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Andrea Serventi
14 April 2020
Reading time: 4 min.

Marketing Automation: five common misconceptions

It saves time, it solves marketing teams’ problems, it only applies to the email channel, and so on. Let’s shed some light on the five major clichés about marketing automation.

Marketing automation is still just a notion for many companies. They all want to implement it at some time in the future, but those who actually use it are still quite a rarity.

Accordingto our Statistical Observatory, in 2017 only 9% of companies had at least oneautomatic email or SMS flow in place. Undoubtedly its adoption is slowed bythe lack of clarity regardingthe necessary technology. It’s the usual problem: everyone talks about it, butfew have adequate knowledge of it.

Some time ago we wrote about 5 myths about marketing automation to be debunked. Today we wanted to pick up where we left off, especially now that the topic has even more misconceptions. Let’s look at five common clichés about automation that should be clarified.

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1. Automation saves time

Americanscall it the “set it and forget it” error to underline the fact thatautomation is still all too often seen as a magical tool that lets you configure automatisms and actionsthat will work for you.

Notentirely false, but obviously not entirely true either. Automationobviously automates processes and actions that would otherwiserequire manual operations, but it is still a tool that requires activeresearch, continuous optimization, and refinement.

It’sbetter to consider the advantage from another angle: by seeing to certainoperations, automation freesresources (in terms of time and professionalism) that can concentrateon other aspects, which can be of a creative, strategic, sales, or analysisnature.

Sinceit works with significant amounts of data, automation creates statisticallyrelevant information on what worksand what doesn’t, offering precise indications on the aspects that have thegreatest impact on results.

Automationplatforms continue to refine their analysistools, helping companies orient themselves on where and how to intervene toimprove performance and engagement withcustomers and prospects.

2. Automation solves marketing problems

Apremise: marketing automation is not simply a marketing tool. While it’s truethat the marketing team is the one that most benefits from its use, it should not be forgotten thatthe sales team is also affected by the introduction of automation into acompany.

Oneof the great advantages of marketing automation is its ability to take on tasksthat we could call “routine”, and perform them at a much faster pace than a marketercould do.

Marketingautomation amplifies andempowers what your team is already doing. Let’s take the case of acompany that uses accurate criteria to qualify andsegment potential customers, already having an effective contentmarketing plan for cultivating contact throughout the customer journey. Forthis type of team, automating activities such as segmentation (sending theright content to the right recipient) allows applying a proven and effectiveprocess to a large pool of data.

Onthe other hand, for a team without good foundations in terms of data,qualification and segmentation processes, automation will not magically convertthe contents and campaigns that convey them into effective foundations. In thiscase automation is only a tool that speedsup operations.

The basic automatisms:

› Reactivation campaigns
All you need is to filter by activity to identify the recipients who don’t open messages and engage them with targeted campaigns. Objective: re-establish the relationship and obtain better delivery rates.
› Post-registration campaigns
To trigger the automatic and timely sending of a welcome message to each new subscriber. If you have an e-commerce site you can launch promotions, transactional emails, and abandoned cart recovery messages.
› Post-sales campaigns
Continue communication after the purchase too by sending an automatic thank-you email, suggesting related products, and offering new relevant content.
› Content Marketing Campaigns
If you have a blog, you can create an automatism to automatically send the post you just published to all your contacts. With RSS your newsletters are created by themselves.
› Workflow based on the recipient’s activity
Using simple drag & drop operations, you can set up a flow of automatic sendings based on the activities of the individual recipient (no email opening or clicks, for example).

3. Automation goes beyond incorrect data

Automationis based on data, but this does not mean that it will fill any gaps and shortcomings in adatabase.

Thefirst problem is insufficient data or the lack of a constant flow of new incoming information. To functioneffectively, automation requires a certain volume of data. Overwhelming yourcontact list with weekly triggers is inconceivable. Instead, a constant supply of contacts andinformation is necessary, so as to make the database tend to expand.

Thesecond problem concerns incorrect data. If you import information from othermarketing systems and Business Intelligence software, you also need to take thetime to clean it up. Incorrect data means incorrect campaigns, regardless ofthe software used. It is therefore necessary to always take the time to do somedata cleaning before divinginto automation.

4. Automation only applies to the email channel

Emailmarketing is only one part that automation can manage and optimize. In reality,marketing automation is the combination of many features and parts: CRMlead management, and webanalytics, for example. An essential tool in both B2B and B2C; for example,multi-channel retailers have to deal with a growing number of users that aredifficult to reach through traditional channels. In these cases the combination of different channels withina single automated flow becomes almost a necessary condition

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5. Automation stops with a sale

This must be clearer than ever before: automation activities extend beyond conversion. Indeed, customers who have just purchased something represent a new opportunity for sales, cross-sellingupselling, or repeated sales. Marketing automation is essential in order to continue to engage them, keep the conversation going, and convert them into brand ambassadors who share your content and promote your proposals.

In short, automation lets you nourish the after-sales relationship with as much effectiveness as it does in the lead nurturing phase.

In summary

Theadoption of marketing automation continues to grow. Its potential is simply toogreat to be ignored, because it is capable of combining process automation and the personalization of therelationship between brands and recipients.

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Andrea Serventi

I was born in 1986 in Milan, where I graduated in Modern Literature and started writing for online newspapers, magazines and TV news programs. Having now converted to marketing and the digital world, I am a Content Editor at MailUp: I read, listen, collect ideas, and write about what email marketing is and how to use it strategically.

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