In a world of inbound marketing automation, embrace personalisation

7 minutes read
John - 23.03.2017
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Inbound marketing automation has reinvented the way many businesses present themselves to potential leads.

Once upon a time, marketing automation platforms weren't understood or appreciated by the majority of businesses. However, they now represent a multi-billion-pound industry which streamlines the advertising process and takes the dullest tasks away from the hands of sales and marketing managers.


Inbound marketing automation can be a gamechanger for anyone who regularly has to sort through numerous processes to gauge a lead’s conversion potential, especially if there's a large volume of low-quality leads to chase on a daily basis.

Improving lead quality, better identifying prospects, improving conversion rates… Is there anything that inbound marketing automation can’t do? Well, yes. A marketing automation platform can turn the chase for leads and your brand into something a bit souless if you don’t use it correctly.

Artificial win-telligence or bot very good?

Inbound marketing automation is set to explode this year. As widespread acceptance grows, the technology is also becoming able to integrate with other services to offer something only ever seen in Total Recall or Demolition Man. (Or i, ROBOT.)

In fact, inbound marketing automation is merging with artificial intelligence software and virtual reality systems to create truly hands-off marketing solutions that learn about the wants and needs of your consumers to talks to them in ways that mimic real human behaviour. (Or Minority Report.)

Brands are feverishly creating chatbots for platforms including Facebook Messenger, to interact with potential and existing customers whenever they contact a business page. There are already more than 34,000 bots developed for Facebook Messenger, with Burger King’s bots taking orders and the Wall Street Journal’s providing users with updates on their stocks.

This technology will, in theory, make the lead generation process even easier than it’s been in sales history. So easy, in fact, that it could cost sales managers their jobs…

We wouldn’t worry if we were you, though. Chatbots are indeed proving to be very useful, but ultimately people crave creativity and real interaction during the sales and marketing process. No matter how technologically advanced a marketing automation platform may become, the customer service experience needs to be spot-on whether delivered by man or machine.


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Finding the balance between data and personalisation

Just for the record, our marketing automation platform of choice is market-leader HubSpot. Not only is it an automation powerhouse which delivers real results when it comes to attracting better-targeted leads for overall growth. It’s also easy to use, saves time and streamlines marketing processes to offer real value to both our customers and their clients.

We feel these are the most important factors when it comes to using a marketing automation platform. The fast-paced nature of the inbound digital marketing scene has made data collection and segmentation more important than ever on the average sales floor.

At the same time, the information gleaned from marketing automation cannot be sacrificed for creativity and the personal touch that has been the cornerstone of marketing for centuries.

Have bots as part of your automation strategy by all means, but make sure they are placed at the right stage of the customer journey and add value to your services. The experience has to deliver at all times, whether it’s from your social media manager at three in the afternoon or a bot at four in the morning.

A lot of sales managers and marketing teams simply don’t go far enough when they adopt marketing automation which, ultimately, affects the overall quality and conversion rates of leads. We’re talking about generic blanket emails sent to thousands on a list, where the software has done little more than change the name of the recipient.

Automation is a means to an end, and should be a small part of your overall creative marketing strategy when you wish to reach out to a targeted audience.

Personalisation is more than skin-deep marketing

Take Olay, for instance. One of Proctor & Gamble’s flagship skincare brands, they’ve worked hard to incorporate machine learning, bots, AI and automation to the Olay brand in incredibly personal ways.

How do they offer a one-to-one experience through a brand that’s purchased by millions of women each year? By literally getting under their customers’ skin.

Olay Skin Advisor is an app that the company has launched so users can ‘better understand the skin they’re in’. By taking a selfie with the app, and answering questions on the products they use on their skin daily, its algorithm will give people feedback about the age of their skin.

Olay Skin advisor will then provide tips to users on how to make their skin look younger and suggestions about changes to their daily skincare regimen.

Olay says the app has been developed to help people feel more confident about their skin in a time when, “shopping for skincare has never been more overwhelming, as women are faced with thousands of products and promises.” That's according to the company’s principal scientist, Dr. Frauke Neuser.

No doubt the app offers skincare suggestions from Olay’s own range. Olay’s efforts are a wonderful marriage of modern marketing technology, complemented by traditional methods including PR and brand storytelling.

Marketing automation can be your personal(ised) Jesus

ASOS is another company achieving the right balance between techniques including automation and personalisation. Machine learning is literally transforming shopping as we know it.

Data shows that even though 90% of companies say they are performing or want to implement personalisation, less than 20% are actually doing it. It can be difficult for sales managers to get the balance between personalisation and modern digital marketing right, especially when they have other external pressures such as team performance and sales targets to consider.

The benefits can be truly enormous if done right, though, for both the sales floor and the leads you’re targeting.

You can interest leads by sending them personalised content at times most suitable to them through automation; you can keep them updated about industry changes with targeted content; you can begin to interact with them if they show interest by interacting with your content in a certain way and more. All of this data can then be funnelled in the right way to help you interact with the leads most likely to convert.

Sales managers who take the time to invest in an inbound marketing automation strategy that incorporates creative content and social marketing techniques will not only improve the quality and frequency of their leads, but provide a better overall sales service to people interested in hearing what they have to say.

One new method we've started using to inject personalisation into marketing is growth driven design. This new take on traditional web design practices makes it possible to show web visitors content which is personalised to their individual wants and needs. 


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