When you strip away the misconceptions, hype, and misleading claims of ballooned ROI numbers, the reality is that marketing automation offers very real, tangible benefits that make it an invaluable piece of the puzzle for ANY company in today’s digital world.

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Not all marketing automation systems are created equal, and it’s important not to let the glitz and glamour of one system with shiny features sway your decision, if, in reality, another more plainly-promoted piece of software is the better fit for your business.

I spend my days (and some nights) helping firms of all sizes incorporate marketing automation software into their existing commercial processes.And, I know, for a fact, it can and will help make your business (no matter what size!) smarter, more efficient, and more effective. Below are three ways marketing automation will positively impact your business.

AI-Enabled Mar-Tech Lets You Focus on More Strategic Projects

Part of getting past the hype surrounding artificial intelligence in marketing is realizing and then understanding how AI is already offering tangible benefits to marketers. As an ingrained part of (some) automation engines, machine learning algorithms take over the heavy lifting (the data aggregation, analysis, segmentation, etc.) and make more time for you to focus on setting strategy and being innovative.

“#AI takes the #data aggregation, segmentation, & analysis off your plate so you can focus solely on strategy & creativity” says @BSStoltz CLICK TO TWEET

Whether it’s manually identifying which leads or contacts should receive certain emails, or constantly updating your online product catalog or individual web pages with related products, too many digital marketers STILL let these meinal, data-related tasks consume their days. How much creativity and innovation is lost because of this kind of work?

You often don’t get to true marketing at all.

The wonderful thing about marketing automation — especially AI-backed, intelligent automation — is that once you create the initial content, you can almost literally forget about it and let the machine work its magic. Emails automatically get sent to the right prospects who sign up for your updates. The best offer is presented to the ideal person at the right time on your website.

That means you get back to focusing on running your business like you should.

Keeping up With the Changing Needs of Customers

How are you “staying relevant” with your customers now?

Almost every marketing organization is using some marketing automation software to communicate with customers and prospects. My strong hunch is that the majority of companies, however, still focus on acquiring customers, not keeping them long-term. That’s another perk to marketing automation — with analytics, you can determine likely interests or behaviors of existing customers and market to them accordingly to boost retention.

Let’s say you have a customer who subscribes to your SaaS product and every six months they upgrade to a higher package. You don’t need predictive analytics to tell you that in another six months, that pattern will likely happen again. But you could market to that customer, offering additional upsells at a discount right when that six months rolls around. That focus on both relevance AND retention is what’ll propel your business forward.

Doing so at scale requires advanced marketing automation.

→ Bonus Tip: You can also simply stay in touch via engaging, personalized (but automated) emails that make past customers feel like they’re still valued, which goes a long way to making them lifelong customers of your brand.

Easily Track Results

Marketing automation software almost always has insightful analytics included so that you can see exactly how campaigns are performing.

The secret here? Actually, pay attention to this data! A lot of businesses overlook it because there’s such pressure on forward-thinking, on creating the next thing, or finding the next opportunity. But even a glance at the data can net major results toward these objectives if you’re willing to take a little time to improve future campaigns based on what you learn.

Let’s say you have an email drip campaign that people who sign up for your e-newsletter receive. Results show that after they sign up, an overwhelming majority of them unsubscribe from your emails. That’s your cue to change things up. That might indicate that the newsletter was not what they wanted, didn’t offer enough value, or wasn’t personalized enough. You might derive insight from this — and could then add an informative article that piggybacks onto a popular topic in your industry, or offers an individualized product discount. Try that and then measure those results.

These benefits of marketing automation are only the tip of the iceberg. It’s worth a bit of time and investment to get set up, and after that, you should see a fast ROI. ◾

This article was originally published on the Ariad Partners blog, here, in May of 2018. It has been re-worked and adjusted for the Emarsys blog.

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Brenda StoltzBrenda Stoltz is CEO/Founder at Ariad Partners and has a 20-year track record of consulting for companies in strategy, sales, marketing and product innovation to unleash their true potential.

Connect with Brenda: Ariad Partners, LLC LinkedIn@BSStoltz