Marketing automation systems make business go around, but can also be a burden. Whether they help us to increase turnover or generate unexpected costs depends, among other things, on the quality of implementation of such tools. It’s really easy to make a mistake during implementation as there are things that marketing automation vendors are reluctant to inform about.
Marketing automation systems are must-have for many companies in competitive industries. They provide indispensable support in marketing activities and communication with customers. Such tools are used, for instance, to:
There are many marketing automation (MA) solutions, which cuts both ways. The positive aspect of this is that these types of systems help us perform operations that cannot be done manually. On the other hand, it is hard to choose specific software and use it effectively because there are many nuances that are sometimes difficult to grasp. Some of them are worth discussing in more detail. That is why we will devote more attention to them in separate texts on marketing automation. This time we focus on two issues.
The reason we discuss them is that they are rarely referred to by marketing automation service providers. Both are strategic in nature. They concern the company's independence from external MA tool suppliers. Let's start with data control – how easy it can be lost.
Let's assume that you have a dedicated application that collects information from several sources, e.g. physical stores, online stores and GPS in smartphones. As part of your business development, you decide to integrate it with the MA system. For the tool to effectively support your application, it must use the same data that your "soft" has access to. So, you connect it to the same sources – right? If so, that's bad. It is definitely better to connect the MA system to one source – your application, which in this case is used as a proxy. It should be equipped with a universal API that allows you to manage the flow of information and its transfer to an external service provider. With such a solution, your system is the analytical data hub and gives you full control over its sharing and processing for marketing purposes. Thanks to this you are independent from the MA system provider and you can change it relatively easily.
Why is this so important? Well, MA system providers, like those of other services provided in the SaaS model, don’t operate on a non-profit basis. When they calculate that it pays off for them to change their service conditions (e.g. increase prices by 100 percent), it may turn out that it doesn't pay off for you to use their services under the new conditions. If the MA system, which supports your application, processes important data for your business without your intermediation, you find yourself in an embarrassing situation. Abandoning the current solution in favour of an alternative one may result in a loss of access to valuable resources. Unless you access the data and control the way it is processed.
Let’s now consider another situation, also related to the efficiency of MA system implementation and reducing dependence on an external service provider. Let's assume that you manage an application for selling tickets for concerts and other types of events. It also has a number of additional functions. For example, it informs users about events that may be of interest to them and at the same time encourages them buy a ticket. This type of feature, which uses user preference data, can be programmed in the marketing automation tool. The tool will then perform a push strategy and send notifications to users about available offers.
However, your application is not only focused on selling as many tickets as possible. After all, you care about the highest possible customer satisfaction. You strive to convince them that your system can take great care of their needs and is reliable. Therefore, the application also sends them other types of information, e.g. text messages reminding the users two hours before the concert that they should have the ticket at hand. And now the sixty-four thousand dollar question: where should such messages come from? We’re not going to hold out on you, the answer is: directly from your application.
The difference between these two cases of communication is subtle, but these are the nuances we were supposed to talk about. Basically, it consists in separating the key functions of the application from those that form the "background". If you don't find ticket reminders pivotal enough, you can replace them with password reminder and reset or transaction authorisation functions in this case. Generally speaking, it is about tasks related to the operational efficiency of the system. They shouldn't simply be coded in the marketing automation software, but in the application you have control over.
MA systems aren’t a solid foundation for building marketing communication. Sometimes they fail. And sometimes they are subject to changes in tariff plans. In both cases, it may happen that the MA system stops supporting your application. You are on your own. This is a realistic scenario, which is worth considering in advance in order to maintain basic user satisfaction, continuity of marketing communication in its most important aspects, and functionality of your application. With the help of MA tools you can implement marketing scenarios, which are subject to frequent changes and continuous optimisation. In any case, however, it is worth remembering that critical functions should be under your system's control.
If you are looking for a partner who will carry out your marketing automation project and recommend the best solution for your safety – let’s talk!