Marketing Process Automation. Reads cool, but is it really for me?

To coordinate multichannel campaigns, in collaboration with multitude of vendors or decentralized and dispersed marketing structures, is the biggest challenge for marketing managers these days.

Such is the effect of changes that have occurred in our business in the last decades. In 1971 an average American consumer was exposed to 560 marketing streams daily. In 1997 this number grew to over 3000 daily. Currently, as the experts estimate most of Americans face between 4 000 to 10 000 on-line and off-line ads per day!*

Products’ wrappings, etiquettes, billboards, tv, facebook ads, banners, AdWords, pop-ups on your smartphone, radio, press… The more communication channels to reach your target audience, the more challenges a marketer must face:

  • on the strategic level: all communication must be coherent and precisely aligned with the set strategy
  • on the operational level: all these supporting assets must be created, approved and timely delivered. Last, but not least, we need precise reports on their performance and marketing spend. Preferably in real time.

Right place, right message, right time… right person, right channel and consistency.

A marketer’s mantra „Right Place, Right Message, Right Time” does evolve. Any marketing manager face another challenge these days: how to reach to several un-unified target groups, dozens of communication channels and hundreds or thousands of dispersed communications over all these touchpoints.

What does it take to make integrated marketing communication bundling all tools and channels we use to achieve synergy effect? To go even further – make our communication coherent, make sure respective channels underline the common goal and this integrated strategy boosts effects that have a direct translation into increased revenues.

Does your marketing activity expose your client base to incoherent communication which efface their brand awareness, disorient and dispirit to use or buy the branded service or product? How to make sure that all communication is clear, coherent, timely and addressed via a proper channel? Enough headache? Add one more: they must be aligned with your strategy. Whatever said, we invest in marketing to recover this in increased sales.

You can’t do this manually. Just like that.  It is too much, and the time is flexible only on Dali’s paintings. That is why multichannel marketing management platforms have been devised and that’s why they have been happily adopted by the market. Let aside money savings, they allow for order and measurability in a creative world rules by chaos. Good, if they also combine required functionality, so we do not drown in a plethora of systems.

Communication chaos is the biggest enemy of a marketing manager.

The main barrier for integration of multichannel communication is narrow segmentation and marketing specialization: the market requires different competencies for selected channels (PR, marketing, customer service, digital media), selected specialized agencies and diversified service providers. This all must be done by just one business department: marketing.

Consequently, there are different parameters for campaigns in various media. Furthermore, they lack visual or perception consistency and marketing department lacks a tool to keep that consistency and set proper KPIs for all subcontractors to measure their performance. The effect is a serious dent in consistency of the message which undermines the power and efficiency of our marketing efforts.

The main reason for lack of integrated communication is, in many cases, lack of full and seamless information flow inside the organization or inefficient and delayed process. As an effect deadlines are nearly missed, which causes communication chaos. A million dollars for whomever who never experienced such a crisis situation in their own business.

One downside commonly faced is decreased efficiency of well-prepared strategy, which inevitably affects the whole marketing spend.  Another one is delayed campaign schedule and communication congestion.  

The delays implement abrupt deadlines approaching. A reliable marketer undertakes a heroic fight, usually in panic, to meet the deadlines. Forget keeping the strategy aligned and sheer consistency between communication channels. You must pick up your battles when time is scarce. Our minds become influenced by suggestions that “reach is more important than a brand perception” in social media as an example. This is nothing but bull…t!  as David Ogilvy would say. Everything counts when creating a successful campaign! If we can’t control coherent communication, aligned to brand image and defined strategy, we throw money away instead of investing into brand awareness and increased sales. David Ogilvy would be very right pointing out his fingers at us.

Good, what next?

In order to make things work out well, all our activities –  exchange of information related to our campaigns, coordination of the communication flow and digital assets management – must be physically organized in one place. A place open and available to all process members at any time, from any possible place, providing we had previously invited him/her there and gave appropriate access rights.

There are such places, embedded into marketing process management platforms, designed to enable seamless and coherent strategy in all communication channels we dare to act on. If they are armed with intelligent analytics we can leave the darkroom and leverage efficiency of entire marketing budget.

There’s a plethora of BPM, Analytics and DAM systems on the market. I know companies using 5-6 of them at a time. They all allow for better and easier process management and distribution of marketing materials, aimed at shorter Time-to-Market and redundancy of minor errors. Efficiency and ease of use comes when all those functionalities are implemented within one platform.

What areas of marketing operations can be automated?

  • Repetitive, manual activities, which are marketers’ bread and butter in order to prepare, revise and accept all materials. Work must be done, sure, but why does it take so much time? Time, that could be used more effectively, strategically or creatively if we could automate these cyclical parts of the process. Marketing management platforms can save up to 50% of marketers’ time. In a team of 5, this can be 100 hours per week! Unbelievable? See case studies of companies who have implemented SaaS such as Effiana, Teradata, Percolate or Bynder.
  • Coordination of running communication and the brand scheduled activities. It takes one glimpse of an eye to assess which activities require our attention, approvals or corrections, which are ready to go. One dashboard like a control room in NASA where you have the broad picture of your marketing communications, ordered actions driven by data and full control over your budget. Marketing management platforms shorten Time-to-Market by 50%-75% !
  • Close monitoring of campaigns objectives and brand strategy. A clear analytical and reporting system displays the effects of executed campaigns and juxtaposes against the objectives. This is indispensable when you want to keep tight control and consistency over your brand and business goals, regardless of how many markets or channels you position your brand on. Good marketing management systems allow for 15%-20% savings in your marketing budgets, thanks to full consistency of your activities against your strategy. When you target your prospects precisely with adequate communication you do not burn money and increase the effects of your executed campaigns.
  • Data integration and analytics. Marketing management systems are designed to give access to real time data and automated reports according to any KPIs. Well designed, integrated and comprehensive platforms can increase ROI by 15%-20%!

Time is money

How many times have we heard Time is Money?  Losing time to do things which do not add value to the Client (internal or external) and can easily be automated we’re losing money.

Each and every hour, which can be saved through process automation and better close-up on how we do things, we can convert into more productive things like strategic planning, implementing better campaigns which will have higher ROMI and…team management. What is the corner stone of having marketing in any company? More creative campaigns or more clients and higher revenue? Marketing derives its name from market – not from promotion or advertising, which are just (important) tools in the hand of a crafty marketer.

How about you? Have you ever dared to calculate how much money you have watered pondering if you need such a system?

Get onto and read what others (who have no time to waste money) have done.

*(Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut’ by David Shenk).