Fueled by mindset, society and technology, a new generation of business buyers is forcing companies to re-think how they approach every aspect of their business. There is no disputing, denying or ignoring the fact that understanding who wants to buy from you and providing them with solutions that matter to them is critical to business growth. Marketers across all industries are investing in solutions that help capture, distill and present customer data – and automating how leads are generated, scored, nurtured and converted – from suspect to prospect to customer.
The dominance of data
The transition from analog to digital technology began in the mid-1980s, affecting many industries and businesses – particularly print. With this transition, the dominance of data – and consequently the ethos of marketing – turned a corner.
Once marketers realized that CRMs were home to a treasure trove of customer data – and using it to fuel lead-generating campaigns – the path towards marketing automation was formed. Having these insights to customer and prospect relationships aligned to sales funnels and pipelines enabled marketers to plan, execute, and monitor their email marketing campaigns and get insights into the metrics that would help improve the performance of future campaigns. The battle for CRM dominance was forged
Social media and landing pages provided a goldmine of prospect data, resulting in opportunities to execute highly targeted, highly personalized, and highly customized marketing campaigns. However, the repetitive, time-consuming tasks and manual data entry necessary to execute these campaigns plagued marketers. It was evident that those who were engaging in best marketing automation practices would prevail at attracting new customers.
Marketing + Automation = Game Changer
The more time you spend touching something, whether it’s manual data entry, preparing estimates and proposals, reconciling accounts – or creating email campaigns – the more you eat away at your profits. For print providers to become more efficient, streamline their processes and stop costly mistakes in their tracks before they result in customer experience casualties, automating and optimizing workflows – both production and marketing – is required.
Similar to Print MIS, which connects equipment and processes to automate a print shop’s production workflow, Marketing Automation software automates your digital marketing ecosystem. This permits data to flow seamlessly in and out of any number of platform touchpoints – including website, CRM and social media platforms. It allows companies to conduct more precise, more targeted and personalized campaigns.
Between 2010 and 2014 big players in marketing automation, CRM, and data capture began acquiring smaller firms as a means to become all-in-one marketing automation providers – and tap into a market being largely ignored: small- and medium-sized businesses with lean marketing teams.
In the last five years, marketing automation has grown into a $1.65 billion industry which saw over $5.5 billion worth of acquisitions being made by the likes of Salesforce, IBM, Adobe, and Microsoft – all vying to win the Marketing Automation war.
The magic bullet – Direct Mail
Direct Mail plays an important role in providing the fluid experience expected by today’s generation of print and business buyers. Direct Mail’s response rate is on the rise – averaging a whopping 4.4% compared to email’s rate of 0.12%. Nearly half of people retain direct mail for future reference. Canada Post proved how physical print-mail increased conversions when combined with digital e-mail. Integrating direct mail with digital actually was better at driving consumer action than just using one or the other.
Marketing automation tools mine and house data – like images, videos, audio clips and more – allowing you to provide a highly-personalized and customized marketing campaign and increase the chances of conversion. Print providers need to understand the crucial role of data, and how to capture, store, manage, output, and present it. Managing not just their own data, but also customer’s data, has taken on an entirely new meaning for print professionals, whether you’re trying to attract new business – or grow customer wallet-share. It’s no longer enough to offer print solutions with simple name and address personalization.
Brand opportunities in an omnichannel world
The global marketing automation market size is expected to grow from an estimated value of 3.3 billion dollars in 2019 to 6.4 billion dollars by 2024, at a CAGR of 13.9%. At the same time, the CMO Council forecasts direct mail volume will increase at an average of 4 or 5% annually. Print and marketing services providers who make use of all media for targeting prospects are benefitting from marketing automation to optimize their data and increase open rates, conversion rates – and success rates.
Providing a multi-touchpoint, engaging and relevant omni-channel experience becomes a brand-showcasing opportunity every step of the way – beyond your website – throughout the customer acquisition journey and beyond. It includes all assets, from your website to your invoice – and from your digital campaign to your direct mail campaign. Salutations, naming conventions, logos and taglines all leave an impact on the customer experience – however subtle, positive or negative.
Marketing automation has become integral in delivering a comprehensive omni-channel experience that encompasses digital, social and even print touchpoints throughout the customer journey. With marketing and workflow automation solutions to help you squeeze the most from your bottom line, print providers can reap the spoils of their marketing efforts.
This is an edited version of an article written exclusively for Printing News titled: The Marketing Automation War – and its Impact on the Print Industry
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