Digital Marketing Automation: Not Necessarily a Good Thing If You Don’t Know How to Use It

Time is money. Digital marketing automation helps you save more time previously spent on routine, tedious marketing tasks, allowing you to accomplish more and improve your revenue. Sounds like an ultimate marketing solution, doesn’t it? It is, indeed. But only when you know precisely which of your business processes will benefit from being automated and what software will best facilitate your marketing activities.

The appropriate marketing automation setup is determined by the company’s size, current business goals and initiatives, and the customer journey conducive to achieving the desired objectives. Depending on a business’s digital marketing channels, various automated marketing tactics can be implemented, such as email marketing automation, landing page automation, web form automation, social media automation, etc. The choice of channels is, of course, guided by the goals of the digital marketing campaign, be it lead nurturing, ROI, thought leadership, conversion, or brand awareness. And automation is the tool that enhances these efforts. So, let’s outline the pros and cons of digital marketing automation to understand where things might get tricky.

Fortunately, it is no longer restricted to large corporations. Small and medium-sized enterprises can now also gain access to marketing automation to streamline their marketing routine and interact with customers more efficiently, reaping numerous benefits. Automation’s most practical advantages include lead nurturing and leads’ needs monitoring during the sales lifecycle, allowing teams to save time and increase productivity through tailored workflows and triggers. Digital marketing automation is also used to re-engage existing customers to ensure healthy customer relationships, measure digital marketing performance to facilitate various business processes, and keep the company’s departments in sync.

Improved cost and operational efficiency does not mean that automated marketing can run digital initiatives on its own. Nor does it guarantee that automation will solve any issues, especially when the company’s processes are unclear and disjoint or its teams fail to cooperate adequately. Established and polished workflows are essential for effective automation implementation and preventing the damaging consequences of automation misuse.

While augmentation of operational oversights is evident, a steep learning curve that some digital marketing automation systems may pose due to their customization often skips the company’s attention. It later adds up to the potential frustrations of using automated marketing. Even more so, the evaluation of the automation platform’s ability to integrate the company’s setup, i.e., email solution, web content management tool (WCMS), customer relationship management system (CRM), the current tech stack, etc., also makes it on the list of automation complexities: but in this case, it’s not about a lack of awareness but pains of selecting the right platform, which, however, are necessary for ensuring success.

Of all the likely difficulties businesses may face with digital marketing automation, the most critical issue is messaging fatigue, i.e., bunches of identical or similar messages and emails automatically sent out to prospects. Due to reduced brand personalization, communication “on autopilot” is usually misconstrued as spam and turns off potential customers. Let’s aggravate the issue with a hypothetical error in the message and watch a damaging effect ripple through the digital marketing campaign: seen by thousands of people, the slight inaccuracy is most likely to leave a sour aftertaste from the marketing activity, diminishing its effectiveness and scratching the company’s brand image.

Given its self-regulating nature and reduced human input, digital marketing automation sometimes proves unreliable. It requires careful handling of its “automatic” aspect. Customer relationship management can help fix this issue. A great complementary tool for your marketing funnel, CRM will dilute the overreliance on automation software and bring constructive flexibility to the rigid process by adding a human touch to automated communication.

Although there is some functional overlap between marketing automation and CRM, the latter focuses specifically on customer interaction, securing leads, and sales – the final steps in the buyer journey, i.e., the bottom of the marketing funnel – as opposed to lead nurturing. CRM system enables businesses to capture and store customer data as well as optimize one-on-one interactions between a company and its customers. Coupled with CRM, digital marketing automation becomes more effective as personalized communication amplifies its effect. Does this mean that a business needs separate automation and CRM tools? Maybe. It depends on the marketing funnel. As an agency specializing in digital marketing services, more often than not, we recommend our Kuwait clients synchronize the two to have all prospects’ activities accessible through one solution, which helps track interactions with customers, deal with the issue of unsatisfactory customer service, and create a delightful brand experience.

To emphasize once again, it would be a mistake to think that digital marketing automation is capable of running marketing activities autonomously. As a programmed tool, it can only be used successfully with a smooth operational process in place and clear instructions given to the algorithm. A marketing-focused software, automation does not guarantee sales and outcomes “on autopilot,” as may be assumed. What it does guarantee, if utilized appropriately, is the conversion of raw leads into qualified leads. Lead nurturing is the primary benefit of digital marketing automation. It helps reach audience segments with relevant content and prepare them for the sales team.

Automated marketing, thus, does an excellent job facilitating the journey of leads to the bottom of the funnel, provided the path is clear and well-planned. For example, automation triggers emails based on the prospects’ actions, generates transactional emails for every download, purchase, or signup, maximizes digital marketing efforts through effective outreach and targeting, fosters engagement with the leads, etc. In short, it assists with process scaling and marketing optimization.

While automation provides a prospect with feedback or follows up on previous engagements, there are marketing activities it cannot objectively accommodate, such as data analysis, content creation, social media interactions, and personal correspondence. Attempting to automate any aspect of these tasks is more likely to hurt than benefit your business. Therefore, regardless of the productivity and efficiency it ensures, digital marketing automation is certainly not a good thing when misused or abused by a business.

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