Written by Troy Burk, published by Direct Marketing News on May 7, 2014.
Many marketers confuse marketing automation with task automation, where marketers invest in software that enables them to mechanize processes that were once more tedious and time consuming to complete manually. The consequence is that marketers are investing heavily in sophisticated technology to automate tasks like delivering even more email marketing messages to yet even more people, without totally understanding the complete customer experience.
As good as marketing automation technology is, and as popular as it has become among marketers, without an understanding of where a prospect or customer is in his relationship with your brand, you’re only automating marketing tasks—not a marketing strategy.
To strategically use marketing automation, marketers need to focus on the individual or organization and his journey with a brand. Where customers are in their journey or lifecycle dictates how the contact or company is communicated to, by whom, and how often.
Unfortunately, because old marketing thinking asserts that prospects and customers move tidily through a purchase funnel, many marketing automation platforms ignore the fact that leads and contacts aren’t working their way through campaigns in isolation.
The way consumers interact with brands and make purchases has irrevocably changed. New social networks, mobile apps, customer forums, and websites seem to emerge on a weekly basis and this has presented a vexing problem for marketers, who must now find ways to engage customers who are interacting with their brand across dozens of channels. Every customer’s journey with a brand is different, and assuming that a single campaign can dictate how a customer interacts with your brand is shortsighted and dangerous.