Market sentiments today are not the same, and consumer buying patterns have been severely affected. In such a scenario, having the same business strategies does not hold much relevance. Marketing strategies have to be different for the new normal and post-pandemic environment. Moreover, in the era of Instagram, Facebook and other social media networks, it is important to understand the channel and accordingly communicate with the customers for better sales conversion and ROI.
Today, retailers are using tools and software to automate the processes across digital channels through automated messages, personalised emails, targeted campaigns and marketing efforts. It allows them to increase the accuracy while reducing the process time and helping generate better ROI.
Three C’s of marketing automation: Content, Contextual and Channel
These days, customers choose digital platforms first for buying a product, whether it’s for shopping or comparing, reading reviews or getting more information about it. “Almost 90 per cent of the shopping search starts with digital, and therefore, we need to focus on building the trust and confidence of customers at the initial steps itself,” said Kishore Mardikar, Chief Marketing Officer, Tata Unistore, Tata Cliq.
When a customer visits a brand’s website, it’s important to deliver the right information about the brand and products offered. This helps in building customer confidence in a brand, making them believe that they are visiting an authentic platform. There are two aspects to content offering – first is providing the right kind of product information which makes sure that customers receive products as exactly mentioned in the information. While the second is ‘I want to shop journey’ where customers are looking for reviews, experts views and testimonials which help them in taking the right shopping decision. Managing the content can help brands and retailers build the right brand image, leading to customer repeat visits, in turn making them loyal customers.
Contextual marketing is another important thing for retailers to look up to, as it is also imperative to focus on understanding the sales channel chosen and the targeted audience to contextualise the marketing efforts. Since customers today are looking for a more personalised service, any irrelevant information and campaign would not be able to grab any attention. However, a more targeted and personalised marketing effort would lead to better conversion rate and ROI.
The third C is channel. As customers today are spending more time on internet, online and social media are the most preferable platforms to communicate with them. It’s important for businesses to understand their customer segments and accordingly choose a platform to communicate with them. Also, customers, when approaching brands on these channels through marketing campaigns, are looking for more information to move to the next stage. Therefore, retailers should determine what information consumers need at any stage and the pace at which the information is needed. This would lead to better conversion rates and give more value out of a defined event.
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Role of data analytics in marketing automation
The use of data science can help stay relevant and in real time. Retailers already have access to huge amount of data available to them through various channels and platforms. The data collected needs to be analysed properly and then converted into actionable insights, making meaningful decisions. Data science can study the customer behaviour pattern, help in customer segmentations based on correct assumptions and bring accuracy and speed to marketing automation.
One of the benefits of using data analytics is optimising content distribution and promotion. By studying the online behavioural data on the target audience, social media marketing automation enables to schedule a post to be published at a particular time to create maximum engagement and impact. It can, therefore, help in connecting with customers in the window of opportunity when customers are more receptive.
Secondly, big data can help in understanding individual customers and connect to them in a more personalised way. The personalised emails about the products that customers left in the carts and any special discounts tailored for customers are part of it. Such efforts help in establishing a better relationship with customers, thus, increasing the brand loyalty. Today, it’s very important to communicate in a consistent and relevant way. According to a study by CoSchedule, around 31.6 per cent of people revealed that they unsubscribed from a company email list because of receiving irrelevant content.
The use of big data has become a vital tool for companies to manage the huge amount of data and extract meaningful insights out of them. “If you have the right technology for collecting the data, then you have all the information of what customers are doing step by step… and what you do with that data is important. I think the unification of data is the theme that will emerge very strongly if we are talking about generating traffic and getting an optimal ROI of what you spent on these digital platforms,” said Namrita Mahindro, Chief Digital Officer, Aditya Birla Group.
Another step is having the right kind of technology for automating the marketing efforts. Since the technology evolution is taking place at a fast pace, retailers should not wait for long before adopting a latest technology that is relevant to their business model. Since nobody is clear about what the future of technology will be 18-20 months down the line, companies – instead of jumping on to technologies – should understand the complete bandwidth of the technology and extract as much as possible from it. “You need to rescale yourself even faster, as the technologies are evolving so fast… so you need to see which technologies hold value. You need to have a basic technology as the backbone, but then you need to keep layering and experimenting to understand how these complementary technologies can help with each level of maturity,” commented Namrita.
Marrying human connection and technology
Customer centricity is the most vital for any organisation and retailers. Therefore, in marketing automation, retailers’ major focus should be on conversions from the customers. Even for collecting the data, an interaction is required with brands, therefore it is vital to have certain elements that prompt customers to respond, interact and share the data which is highly significant. Another important thing is personal interaction and communication. At every stage, customers should have that confidence that the backend team of a brand is ready to help them if they need any support in their shopping journey. It is important to allow them to use the front-end of the technology while having a complete background trust and support with the human interaction.
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