Not too long ago I was twisting the arm of my CMO begging for an email marketing platform to reach one of my largest target audiences. He finally caved in and soon several of my peers and I were sharing a single account to reach some very different groups. To say it was complicated is an understatement! To make things worse, it seemed like we all needed to design and send an email at the exact same time. Eventually, we complained enough that our boss let the contract lapse and we were left with nothing.
OK, so why did I just bum you out? Because there’s a better way! We didn’t know it back in 2009, but an email marketing automation platform would have been a much better solution for the needs of our diverse marketing department. If I could write an email to myself seven years ago, here’s what I’d say:
“You don’t need an email marketing tool. That’s too simple for you guys right now. Think beyond your group. There are three different audience segments the department is marketing to, and within each segment are at least ten sub-segments we need to be targeting with our message. You know your boss will pick the cheapest option because we don’t have a ton of budget, so you may get stuck sharing this with everyone. Pick a platform that allows you to automate your messages in advance so you don’t have to kick someone else off to send an email.”
Yes, marketing automation helps marketers by running on a schedule — that’s why it’s called automation. That may not seem like a big deal now, but trust me, when you’re already focused on 20 other tactics each day, knowing your email marketing is going out to the right audience, with the right message, at the right time is a comforting thought! Plus, it allows marketers to focus more on strategy and less on the tactical stuff that tends to take up too much of our time.
Sure, marketing automation is a great time saver, but what makes it so great? What else can it do? Consider these features the current me can’t live without:
Optimize staffing. OK, so no one likes talking about letting people go, so instead of telling you marketing automation reduces staff costs, let’s think of this as staff optimization. However you prefer to look at it, marketing automation allows one person to set up nurturing campaigns that trigger automatically based on specific criteria. In the past, that was a workflow that may have involved the website manager, a marketing specialist, a graphic designer, and an email marketing director. Now, one person can set the campaigns to run and move on to the next project, which means all those other employees can focus on more important items.
Increase revenue. By automating campaigns to prospects and current customers, you’re likely to experience an increase in customer lifetime value. Remember, engagement builds relationships and relationships build revenue. By reaching the right folks at the right time with a message they engage with, it’s likely you’ll drive more new business leads, up-sells, and renewals.
Accountability. If you’ve ever been in sales or an in-house marketing team, you know these two groups can be like water and oil. They depend on each other (and are also quick to throw the other under the bus). Marketing automation actually helps these two get along. By offering marketing and sales teams insights into processes and reporting, organizations can determine quickly where they need to focus efforts. So if marketing is capturing a ton of leads but they’re not being nurtured, the marketing department knows they are missing the mark and need to improve their lead nurturing campaigns.
More time means more… everything! When you automate your email marketing campaigns you have more time for everything else; which means you and your team will be more effective, excited, and creative. No one wants to do the same thing every day! Marketing automation takes that repetitious nature out of the job so marketers can start new projects that excite them and get creative juices flowing. Which, in the end, makes us better at what we do and helps the company’s bottom line.
When it comes down to it, marketing automation makes marketers more effective at their jobs. It reduces the need for a big staff and holds the team accountable to departmental and organizational processes and goals. What’s not to love?
So the next time you find yourself wondering, “Why do I need email marketing automation?” I hope you’ll remember this post, come back to read it, and perhaps leave a comment or ask a question. I’m happy to help in any way I can because, well, I’ve been there.