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The Untold Truth About Marketing Automation

The explosion of marketing automation platforms and high-powered eCommerce tools has changed the marketing game for good.

Automated marketing funnels and eCommerce operations are a vast improvement over the time- and resource-intensive outbound marketing methods of yesteryear. So it’s no wonder that companies are racing to see which new technologies they can add and optimize in hopes of acquiring new audiences before the competition, while simultaneously lowering operating costs.

But overemphasizing marketing technologies at the expense of human interaction drives customers further from your brand instead of bringing them closer.

Marketers hoping to get a leg up in the customer experience game (and reap the financial benefits of engaged customers) will do so by effectively blending the best aspects of marketing technologies with the personal touch of human interactions.

Before that can happen, they’ll need to come to grips with four essential marketing truths:

1. One size doesn’t fit all
Many businesses have a tendency to try and shoehorn customers into a standardized campaigns flows and marketing program. Communications are “personalized” only to the extent of using a customer’s first name and sending offers based on their previous actions and behaviors, an experience that typically works for the majority of your customers, but not all of them.

Simply put, some customers just don’t want an all-digital experience and prefer to have a live human available to them for help when they have questions. If your business can’t provide a chat or phone engagement at the right time, those customers will find a company that will.

2. Algorithms aren’t empathy
Chatbots and automated response emails are great for providing a direct channel for customers to get information and are excellent resources for handling increasing volumes of low-level customer interactions at minimal expense.

But even the best, most advanced algorithm in the world will still lack the ability to empathize with a customer the way another human can. A chatbot isn’t likely to understand a customer’s frustration or make small talk to build rapport as a human agent will. And for many customers, the only thing as important as getting answers to their questions is feeling like their concerns are being heard. Bots and emails simply don’t suffice, certainly when a customer has some consideration in the purchase they plan to make.

3. Frankenstacks are a pain in the neck
As marketers, it’s natural for us to become enamored of the latest and greatest digital toys. We glue different marketing technologies together, hoping to create the ultimate(!) customer experience. But every new system needs more people to run it and more resources spent training them to learn how. Eventually, you can get bogged down in just trying to manage your existing technologies that adding anything else to the mix will be one thing too many.

This kind of “Frankestack” adds unnecessary complexity to your marketing operations, unwelcome distractions for your team, and diminishing returns to the customer experience that can often make these systems feel like more trouble than they’re worth. Using only technologies essential to your marketing ops and filling in the rest with human resources focused on the customer experience is a more effective–and sustainable–approach for optimizing the brand experience for your site visitors

4. Human engagement is scalable and cost-effective for virtually every business
Many marketers will just assume that if it involves adding a human to the sales and marketing process, it also involves adding costs. But providing human engagement and the authentic 1:1 interactions some customers need can be implemented and scaled, often at no up-front costs to your team, with the right technology partner. And when you can increase online revenue by as much as 20% in one year without having to pay for it up front, it is certainly well worth the effort.

To do this, look for a pay-per-performance solution that integrates easily with your existing marketing infrastructure. It should offer dynamic visitor identification and personalized digital engagement technologies such as live chat and phone support based on a customer’s individual needs. And, most importantly, make sure it gives you real-time, detailed program reporting for complete revenue transparency so you can track ROI and deliver more value to your business.

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