As we approach 2023, two major marketing trends are emerging in marketing.

  • Marketers will need to do more with less: 2022 has been defined by economic instability. Major industries have already undergone mass layoffs in preparation for the downturn and that’s expected to accelerate in the new year. With smaller staffs, lower budgets and shifting priorities, marketing teams will need to automate manual processes and communications without losing a personal touch with their audiences.
  • Audiences expect more personalization: In a time when companies have less, customers want more. They want marketing communications to feel like they’re coming from a real person, even when it’s not. After years of receiving hyper-specific Netflix recommendations and TikTok content, customers want companies to tailor content and promotions to their individual needs.

To succeed in 2023, marketers need solutions that personalize customer experiences at scale. Enter marketing automation.

Marketing automation is technology that automatically manages marketing processes and campaigns, across multiple channels. Using drip campaigns, marketers can guide customers through a cross-channel customer journey that’s customized to their individual needs, without having to manually decide which person gets which emails/content. In a time of tight budgets, staffs and timelines, it’s a lifesaver.

TLDR: Marketing automation is an absolute must-have for marketers in 2023. In this guide, we’ll go over marketing automation, the biggest benefits of marketing automation, and tell you how to use it to build better campaigns:

The biggest benefits of marketing automation

  • Create customized audience journeys in less time: Drip campaigns are evolving from a glorified series of emails to highly orchestrated, long term omni-channel campaigns: Now, marketers can serve paid ads to people who have opened an email or target them with personalized content on their websites.This might give marketers more opportunities to engage prospects, but it also takes increasingly valuable time and resources. With marketing automation, you can create drip campaigns targeted at different segments of customers, then run it on autopilot for weeks. (Just be sure to check in periodically to ensure there’s not a bottleneck or an underperforming nexus.)
  • Engage and convert website visitors: Through website behavior tracking, you can see how your leads are engaging with your site and adapt your strategy in response. Over time, your website “learns” more about the visitor’s preferences and directs them to pages that will encourage them to make a purchase. Besides generating revenue for the organization, this also improves the user experience and increases the likelihood that they’ll return for another purchase.
  • Personalize customer experiences: We already touched on the increasing demand or customization. While it’s a common misconception that automated emails are robotic, marketing automation can actually result in more personalized outreach. The best automated emails are targeted to specific segments of a customer base, like people who downloaded the latest eBook or attended a related webinar. In that case, marketing automation functions more like a friend telling you what book you should read next.
  • Increase ROI: Done well, marketing automation targets the right people with the right message at the right time, resulting in more conversions and revenue.According to recent studies, marketing automation on average drives up to 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. 80% of marketing automation users saw an increase in the number of leads using marketing automation software, and 77% had an increase of conversions.
  • Improve email performance:  In marketing automation campaigns, people are programmed out of receiving subsequent emails if they haven’t engaged with the first message. These contacts are also suppressed from future use, making it less likely that you’ll annoy or spam them.

How to get started with automation

1. Get to know your customers and your data

You wouldn’t go on a road trip without Google Maps up and running. Don’t embark on marketing automation without data that accurately reflects your current audience and their needs.

Often, the issue isn’t in having enough data. It’s having your customer data in one place, where anyone can access it to inform their campaigns. Siloed data clouds your view of customers — and leads to suboptimal decisions.

One solution is to invest in a customer data platform (CDP). This will pull first-, second- and third-party data from all your customer touchpoints and store it within one database. Ten years ago, your sales team might have been able to track a lead’s progress through the sales funnel, and your marketing team might have been able to see what events they’ve attended. But sales and marketing would need to do a lot of emailing to get a full view of that person’s engagement, and it’d be impossible to achieve this at scale.

With a CDP, every team gets a full profile of customer demographics and behavior — and it’s completely automatic.

Once you’ve got that data, use it to create segments within your audience. Your audience can be split by demographic characteristics (like location or job title), behaviors (downloading an eBook), website activity and more. The idea is to create common interests and paths to purchase, so you can serve each one with more targeted content and promotions.

2. Create different customer journeys for each segment 

You’ve compiled and cleaned your customer data — and you’ve segmented them into groups. Next, create a customer journey for each of these different segments.

Think about how each group will move toward a purchase. What steps will they take? What marketing channels will they use to learn more? What are their top buying priorities? What knowledge do they have about your product and what do they need to learn? Consult with your sales, customer success and dev teams, along with your marketing analytics, to answer these questions and define your customers’ journeys.

3. Create a content strategy that aligns with each stage of the customer journey 

Once you’ve mapped out your customer journey, create content that will resonate with them at each point in the process.

This shouldn’t be aimless brainstorming. Instead, think of “content” as the one thing that will move a customer from one point of the journey to the next. If it resonates, they’ll move forward (book a demo, etc.). If not, they’ll stay where they’re at, or drop out completely. Think about each milestone you want customers to reach on their audience journey (booking a demo, converting, etc.). What resources do people need to reach that next step? Use this to identify knowledge gaps within your audience and inform your content ideas.

If a B2B media professional is close to purchasing, a case study from a similar company will give them the reassurance they need to commit.

If a content marketing manager from a tech company downloads an ebook (and opts into receiving more emails), follow up with a related newsletter. This further educates them on the company and product (and gives them material to evangelize your product to their team/leaders).

Repeat until you’ve accounted for all of your customer segments.

4. Build (and clean) your email list 

Since marketing automation relies heavily on email, confirm your email list is clean, current and segmented before starting any high-priority campaigns.

Evaluate your recent email campaigns against recent benchmarks and course correct as needed. (Not sure where your email metrics stack up? Consult our most recent Email Engagement Report for guidance.) From there, level up your email list with these tips:

How to get more subscribers

  • Create tailored CTAs for each blog post or website page
  • Place embedded forms in high-traffic website areas
  • Prompt users to sign up after a purchase or ebook download (pst: linking to your subscription form in your transactional emails is a low-effort, high-reward way to do this).
  • Target website visitors with exit intent pop-ups
  • Give subscribers the opportunity to opt in and out of different email types
  • Tell readers about the exclusive value you provide

How to reconcile your email lists

PS: None of these tips will be much use if your emails are going to your recipients’ spam folders. Before building a campaign, double check your deliverability number and take quick measures to improve if necessary.

5. Choose a marketing automation solution

With your data, content and email strategy set, you’re ready to start building campaigns in your marketing automation platform. As you evaluate your options, look for providers that do the following:

  • Segmentation. The ability to segment your audience is table stakes for any marketing automation platform. Make sure that you can create custom audience segments that can inform content decisions.
  • Audience activation. Deploy your targeted email to engage your audience on a personal level, through multiple messaging platforms and in places they want to be reached. With Omeda’s Odyssey canvas, you can create a campaign with the touch points and wait times that will work best for your customers.
  • Deliverability insights. Look for a provider that will monitor your deliverability numbers and help you proactively resolve any issues. At Omeda, we compile industry averages on email deliverability and consult with clients on deliverability issues.
  • Comprehensive analytics and reporting. Any marketing automation platform can churn out stats. But the best platforms report on the most predictive metrics that drive success and help you turn data points into actionable insights.
  • Best-In-Class Customer Success. Marketing automation is a complex machine with a lot of moving parts. Look for a provider with a dedicated customer success team, as well as industry-leading knowledge about broader email, marketing automation and data strategy trends.

Marketing automation is the backbone of any modern marketing strategy. And there’s no better time to get started than the New Year. To learn how to engage your audience with marketing automation, reach out to sales@omeda.com now!