Episode 6: From Option to Necessity: The Immediate Need for All Teams to Utilize Marketing Automation

In our last episode, we discussed how industries across the spectrum have been rocked by the COVID pandemic. This is especially relevant when looking at any industry in terms of marketing.  With the world coming to a shuttering halt just months ago, a realization has come to light.  Marketing will never be the same. In addition, the concept of digital marketing automation is no longer just a thing teams need to implement eventually.

Marketing automation is technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows to increase operation efficiency and grow revenue faster.

Digital processing automation (DPA) is the digitization and automation of recurring business processes. As many brands transitioned to digital, multi-platform marketing landscapes, the need for simplification and digital automation processes have grown. Now in the wake of a total shut down of physical interaction and face to face business, implementing digital marketing automation has become a business survival necessity. 

Upgrading Responsive Capabilities

There has been a lot of discussion about appropriate marketing messaging, but what about responsiveness?  

Initially, many businesses focused their messaging on conveying relevant, relatable messaging.  Now that we are reaching a point of more stability digital marketing teams are realizing that they need to turn their gaze to responsiveness. Notably, the best way to do that is through digital marketing automation.

“Automation works around the clock, no matter what the crisis. It streamlines and processes complex data to take the place of human busywork at scale.” -digitaldealer

Sales and marketing is being conducted digitally more than it ever has been before. Resulting in additional volume which means response times need to be ultra fast. And what is the best way to ensure immediate response times? 

The answer lies in optimizing end-to-end marketing workflows through digital marketing automation processes and platforms.

Investing in Digital Automation

Progressive brands have already jumped on the digital marketing automation process train. Meaning they invested in automation tools like Marketing Automation Software (MAS) early on to streamline, simplify and speed up their digital marketing strategies.  Specifically, they saw the trends in the digital marketing landscape moving towards a more consumer driven automated strategy. As a result they adapted messaging and response times appropriately.

“Today, DPA emphasizes a customer-centric approach to digital transformation by moving away from traditional BPM practices that focus on cost-reduction, to instead focus on streamlining operations to provide a better customer experience.” -ASCI

That being said, the impacts of the pandemic have managed to touch all brands both big and small. Especially within their marketing teams and agendas. With a hard and fast shift to digital marketing automation platforms as the sole means of commerce and communication.  

In general, the vast majority of brands are realizing that they are not ready to support timely transitional marketing messaging at the volume and scale needed to the meet the current digital consumer demand. As a result, they would need to reevaluate their potential or current digital marketing automation capabilities and investments. 

Big Brands

Larger brands that were already ahead of the digital marketing automation curve are having to evaluate their current capabilities. Are they are equipped to hit the ground running on 1-to-1, time sensitive messaging to their customers?  Even if they were already deploying automated responsive messaging through their MAS, the nature and context of that messaging would need to be audited and revised.

“Without the right tools and processes in place, hitting your goals and demonstrating the results is difficult, time-consuming and stressful! “-Marketo

In addition, new relevant automated customer journeys and work flows would need to be added into their digital marketing automation platforms and processes. In reality, the constantly evolving strategy to meet the challenges of this new marketing landscape is now faster and more important than ever before. 

Small Brands

Preparedness for active digital marketing automation processes is not a luxury all brands have.  Certainly, automation is on every marketing team’s mind and agenda.  Nevertheless, most small scale brands hadn’t yet begun to even dip their toe in the automation ocean. Let alone begin to create an investment strategy for automating their digital marketing processes at the beginning of this year. 

We all knew that investing in digital marketing automation tools like MAS and ESPs would have to be done. However, the pandemic has forced the hand of many smaller teams to invest sooner rather than later.

The need for small brands to get their foot in the digital automation door is apparent. In effect, the question many are currently facing is how much can they spend? How can the restructure their budget to include digital marketing automation processes that will allow for them to keep up with business demand during this shift.

“…this time in history provides an extraordinary opportunity to welcome automation into our workforce and understand that automation will create new, although different jobs for humans.” -David Mochella, contributing writier for InformationWeek.com

The answer lies in the marketing agenda and capabilities their digital marketing teams currently has. Whatever digital marketing efforts they are putting forth today, social ads, standard digital ads, email marketing and SEO, can all be enhanced with the right digital marketing automation tools and strategies.

Digital automation companies and digital marketing service providers are answering the call for accessible automation tools.  Through discounted pricing packages, informative content sharing and partnerships. All of which will enable these companies to thrive now and scale in the future.  

On the whole, the need for immediate digital marketing automation tactics is urgent for businesses of all shapes and sizes. However, it is important to realize that the growth and scale of digital marketing automation strategy will thrive best through partnerships.

Evaluating & Pivoting Strategies

As a marketing services provider, Theorem interacts with businesses at all stages of their marketing planning and strategy execution. Through the last few months, we have seen brands pivot marketing strategies in many ways. Halting upgrades and migrations, shifting tasks from in-house teams to outside services providers, as well as exploring enhancements in their current digital marketing automation tools. 

Customers that were in the process of migrating their MAS and ESP to different software providers have halted these plans. All in an effort to prevent overflow of operational tasks. Focusing on keeping business as usual, they are exploring alternative features in their existing digital marketing automation platforms and tools. Ultimately trying to meet consumer demand while keeping their marketing agendas on track. 

Platform partners have frozen immediate plans. Pushing planning and execution on their strategies out to Q3 and Q4.  With the intention of taking the time to  better evaluate what shifts need to take place in their existing marketing automation strategies and what amount of budget can they spend.  

Self Serve Customers have been forced to lay off members of their internal teams. Many turning to platforms themselves or marketing services partners to provide support. With the purpose of rebalancing their pre-existing budget to their post COVID one.  They know they need to continue utilizing digital marketing automation. However, they also need to evaluate the best way to do so while ensuring they are aligning with long term support solutions. 

The bottom line: there is no good way to analyze and evolve for changes without a data collection and reporting system in place.

Companies who are adjusting to this shift, whether on their own or through a digital marketing services provider, will be able to withstand the ever changing marketing landscape much better than those who do not. 

The marketing world is undergoing rapid transformation. While agility and adaptation to change is nothing new for marketing teams, the shifts brought forth by the pandemic are breaking the traditional models and pushing the need for fast flexibility and adjustments into hyperdrive. As a result, marketing teams have pivoted their strategies and taken the demands of consumers into account on a deeper level. The one constant that stands out through the disruptions of the past 18 months; the future of marketing is flexible and teams that embrace that mindset are those that will ensure success.

How exactly should a marketer look to do this? Let’s explore what’s driving this change and how agile teams can adapt to embrace the flexible future of marketing.

What Does This Mean?

In retrospect, the current state of the digital marketing landscape isn’t necessarily new to marketers, in terms of its’ constant evolution and need for rapid adaptation. What is new is the speed at which this is necessary.

Digital marketing automation, as a practice was already on the radar of every marketing team. The pandemic has simply pushed the need for digital automation of marketing processes from an eventual one to a necessary and immediate one. As consumer needs shift, so too will the strategies and capabilities of digital marketing automation tools and systems.

Moving forward into the 2020’s will mean more widespread implementation of automation in the marketing industry, powered by the ever-growing need for responsive, relevant and timely direct to consumer communications.

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