Systems with the help of which marketing is largely automated are now as natural in most large companies as the espresso machine in the in-house cafeteria. Large parts of customer communication, ordering processes in online trading and campaign control are handled by it and ideally ensure that everything runs smoothly. The customer doesn’t even notice this anymore. For him it is a matter of course to be informed about the current status of his order or about new products that might interest him. He is no longer used to it any other way. Every second larger company works with marketing automation tools. The systems differ, but they all have one goal: They should help to address customers with relevant messages through a wide variety of channels. The right data is crucial for this. Often there is a lack of that.
“In e-commerce, Amazon is seen as the measure of all things and everything is completely automated,” explains Sophie Schneider, Marketing Manager at Agnitas.
“The awareness of the need for marketing automation tools has definitely increased in recent years,” emphasizes Lucas Calmbach, partner at the consulting firm KPS AG. However, there is no precise information on how widespread the systems actually are. In surveys that mainly include large companies, the numbers fluctuate between 49 and 75 percent .
“In e-commerce, Amazon is seen as the measure of all things and everything is completely automated.” – Sophie Schneider
This is mainly due to the difficult delimitation of the individual offers and the different definitions that are circulating on the market. There are tools like those from Artegic that come from email marketing and focus on automated dialogue campaigns. There are offers like those from Hubspot, which are geared towards lead generation, and one-size-fits-all solutions like those from Salesforce. And there are one-trick ponies that only target individual cases, like reactivating cart abandoners.
Often the data has to be laboriously gathered
“Marketing automation has developed into a fairly broad term with different definition approaches in recent years,” confirms Florian von Bracht, Senior Pre-Sales Consultant at Apteco. “A distinction should be made here between the simple automation of previously purely operational processes – such as the management of e-mails – and the automatic enrichment of these processes with intelligent insights.”
Only in this case can all channels actually be used and the individual preferences and needs of the customer taken into account. The Marketing Automation Tool is the central point of contact for marketers in the company, the CMO’s cockpit.
The fuel for these systems is the data. “Ideally, the data of all customers – for example customer master data and customer behavior data – is collected centrally from all departments,” says Lucas Calmbach, partner at the consulting firm KPS AG. However, the reality is often different and leads to the first moments of shock when it is introduced. Because the data has to be laboriously gathered and often does not have the required quality. “The larger the company, the more distributed the relevant data is in different departments and systems or cloud environments,” reports von Bracht. “In addition, there is often the fact that processes in different departments are not coordinated with one another.” Another problem is the uncertainty with the handling of the data.
The selection of the right system is at least as important as the database. The tool should be able to be integrated seamlessly into the existing system landscape, which is no easy task, especially for online shops. Because there is already a complex structure there. The providers use a variety of systems, including the shop system itself, a recommendation engine and a CRM system. In addition, the system should be able to implement use cases that are customary in the industry, such as following up on abandoned shopping carts, reactivation campaigns or automated cross and upsell suggestions. And thirdly, the automation tools should be able to implement communication measures for the ongoing transaction. “Order and shipping confirmations are often seen as ugly, even with large providers. Non-customizable text mails sent from the shop backend or the merchandise management system, ”says Sebastian Pieper. “Transactional emails are highly relevant for end customers and companies should use them much more for marketing and service purposes, including as triggers for marketing automation campaigns.”
Push messages and post mailings can be interesting for shops.
Mailings and messenger services are set up to inform the customer about the current status of the transaction. It gets more complicated with reactivation campaigns or addressing existing customers. “In addition to the classic e-mail channel, web push messages or classic post mailings can be of particular interest for shops,” says Sophie Schneider. “Postal mailings are particularly good for customer loyalty, for example to send out a birthday voucher. Since not so much is sent by letter in the meantime, the value here has risen. ”Deutsche Post has its product “Triggerdialog” Now integrated into numerous marketing automation systems. This means that print mailings can be integrated into existing campaigns at useful points. This can be a personally formulated card to existing customers to draw their attention to a special offer. Or a card to a shopping cart abandoner that reminds him of his past but incomplete online purchase with a few personal words and a suitable image.
Consistency across all customer contact points is crucial for a consistent brand experience, emphasizes Bernd Wagner, Senior Area Vice President Germany and Austria at Salesforce. That is why all touchpoints must be connected via one system. Every single contact must be able to trigger a relevant, personalized approach immediately. A high standard for which the right data is crucial. “To be successful, companies not only have to address their customers on all channels, but also individually,” emphasizes Wagner. “And that only works if I know my customers well.” Or, to put it another way: The potential of marketing automation can only be fully exploited with the right database.