Three Key Trends Driving Marketing Automation Adoption
Many B2B and B2C companies are investing in marketing automation platforms to satisfy their customers' increasing appetite for personalised customer experiences, while also nurturing meaningful relationships with them. But what other drivers are leading marketers to adopt marketing automation platforms?
Marketing automation software allows businesses to create and execute campaigns by sending the most relevant and valuable content to the right prospects, leads or customers at the right time.
#1 More empowered, knowledgeable customers
Never before has the online customer been so empowered when it comes to information about the products they buy. Whatever product or service they are in the market for, they effectively have the choice of every single online supplier in the world at their fingertips, and they are happy to shop around.
Customers have more information and more choice, leading to greater competition between brands. So how do you get an edge?
According to a study by Salesforce, more than three-quarters (76%) of “consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations”, and the ability to offer a personalised customer experience has long been the holy grail among B2B and B2C marketers. However, it is incredibly challenging to execute well.
The first step is understanding the customer, which requires a data-driven strategy. After collecting data about their customers through their interactions and behaviours, determining what is most important to them, and what their pain points are, businesses can use marketing automation to serve the most appropriate content to them at just the right time.
This approach can help establish the business as a thought leader, so that the customer is more inclined to return to them for expertise or advice. For long-time customers, it is a way of fostering loyalty.
#2 The importance of complying with data privacy regulations
In order to provide the personalised experiences now expected by customers, organisations need to hold, and have the ability to analyse, a lot of data. This might include behavioural or preference data, or even sensitive personal data.
However, it is imperative that any data an organisation collects about its customers is responsibly collected and handled, so that it complies with data privacy laws such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which can carry a €20m penalty (or 4% annual revenue, whichever is higher) for infringements.
Fortunately, many of the processes businesses need to put into place in order to comply with GDPR align with best customer experience practices. An organised data management system enables the delivery of personalised campaigns, while being transparent about the data you collect from your customers and what you will use it for also helps nurture trust.
A marketing automation platform can make it easier for businesses to comply with GDPR. Companies can automate the delivery of messages to the customer from their very first interaction to ask directly what kind of data they are happy to share, and let them know what it will be used for.
The platform can also make it simpler for the customer to manage their email preferences, so that businesses don’t run the risk of contacting them too often or with content that is not relevant to them.
#3 Customers’ preference for email communication
Email continues to prove itself as one of the best channels for of marketing communication, both in terms of customers’ preferences and in delivering ROI.
According to a 2017 study by the DMA [Direct Marketing Association], nearly three quarters (73%) of consumers rate email as one of their top two preferred marketing channels (out of eight), despite fears about the impact of GDPR. A study by Adobe from the same year found that 61% of consumers prefer to receive offers by email, which was a 24% increase on the previous year.
Email marketing is also good for the bottom line: another by the DMA has found that organisations see an average return of £38 for every £1 invested in email marketing.
Although email isn’t the only marketing function offered by marketing automation platforms, it does make building email campaigns far more efficient. Marketers can nurture leads by scheduling personalised emails to send at the most appropriate times, as well as setting up trigger emails that will be sent after the lead takes a specific action.
Using a marketing automation platform in this way delivers wins for the business in two ways – not only are sales and marketing teams saving time by automating the process of sending highly personalised emails at different times, they are likely to get a greater return on investment if the messaging they send is relevant to the customer.
For more information about how marketing automation can help the sales team to nurture and convert leads, download Act-On’s eBook 10 Ways Sales Benefits from Marketing Automation.