Just imagine… you go away on holiday for a fortnight, head back into the office on Monday morning and find your stats have gone through the roof.
More leads, sales enquiries being effectively dealt with, revenue up; time to book another holiday!
Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? That’s the dream that’s being sold to people with marketing automation software, a market that’s set to boom during 2015.
Marketing automation has been around for years and already has a lot of adopters, but you’ll be hearing a lot more about it this year especially with companies like HubSpot launching advanced CRM software and other competitors such as Marketo and Eloqua following suit.
A Gleanster survey claims that 84 per cent of B2B top performers are looking to invest in marketing automation. That’s a huge number, but marketing automation can be a hugely complex beast that demands a lot of time and resources.
And some of the buzz is that content marketing will suffer as a result next year.
Do you use marketing automation for your business? What challenges have you faced and how well has it worked for you? Let me know in the comments section below.
Marketing automation for the uninitiated can be incredibly complicated. The clue’s in the name; creating systems using software to streamline processes within a business to save time, speed things up, and more.
But setting up isn’t a one-click process – certainly not at the moment, anyway, and can take a lot of time and technical know-how to set up. Training packages are available for novices while consultants can help, but these can be large costs to add to an already pricey service.
The technology’s not absolute, either. There are no guarantees it’ll work for you, and whatever system you use you’ll need to keep your eye on it to account for changes in market conditions and how your consumers use your business.
Which is one of my biggest gripes with automation. It can be a very effective solution for larger businesses and smaller businesses looking to take the next step up, but it can require a HUGE effort to see real results. Even worse you may lose a lot of brand personalisation without meaning to.
Humans Vs. Robots?
People are wonderful, brilliant things; especially if they become loyal customers!
Personalisation’s one of my watchwords for 2015, and though it’s impossible to provide the perfect experience for everybody on the planet, you can create an amazing experience for a lot of people with a creative strategy that focuses on your market.
Were you to automate your social media campaign, though, would it be any better than dealing with a robot? If you optimise your system to tweet, for instance, when certain words and phrases are uttered and leave it to do its job can you really say that you’re maximising your social efforts?
If people tweet you or email you with a complaint and the automated response does nothing to allay their fears, and instead tries to sell them something, then don’t underestimate how quickly it will tick them off and convince them to shop elsewhere.
That’s why content marketing is perceived to be under threat from automation. It’s one of the most creative methods of modern marketing available and needs a lot of human input at all times, especially when it comes to sharing with people and encouraging them to read more.
I hope it doesn’t look like I’m denouncing marketing automation, far from it. But the human element is so important when it comes to online marketing, and there’s little more personalised than a solid piece of content that inspires and fascinates.
How big a deal is content marketing to your overall efforts? How broadly are you using it to capture data and provide a voice for your brand? Let me know below!
Avoiding content overload
“This upward trend of consumption is not sustainable because every human has a physiological, inviolable limit to the amount of content they can consume.”
They’re the words of social expert Mark Schafer in this blog post, which has been widely credited with being one of the first to predict choppy waters for content marketing.
It’s easy to see why people would think that, and I agree with some of Mark’s points. But I point to huge amounts of low-quality content being lifted from sites like Reddit which overenthusiastic brands are claiming for their own on social media for people having their fill.
One of the main offenders is The Lad Bible, which is actually based near us in Manchester and has over 17 million social followers. A huge amount of its content, though, is lifted from the first few pages of Reddit on a daily basis; something which a lot of other companies and media outlets have taken to doing.
And that’s how not to do content marketing in the long-term. It can help if relevant in drips and drabs, but it’s a very short-term way of operating, and part of the reason why people are switching off, due to sheer overload on their social channels.
Content marketing is a slow burn, and has been used to great effect by the likes of Vice which has recently seen investment from media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Why? Because what started as a blog in Canada has produced incredible content the right way for a number of years to build a strong fan-base.
You may not want to take your content in that direction but if you’re using it to capture data, generate leads, and keep your customers interested then originality is key.
Content campaigns can’t afford to be as automotive as finding something funny on other sites and perpetually passing it off as your own. They might get a quick giggle, but you won’t be laughing when people stop taking you seriously.
If you’d like to learn more about content marketing and how to personalise your brand online for lead generation contact the Webpresence team today!