing page.  The visitor is then taken on an automated journey.  An example is given in the diagram below.

 

Example visitor journey

 

The visitor is often incentivised, perhaps with some motivational offer, to leave their contact details as part of a lead nurturing process.  The contact’s details are then captured into a database which is then used in future marketing campaigns.  Marketing automation software allows the business to use their contact database, in conjunction with visitor tracking data, to create a personalised customer journey for each and every visitor.  Personalised messages, most often emails, are sent automatically as a result of triggers, such as filling in a form, visiting a web page, or even a lack of interaction over a specified period of time.

What are the benefits of marketing automatioBenefitsn?

 According to Econsultancy (2015) the majority of companies they surveyed (88%) 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.

In our own research with UK companies we identified three key benefits that came up time and again.

Enhancing SEO Reputation

Marketing automation is in fact part of a bigger content marketing strategy.    It is often the existence of blogs and other creative content, such as videos, or surveys that stimulates a prospect to visit a website in the first place.  A marketing automation package that enables businesses to easily add content to their web presence, and distribute that content easily to their prospects adds to the sheer volume of relevant content on the organisation’s website.  Relevant, timely, up to date content is attractive to search engines and stimulates further traffic.  This is the essence of what is sometimes called “Inbound marketing”. 

Detailed Customer Insights 

A strong marketing automation campaign has as one of its goals, the capture of customer data.  Usually this happens on a landing page that incorporates a form, or a pop-up box.  This is the start of that customer’s journey.  Marketing automation can then be used to trigger further offers, that may eCompetition formncourage the contact to augment their data with further information. 

Once a visitor has filled in a form, a good marketing automation package will then start to track that visitor every time they visit the website.  The software is then able to augment data about that visitor, using pages visited and actions taken as triggers for further communications.  You can then gauge interest of prospects from the visitor's engagement with the website rather than waiting for an elusive response to an email.

This data once captured enables the company to understand customers at an individual level at a glance, as well as building up a picture on a micro and macro level.  Understanding the customer is after all at the very heart of meeting customer needs profitably.

This detailed information about individual customers gives power and control to the marketer that they can then use to make sure that future communications (online or offline) are more relevant, personalised and engaging.

By having a finer level of granularity in observing how contacts are interacting with your web presence, you can learn what customers are actually interested in, test concepts, learn again from behaviour and continue to refine campaigns accordingly for greater commercial success.

Saving Time and Money

A marketing automation approach can be a less labour intensive way of understanding customers, and offers the prospect of lower cost promotion.  Businesses we spoke to saw particular benefits in using marketing automation to handle the larger volume, lower value, accounts.  This would leave costly sales resource free to spend their focus on larger accounts.

Ease of use was something we heard time and time again.  Marketing automation can make it easier to communicate with large numbers of prospects and customers.  Where marketing automation systems are cloud based, companies also benefit from being able to work on their campaigns remotely.  This is helpful for small organisations that may employ a range of people working from home, or travelling.

Lastly, an integrated marketing automation package can replace a vast array of individual software tools, for example CRM, CMS and emailing programmes, with just one tool and one place to keep customer data.  By putting resources of time and money into one tool the organisation gains rewards in efficiency and effectiveness.

Why CommsBox for Marketing Automation?

The key reasons for choosing CommsBox for marketing automation are:

  • As a British company we are easy to find and easy to get to know.  Many marketing automation companies are not based in the UK and therefore are too remote for businesses that are located here.
  • Flexibility and the agility to offer bespoke elements.  Many of our customers want something slightly different to the off-the-shelf packages available.  We are able to give the cost effectiveness of a packaged product, with the flexibility of adding bespoke components.
  • CommsBox has an easy to use intuitive interface, so little technical knowledge is needed.
  • CommsBox is available either as an integral part of a CommsBox responsive website, or as a plug-in for your existing website.
  • CommsBox is the flagship product of Yellowhawk Ltd that has been established since 2002 serving many UK organisations from large Government departments through to smaller local entrepreneurs.

If you'd like to find out how marketing automation can work for your business, please contact us.  We'd love to talk to you. 


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.

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

Is Marketing Automation Relevant to SMEs in the UK?

In preparation for the CIM Small Business Marketing Conference on 22nd May, Commbox presents marketing personas for SMEs using marketing automation.

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