Marketing automation is proven to increase the leads generated over time and the eventual conversions from the nurturing program. This in turn, increases the revenue for the business who has implemented the technology.
However, the technology seems to be underused and its potential is not completely tapped into. The case in point being, marketing automation for B2C brands. It is practically stuck in 2006, while the world seems to have moved on pretty quickly!
(To know more about what marketing automation is and why your brand needs it, read here.)
To start with, here’s taking a quick look at the B2C marketing automation examples that are being commonly used:
1. Welcoming programs
Probably the most used use-case of marketing automation in the B2C industry, is pushing out welcome emails to first time customers or the leads generated. These are quick messages that tell the customer how glad the business is to have them onboard, and sometimes is accompanied with a ‘first purchase’ offer to make sure the customer/lead converts.
2. Reminder programs
Another common use of marketing automation, is creating and running reminder programs. These are usually run to make sure that if a customer hasn’t read the previous message, he does so when the reminder is sent across. A common use that we have seen so far is by eCommerce businesses pushing out multiple emails to remind their customers of an ongoing sale’s end date.
3. Reconversion programs
These are used to engage a customer who has already purchased from the business. Be it asking for feedback on the product purchased to stay at the top of their mind or recommending other purchases from the remaining range. Reconversion programs are run to achieve a higher conversions from those who are already interested or have shown interest in the business.
For instance, this from Amazon is asking for feedback on a purchased product..
And this one, is recommending another product based on the customer’s previous purchase..
4. Multi channel programs
A lot of businesses create multi channel programs for marketing their products. For instance, sending out an email, text message, push notification and running simultaneous ads – all to convey the same thing, like a broadcast message. These programs are aimed to tap into all possible platforms that a customer could be using, so that he doesn’t miss the message.
5. Retention programs
Retention programs are usually used by businesses in the hope of bringing back their inactive customers, before they abandon them for good. It is usually comprised of a small message of how they miss him and occasionally complemented with a special offer for the customer. The idea is to keep re-engage him in a manner that he doesn’t go away, finding a competitor.
6. Retargeting programs
This one is commonly used by the eCommerce businesses to recover customers who have abandoned their carts. Usually an email or a notification that reminds them of what they have left behind and why they should come back to complete the purchase. A retargeting program usually introduces a little sense of urgency to grab the customer’s attention and nudge him to convert.
Why do we think that B2C marketing automation is stuck in 2006?
While you might find the above use cases of marketing automation nifty and to-the-point, the truth is, the technology isn’t even being half as used to its potential.
Businesses are practically making use of it in a fashion that covers their ‘general processes’, instead of focusing on creating a better experience for their customers. Here’s taking a look at what most of the above programs (and more) lack till date:
1. Lack of personalization
All the above use cases, focus on touching base with the customer to feed him a message that leads to the business’s goal. This only means, that most of the messages sent across are not contextual in nature and hence, don’t convert as expected.
The correct use of marketing automation is implementing personalization in all the communication you make with customers. Looking into their data like purchase habits, triggers and preferences, can help you create more contextual promotions that are more likely to be converted on.
Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them.
(more statistics here)
For instance, if I have visited a website’s gifting section and left without making a purchase – getting a message in a few days that recommends some popularly purchased gift items is ‘contextual’ and will make me go back to the website again.
2. Lack of dynamic content
Dynamic content is a way of personalizing a customer’s experience beyond his conversion journey. Also known as adaptive or smart content, it refers to a different aspects of a website, advertising, email body, changing as per a customer’s interest or past behaviour. As a post on HubSpot says, it makes your marketing strategy a lot more personalized.
For instance, Wigzo uses machine learning to understand how a customer has engaged with your business previously and also helps in predictive modelling by collating important data points. This helps create dynamic content, that in turn creates an experience that is customised to the ‘t’ for every individual.
3. Lack of omnichannel communication
All digital platforms call for a strategy of their own, but it is also important to maintain a consistency in the way you communicate with your customers. With omni-channel marketing, the focus is on aligning the content and design used by a business, across all digital platforms.
Basically, the customer could be trying to engage with your brand online from a desktop or a mobile device, by telephone or from a physical store, his experience needs to be seamless. And the message or impression of your brand, must remain the same.
4. Lack of engagement
The use of marketing automation in most cases, focuses on either sales or recovering them. But they don’t focus on customer engagement. Most strategies don’t include aspects of creating a possible dialogue with an existing or potential customer.
This lack of engagement and reach-outs only to push their own message, often result in the customer abandoning the brand. The generation of today is not receptive to broadcasted, salesy messages from businesses; they want value and value can come from engagement.
Over to you
In the age of contextual marketing and personalization, it is important for B2C marketers to look into data from a different aspect to enhance the customer’s experience.
It shouldn’t just end at creating customer personas for your brand, but also play a role in defining the customer’s journey to conversion and keeping them engaged thereafter.
With marketing automation, B2C businesses should be able to deliver a one-to-one personalized experience to their customers – making digital interaction easier and looked forward to.
Have you been tapping into the full potential of marketing automation?