Gone are the days of brand loyalty. With so many options available online and offline, customers do not think twice before ending their association with a brand and moving to the next one that offers them a better experience. Today, companies cannot afford to be complacent. Companies need to innovate and deliver experiences that delight the customers constantly. That's what Amazon, Apple, or Netflix do and that's what makes them different from their competitors.
In fact, recently Jeff Bezos divulged the secret of success when he said, "The No. 1 thing that has made us successful by far is an obsessive-compulsive focus on the customer as opposed to obsession over the competitor". Customer centricity and customer obsession are not terms that can be used frivolously anymore. These are values that you show to customers when you communicate with them.
It's time for you to move beyond traditional marketing practices of sending mass emails and advertising on billboards and TV; you need to embrace personalized marketing to show that you care. Now, irrespective of whether you are a startup or an enterprise, it's impossible to personalize your communication for each customer manually. You need to use a combination of engineering, psychology, and creativity to understand the behavior of your customer and chart a personalized journey to convert and retain them.
Enter marketing automation
Marketing automation comprises a set of software and technologies used by the marketing department to automate repetitive tasks such as sending emails and managing multiple social media platforms at the same time. Marketing automation can save time, reduce those embarrassing errors of sending wrong emails to the wrong customer, and build a seamless, multi-touchpoint experience for your customer.
Marketing automation can be used at every stage of the marketing cycle, right from attracting the prospect to the website to converting them to customers and offering them post-sales support.
Personalizing marketing content
According to McKinsey, personalization can reduce the acquisition cost by 50% and increase revenue by 5-15%. Marketing automation tools help you to understand the buying behavior of your target audience and segment them based on pre-defined parameters. For example, let's imagine you own an e-commerce portal that specializes in women's fashion. Marketing automation tools will help you to define parameters such as what kind of clothes does a person purchase, whether they show an affinity to a particular brand, and how frequently they shop. The tool captures the data and segments it into different categories. You can then use that data to send personalized content to your target audience. So, if there is a sale on specific brands, you can use marketing automation to send a personalized email to people who like those brands informing them about it.
Piquing the customer's interest in what you sell
Customers love brands that care for them. When you personalize the content and begin a one-to-one communication, you pique the interest of your audience and lead them to engage with your brand. If we take the same example of women's fashion, your personalized emails on sales and new arrivals will lead your audience to follow you on social media platforms or subscribe to emailers for such updates.
Providing end-to-end lead management support
When your audience checks your website and subscribes to a newsletter or fills a contact form, they become a lead. Every lead you capture is like a goldmine for your company. You should leverage marketing automation tools to generate leads and convert them into customers. To begin with, you need not scout for data on different platforms. You can get all the information about the leads on a centralized platform. You can nurture the leads using email marketing and encourage them to take an action such as buying your product or subscribing to your newsletter. You can assess the leads and score them based on their buying intent to make it simpler for the sales team to focus on the leads that show the potential of getting converted. In most cases, the lead will get easily converted due to the affinity they build with your brand over time.
Providing post-sale support
The role of marketing automation does not end at converting leads. It can be used to provide post-sales support to the customer, encouraging them to engage with you. For example, Grammarly, an online grammar checking platform sends a weekly personalized report to its premium users informing them about their performance and the most common mistakes they commit. Marketing automation can be used to analyze each customer's data and offer them proactive suggestions on how to leverage your product to the fullest. The care shown to the customer will encourage them to engage more deeply with you. Marketing automation can also be used to cross-sell or up-sell other products. For example, if a customer is using the basic plan of your product, you can upgrade them to the next level by using personalized email marketing. Similarly, it can also be used to cross-sell related products. For example, when you purchase a mobile phone on Amazon, you might have come across related suggestions for mobile case covers and earphones and purchased them too, even if that was not what you had planned when buying the phone. That's what marketing automation does. It cross-sells related products to entice the customer.
Marketing automation is undoubtedly a powerful tool that you must leverage to offer a personalized experience to your customer. However, before you purchase those tools, do these things to avoid wasting money.
- Ask yourself "Why do we need it?". This is important because there are many automation tools available in the market. You must analyze the purpose of the automation before purchasing the tools. Finalize a goal, allocate the budget, and identify the right resources to make the best use of the tool.
- Plan a workflow on how you will engage with your customers. Using automation without a workflow can be a wild goose chase. So, plan the customer journey and determine the key touch points to make that journey successful.
- Choose your automation tools carefully. There are tools available for email marketing, social media marketing, managing CRM, etc. Each of them has a different purpose. So, analyze what you require to meet your marketing objectives and choose the tool carefully.
- Finally, train your team on each tool so they know how to use it independently and harness the data to the marketing teams' advantage.