Over the last decade, automation has integrated itself into the average modern marketing strategy.  However, many still have doubts surrounding the reliability and capability of this digital advancement.  It can be difficult to believe that a machine or technological solution can perform tasks as well as (if not better than) a human; many feel threatened by this concept and fear how it will escalate in the future.  However, this technology has the power to revolutionize marketing processes through advanced personalization on a broad scale – something we as “just human” could never hope to achieve.  With automation, your business could secure record-breaking results.

What automation means to business

Automation outlines the process of making tasks automatic, whereby human intervention is not required to take action.  This technology is a form of artificial intelligence, first introduced to the business world in the mid-2000s and has risen in popularity and capability ever since.  In its infancy, automation enabled easy email marketing, helping organizations send a large number of emails without the need to manually create and send them individually.  From here, the technology has expanded to benefit a wide array of business services, specifically focusing on data management and communication.

As automation technology has advanced, automation now enables detailed digital marketing personalization.  Before this advancement, teams had to manually enter prospect data into individual communications to achieve a personalized effect.  With automation, however, data can be transcribed from a spreadsheet and used to populate a number of messages without any human interaction.

There are different levels of automated personalization, from email and social media messaging to advanced website personalization displaying dynamically relevant content.  86% of B2B decision makers refuse to interact with communications that do not use their name, and three in four buyers expect websites to deliver online customizations.  Marketing personalization is now essential to securing the results your business needs for growth, and to conduct this approach, you need automation.

The power of automated personalization

So, why is automation so essential to a successful personalized marketing approach?  Whilst we can achieve a customized strategy without using automotive software, the benefits of embracing automation are many.  As technology advances, what was once impossible is now part of our everyday processes; automation has revolutionized B2B marketing and unlocked a whole new world of personalization possibility.

  • Do more with less: It’s true, personalization can be achieved without automation.  However, it remains simply impossible for a human to produce the volume of impactfully personalized communications in the fast time an automation software can.  A marketing automation platform can take 100,000 data sets and customize an email or social media message to each one in seconds; no matter how talented your team is – they can’t do that!  This ultimately helps you do more, with less.  Organizations with smaller marketing teams can still conduct elite marketing communications without needing to increase their headcount.  Your business can run regular, targeted campaigns without requiring an enormous budget.  Automation gives marketers the power to achieve exceptional results in a short time-frame.
  • Segmented data for advanced customization: There are many levels of personalization, and automation can enable them all.  From simply adding the recipient’s name to the start of a message to fuelling website copy with references to specific prospect needs and pain points, automation can revolutionize your marketing through advanced data segmentation.  This technology can segment data into specific groups relevant to your targeting approaches, such as industry, pipeline position or business size.  This enables you to deepen your marketing personalization, offering prospects an elite and individual brand experience at every touch-point.  Many believe data is power, and marketing automation can maximize the data you hold to secure powerful business success.
  • Multi-channel possibilities: Whilst automation was originally founded to boost email marketing strategies, a modern automation approach can benefit a wide variety of channels.  Automated personalization can add impactful tweaks to email and social media communications whilst deeply and intricately customizing content, websites, even videos!  Automation can also enable effective workflows, whereby your business designs a specific buyer journey weaving through multiple channels to capture and nurture leads.  These workflows are usually triggered by behavior; if an interested prospect downloads one of your content assets, your automation solution instantly sends a highly customized follow-up email to promote additional collateral and relevant products.  These workflows embrace a variety of channel communications, keeping your brand at the forefront of buyers’ minds without needing to maintain consistent pipeline communication.

Automation limitations

No process is perfect, and even technology as progressive as automation has its limitations.  These restrictions shouldn’t disregard automation as an essentially beneficial marketing service – the quick rate of AI advancement will soon ensure solutions continue to achieve what is currently deemed impossible!  However, it’s important to understand why human intervention is still required to secure automation success and avoid possible hindrances.

  • Online focus: Your personalization approach may wish to include offline channels such as direct mail, especially if you’re conducting a detailed ABM strategy.  Automation is (currently) a strictly online approach to personalization and whilst advanced in channels such as email, content and social media, offers no benefits to offline communications.  This limitation may not be relevant to your business, should you only use online channels to conduct B2B marketing.  Whilst you may run the occasional offline campaign, 94% of B2B buyer journeys start online, and 86% of decision-makers identify email as their preferred medium of communication.  We live our lives with a digital focus, and automation continually supports your buyers’ preference for online engagement.
  • The possibility of error: No matter the approach you take to conducting detailed personalization, you’ll always be subject to the possibility of error.  The danger incurred from an automated perspective lies in the visibility of this possible error.  Once a workflow or campaign has been established and lists of data applied, automation does the rest for you.  This sounds highly efficient, but should there be an error in your email copy, or should your spreadsheets feature mislabelled columns, your entire campaign is at risk of failure.  To conduct advanced personalization through automation, you need to be 100% sure you’ve checked for possible errors and rectified any mistakes.  Without this last-minute intervention, you could risk sending thousands of incorrect communications.
  • A lack of personality: Personalization is important, but so is personality.  An email addressing prospects by name, that also references their current business pain points, makes a strong first impression.  However, if this communication offers no individuality and lacks a unique selling point, no-one will remember who sent it.  Your brand still needs to stand out, and as B2B decision makers become aware of automation strategies, they can start to detect this activity in your communications.  Strike a balance between automated personalization and brand individuality; you want each prospect to feel special, but you also want them to convert!

This approach may bear a variety of benefits and challenges, but marketing personalization fuelled by automation continually proves its worth. From boosting sales activity by 15% to increasing lead generation by 80%, marketing automation may seem too futuristic for some, but the results speak for themselves.  Automation additionally fuels other emerging marketing advancements such as website personalization, aided by software solutions like Webeo.  We help B2B organizations deliver a highly targeted website experience, dynamically changing to instantly meet the needs and preferences of valuable website visitors