Marketing activities can become overwhelming and complex, so the idea of marketing automation as a solution is very enticing. You’ve probably seen the successes other countries and businesses are having, but does marketing automation even work in South Africa, and is it right for your business?
As the global investment in marketing automation is expected to grow by close to 200% by 2023, is it time for your business to get started?
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation refers to software that automates repetitive marketing tasks, operationalises communications, streamlines marketing processes, time-consuming tasks and workflows.
Overall, the goal of marketing automation is to increase marketing efficiency while growing business revenue. Marketing automation takes on repetitive tasks and gives business owners and marketers more time to focus on important tasks.
Why would you use marketing automation?
Business owners and marketers know that being effective in their role requires wearing many different hats. Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day.
For the business owner, time is spent on business development, marketing, customer service, HR, financials, the competition, suppliers and much more. For marketers, a typical day is spent constantly juggling new digital channels, requests from the business and new clients, optimising campaigns, and an ever-growing stream of data to scrutinise.
Sound familiar? The best way to claw back some time in the day is to automate a few of the many trivial, tedious, and time-consuming marketing tasks filling up your calendar each day.
The processes that are repeated often are usually done so for a reason - they work. By identifying these repetitive tasks and automating them it is possible to save a significant amount of time.
Marketing automation grows businesses
Our own business leverages marketing automation. It has helped us nurture our lead and provide value to our clients for the past few years. This automation is key to our exponential sales growth. Our automation sells and nurtures 24/7.
Benefits of marketing automation
To measure the success of marketing automation we first need to identify the benefits and goals of marketing automation.
How are others using Marketing Automation?
Below is a chart detailing the most important goals of a marketing automation strategy. Convincingly, the top three goals are to improve the targeting of messages, improved customer experience, and better quality leads.
We've seen marketing automation work in South Africa (and globally) for these goals:
Acquiring more customers
Attracting new prospects (lead generation) through the use of effective marketing strategies is step one of the modern marketing processes, with automation stepping in for a personalised experience.
If you want to do more to nurture your prospects so that they become customers, marketing automation is the next step. With automation in place, it is simple to conduct advanced contact list segmentation, initiate follow-up email marketing and personalise content throughout.
With daily contact management, tagging and email flow managed with automation, marketing teams can focus their time on data analysis, campaigns, and optimisations.
Improving database quality
It is extremely time-consuming managing a database of contacts moving throughout the buyer’s journey. With marketing automation in place, contacts and lists can be managed, cleaned and updated as new information is created for each contact.
Aligning Marketing and Sales
The age-old divide between marketing and sales teams is bridged with effective marketing automation. Leads are automatically qualified and handed over to sales with their full records. Lead activities are also monitored and important actions are sent to sales for instant action.
Marketing Automation and the sales process
As a marketing automation consultancy in South Africa, we focus predominantly on the financial and technology sectors. In these sectors of the South African economy, the sales process tends to operate at multiple touchpoints & over long time periods.
With that in mind marketing automation is the perfect additive to your sales process or digital marketing campaign. To achieve success with these types of sales that comprise large, considered purchases - prolonged nurturing the prospect is often required, and marketing automation enables this very well.
So in a nutshell, marketing automation does work in South Africa. But, keep in mind, if you’d like the primary deliverable of your marketing spend to be qualified leads – a sales-focused marketing automation platform and service provider is the way to go.
Do you need Marketing Automation?
So now that you know it works, let's discuss if you need marketing automation. Are you finding the challenges of modern marketing taxing; from automating email campaigns, operationalising acquisition activities, scheduling content and/or social media posts, and optimising your content for SEO?
Here are some reasons you might want to take on marketing automation:
1. Long sales cycles
Your sales cycle is long and sometimes complicated. Longer sales cycles required regular and multiple touchpoints.
2. Sales and marketing teams don’t play nice
Sales say the leads are poor quality, and marketing is always complaining that sales never follow up properly on the leads they deliver.
3. More ROI insights
You have no idea how marketing campaigns affected revenue. You don’t know which campaigns are performing and which aren't.
4. Current CRM doesn’t have automation
A good CRM is great for sales forecasting and task management. If you are to support sales in identifying great prospects then adding marketing automation into the mix is a good idea.
5. Accurately target your audience
You have great content, but it’s just not getting to the right people. Marketing automation is designed to help target your preferred audience. Targeted emails, landing pages and bots all help get your message across.
There is a lot to gain from marketing automation. Time savings, operational efficiencies, better content delivery, and more. The modern marketing professional and modern business owner should both make a point of understanding the benefits of marketing automation.