What is Marketing Automation?

What is Marekting Automation

Remember the olden days when the woman behind the corner shop counter knew everything?

She could tell you – whether you wanted to hear it or not – all the gossip from the nearby houses. From the ‘scandalous’ behaviour going on behind those curtains at No 30, to whoever had had a secret win on the Pools, she knew it all. She even knew every part of everyone’s lifestyle to the point where she would have your goods sorted, wrapped, bagged up and ready before you barely got through the shop doorway. And even then, she’d manage to squeeze those last few coins out of you by promoting the latest biscuits, sweets or freshly-baked cakes.

In many ways this woman, and the thousands of shopkeepers like her, were the finest examples of marketing automation of their time. Through getting to know their customers they anticipated their needs and ordered stock to meet what they believed demand would be. They ran successful enterprises. They knew straight away if a new product would take off or whether it would bomb.

It may not have had such a fancy title as marketing automation then, but technically that’s what it was. These were shopkeepers who knew their customers well and provided that all-important personal touch which in turn earned loyalty from their customers. And these customers would come back time and time again.

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Sadly (except for those being gossiped about at No 30) time moved on and the likes of the corner shop all but disappeared as the big-name supermarkets took over their trade.

Now shoppers were greeted with anonymity until the supermarkets themselves realised they needed to know more about their customers and launched all sorts of ways to build up a profile of everyone who shopped there. The more information they knew about their shoppers, the more they would work on keeping them loyal. This would mean more potential sales and, more importantly, a rise in their profits. One of the main instruments they used was loyalty cards which enabled them to find out where people lived, how often they shopped and what items they bought.

You see data had become valuable – in many ways it was a new kind of currency.

And then a digital revolution occurred – people started shopping in a totally different way. Many things were bought and paid for online and delivered to your door.

But despite knowing what people were buying, online retailers need to know even more about their customers so they could maximise their profits and through multi-channel research, including social networking sites, they built up an even more detailed picture of their clients. This way they could nurture them, send them subtle suggestions of what they might like on say Facebook for example, encouraging them to ‘like’ their sites and even ‘inviting’ them to ‘invite’ their virtual friends to ‘like’ the sites.

Take Amazon. It’s the finest example to date of marketing automation. It doesn’t just send out emails directly to its customers, it finds out everything about them via multi-channels and advertises its wares via multi-channel, often low-key advertising.

That gossipy shopkeeper of old may have been ahead of her time when it came to marketing automation – though she wouldn’t have been able to remember everyone’s details on a scale as large as Amazon’s customer base, but she might have kept her mouth shut if she’d known just how much the data she spouted so freely could have been worth.

Want to Learn More?
Click Here to Get the 5 Steps To Creating a Successful Email Marketing System to Generate Consistent Leads and Sales.

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