Are You Killing Creativity with Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation allows us to scale mundane tasks–like sending emails–so we can reach a much larger audience more efficiently. This process allows marketers to provide timely responses and distribute relevant content more effectively than ever before.
With all the modern tools available to marketers, one can’t help but ask – is marketing automation killing creativity? The idea behind these systems is that they facilitate sending templated messages on a large scale. Which means marketers run the risk of using generic communications that aren’t personalized and see individual prospects as no more than a number on a list.
If marketing automation tools are not utilized properly, they can kill the creative process and result in mediocre and ineffective marketing campaigns. Businesses that use marketing automation tools need to implement personalized processes to enhance targeting and relevance.
How to Keep Things Creative
Listen to Your Audience
Apart from shaving precious hours off of your daily marketing tasks, automation tools also provide you with much-needed data and key performance metrics. This information is crucial in creating and developing the best strategies that work for your specific industry or niche.
View these tools as a resource and use your data to understand your audience, but don’t forget to listen to what they’re saying. Comments and responses on your social media and blog posts indicate how well your content is performing. Heed suggestions and recommendations from your potential customers, as well as from past and current clients. Use a prospect’s unique information as a reference point in future communications.
Data from marketing automation platforms is just the tip of the iceberg. Remember that behind all of this data are real people who matter.
Automation tools such as email marketing platforms provide templates that you can use to optimize your email design. Some marketers rely heavily on the templates provided.
If you’re pressed for time and need to use these templates, then, by all means, use them. The primary function of these tools is to save time, and time is important to us all.
Having said that, you should always try to tweak templates to match your brand personality and target audience. Most of these templates can be easily edited. Utilize these templates, so you don’t have to invest too much time and effort on structure, but be sure to incorporate your own design and context into every marketing campaign you launch.
Personalize Your Message
According to WP Engine, personalized content performs 42% better than generic content. This is where marketing automation tools come in handy. They provide data you can use to personalize messages and make it easy for you to segment your target audience and buyers.
Personalization is more than just placing the first name of your subscriber in the headline or body of an email. It’s about creating content that specifically addresses your unique buying persona’s issues, problems, and challenges, and providing them solutions for their particular situations.
Supervise Your Marketing Automation
Some marketers leave it all up to their tools to do the work for them. Be the supervisor and boss of your automation tool. Tell your machine what to do, and don’t let it dictate your next action. Think of your automation tool as an employee that you need to micromanage.
Don’t fall into the path of least resistance, but feel free to delegate menial tasks to the tool, so you can focus on coming up with compelling marketing missives. Work hard on creating campaigns that capture the attention, emotion, and interests of your target audience.
Test and Analyze
Some may argue that marketing focuses too much on numbers and metrics instead of the creative force behind a successful marketing campaign. However, by testing and analyzing, you get to quantify and qualify success.
So, test your content to determine which strategies work, and which don’t. Conduct A/B testing and watch the results closely. However, make sure that you don’t get bogged down. Use this data so you can constantly re-invent your strategies and find the one that works the best for your brand.
You want your communications to always be relevant. Don’t fall into the trap of creating messages once and never updating them. Habits change. Interests change. People change. Keep your automation tools updated, so you’re always delivering the “right” message.
Marketing tools don’t think for us – so they shouldn’t hinder creativity. They’re there to provide data from which we can base our strategies. To avoid sounding like robots, most automation tools allow for the use of personalization tokens that alter the content to make it more relevant to particular individuals. Take advantage of this feature and let’s rid the world of emails that start with “Hi there” (cringe).
If I were to leave you with a single piece of advice when it comes to marketing automation, I would say to keep things “human.” Remind your prospects that they’re speaking to a real person. Remove the “noreply” and let people respond directly to you. Also, injecting a bit of personality into your message never hurts, as long as you’re doing it gracefully.
Marketing will always need creative minds because no automation tool can ever replace human ingenuity. Analyze your processes to make sure you’re using automation in ways that help your company instead of hurting it over the long run.