Marketing automation – it’s a breeze?

'Ohhh the joy of marketing automation - now my marketing team can concentrate on strategy and move to other tasks such as marketing campaigns and customer communications are taking care of themselves!'

This is how many business owners may see the future of marketing. That’s also how marketing automation tools often are marketed (sad trombone sound here). Unfortunately, this so is not the case. At least if you wish to produce successful and evolving marketing plans and truly learn what your customers want, it’s time to have a second look at that plan.

The best use of marketing automation tools is to enable a 1-to-1 relationship with your customers. This is a groundbreaking change in marketing, as with the volumes of customers and data, most companies could not reach that level of personalisation without automation tools. It can be speculated what’s the biggest change here; is it that more technical skills are now required from marketers, quick on-the-go decision making process, or understanding we’re all just learning here as every message is really a test to better understand customer behaviour? With extensive reporting requirements coming into the play, more and more advanced analytical skills are needed to take your automated marketing strategies to the next level. But one thing is for sure - all of that requires content. And a lot of it.

Content creation seems to be the key to happiness these days. So many times I’ve hoped I’d be a copywriter, photographer, graphic and UX designer all in one. It would’ve made my marketing career so much easier! But I guess to success you need to find the right people to work together to create something amazing - and remember that one size does not fit all.

So whilst the orchestrating of marketing communications and campaigns can be automated, all of that requires even more hands and brains to put together content and strategy. Otherwise there won’t be much to orchestrate. Also, even if your content happens to be the kind that doesn’t requires frequent updating, there is and will be constantly new requirements to the strategy, automation tool(s) and data inputs. It’s also good to note, that as in any marketing campaign, especially automated campaigns, should always include a test. From every test you can learn something about your audience, or validate existing hypotheses. Therefore ongoing maintenance and tweaking is possible to constantly optimise the campaigns for better performance.

As a conclusion we may think - you should NOT have a ‘set and forget’ campaign of any kind. Take advantage of the technology and make the most out of your marketing activity. Therefore the need of marketing people is not decreasing, but the dynamics within a team and skills required are changing.