5 Ways to Use Marketing Automation to Improve Team Efficiencies
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As published in Authority Magazine.
“Custom database for companies: to centralise campaigns enabling cross-team collaboration and innovation, reducing communication hours and improving data consistency. AI can be used to automate delivery of omni-channel campaigns and allow for visibility into insights across all marketing campaigns.”
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In the current era of rapid technological advancements, marketing automation has become a fundamental asset to any business. It has the potential to not only streamline operations, but also to significantly boost team efficiencies. As we explore its various applications, we would like to highlight how it can transform day-to-day tasks, foster innovation, and ultimately enhance performance. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Pam K..
Pam K. is the Chief Solutionist and Founder of Siliceous Solutions, a leading digital solutions agency providing a suite of B2B high-converting services. A consultant, strategic coach and author with two decades of entrepreneurial experience, Pam specialises in complex marketing and workflow automation with two goals in mind — to reduce business chaos while maximising return on investment. Her clients love her for her honesty, integrity and a real desire to want to see her clients thrive.
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Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your personal backstory with us?
A perfectionist is someone who strives for perfection. Nothing is ever “perfect” though. I lived the first half of my life with someone who was, unknowingly, a perfectionist — my Mum. Looking back, it is uncanny how we could have been so considering the modest standard of living we were accustomed to.
It was this sense of perfectionism that permeated through everything I did from a very young age. From the little things like finding not just the shortest route to anywhere but the most time and energy efficient one, to doing daily chores in the most thoughtful way possible to achieve the best possible outcomes.
It was also this innate sense of perfectionism that made me a curious learner. For me, learning was (and still is) the only way to keep up with newer and better ways of doing things while (unknowingly) striving for “perfection”.
Growing up somewhere where there was an emphasis on technological advancement 30 years ago, I was exposed to gadgets and computers in my early years at secondary school. I vividly recall my first experience with a desktop computer running MS-DOS and playing Pacman. This was the year TIME magazine announced “Machine of the Year” instead of “Man of the Year”. Three years later, I built my first website — a personal blog in HTML — and purchased my first gadgets — a pager and a Nokia mobile phone.
Although I went on to study tertiary science and built a clinical practice up from scratch at the ripe age of 27, my love for technology and running everything as efficiently as I could never left me. I designed and built the practice’s website on WordPress with what was then a ground-breaking Woocommerce store selling physical therapy products to the world. The practice was equipped with a state of the art Dell server and networked computers in every treatment room running the most advanced clinical practice software available on the market at the time — taking us paperless.
Fast-forward to 2020, changes in the global environment made it necessary for me to cease travelling internationally for work and I focused my attention on remote work. This was when my love for technology manifested itself in the development of my digital solutions agency, Siliceous Solutions — “when it absolutely, positively has to be done right the first time”. While providing a suite of services to businesses, experience has shown me that my analytically strategic mind lends itself to complex automation at its best.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I feel lucky to have met my mentor and best friend, David, 20 years ago during my postgrad days. He has been my confidante, support and shoulder to cry on at the lowest times, and a cheerleader at my highest.
Not having had a supportive male figure in the first half of my life, David more than made up for that. His generosity in sharing lessons learnt from his experiences in life and business as an ex-chairman of a state bank and taxation lawyer has broadened my world view of what is possible — of what I/we/anyone can achieve — and that anything is possible.
Can you share with us three strengths, skills, or characteristics that helped you to reach this place in your career? How can others actively build these areas within themselves?
Being able to embrace technology is a characteristic I’ve manifested from a very young age. When almost everything shifted online in 2020 and the ability to delve into new technologies became somewhat of a deciding factor for survival, this characteristic shone through. As much as I found it challenging to transition from being constantly on my feet communicating with people on a day to day basis to working remotely from home, it was this characteristic which allowed me to propel my career in this industry.
A strength that has empowered me with the knowledge that I now have in digital solutions is my ability to absorb new concepts and to learn how to use new tools with ease. Most times when a new software or SaaS tool presents itself, it has taken very little time on tinkering with it and reading documentation to gain enough of an understanding as to how to apply it successfully to a particular scenario or workflow.
Last but definitely not least, being able to see the bigger picture is something I didn’t realise I was good at until much later in life. This trait has been very helpful when analysing complex scenarios and workflows, allowing me to visualise the end result and to strategically work backwards to get to it. Automation aside, I have also beneficially applied this to business relationships and other situations.
Which skills are you still trying to grow now?
I am continually striving to enhance my marketing automation skills to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape. Some skills I am actively working on are:
- Advanced Analytics: I’m focused on delving deeper into data analytics, particularly in understanding and using predictive analytics and machine learning to extract actionable insights from complex datasets.
- Personalisation Strategies: I’m continuing to work on mastering advanced personalisation techniques in automated campaigns which create more relevant and individualised customer experiences.
- Marketing Technology Proficiency: As marketing technology continues to evolve, I’ve been keeping up with the latest tools and platforms (especially to do with AI).
- Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO): I’ve been learning methods to increase the effectiveness of AI-automated campaigns and maximise ROI by improving my knowledge of AI-related CRO.
- Compliance and Privacy: With evolving data protection regulations, I’m working on enhancing my understanding of compliance and privacy best practices to ensure the ethical and lawful use of customer data, especially in relation to AI.
Let’s talk about marketing automation. What impact has marketing automation had on streamlining and enhancing your team’s operations, KPIs, and overall efficiency?
Businesses are always on the lookout for new ways to maximise their profit margins, whether it’s by way of improving productivity and efficiency, or reducing overheads.
Siliceous Solutions is no different in that sense with one additional aim. Our focus when it comes to automating anything is in delivering the best customer experience while achieving all of the above. When considering and before implementing any marketing automation, our first priority is always to ensure that our clients experience the same, if not better, level of service than they would have without.
By automating almost every process from lead generation to customer acquisition and support, we have eliminated all repetitive manual tasks, freeing up time for the important stuff. This requires a deep understanding of the customer journey and using the automation tools that are at our disposal to create a seamless customer experience while improving overall business efficiency.
A further step we have taken with automating our processes is enabling it in real-time. This ensures data integrity and consistency throughout our campaigns.
What’s your favorite marketing automation tool and the way in which to use it?
A well-rounded marketing automation setup should include:
- the management of customer relationships (CRM),
- the ability to use the data generated by the CRM and from other platforms for detailed analysis,
- a feature for audience segmentation, and
- the automation of a response, preliminary decision or outcome.
While existing marketing automation platforms offer various features encompassing lead capture and nurture, email marketing and basic analytics, there isn’t presently a marketing automation tool available that centralises and unifies customer data from various sources, i.e. one that actions all of the above-mentioned points effectively. Our tech stack presently consists of a suite of tools to achieve our end goals of decision-making and action, whether that is automatic or manual.
Ensuring a personalized customer experience is crucial in today’s marketing landscape. How do you balance automation while maintaining a human touch?
It begins with a thorough understanding of the customer journey. This will be different for every business. Within a particular business, a customer could experience different journeys. Where and how automation is used along customer touch-points is key to ensuring a personalised customer experience.
People often associate personalisation with something to the effect of inserting a customer’s name in an email. The reality is that this alone is far less than sufficient. Oft-neglected are timeliness and relevance of marketing automation triggers or actions, which play the most crucial roles in delivering true personalisation. It is these key points that when done well and implemented effectively, tells your customers that you have thought of and care about how they experience your product or service.
When data-driven insights are used to create well-timed and relevant communications, there lies a tremendous opportunity for transforming marketing efforts by way of naturally driven conversions, and to increase brand loyalty by way of enhanced engagement, delivering up to 6x higher transaction rates.
Data is also a cornerstone of effective marketing automation. How do you utilize data-driven insights to continuously refine and optimize your automated campaigns?
When done correctly, businesses employing data-driven marketing automation can unlock the capacity for explosive growth. By employing a multi-step approach, data-driven insights are indispensable for refining and optimising automated marketing campaigns. The leveraging of cutting edge automation tools which gather and analyse data in real-time can instantaneously adapt marketing campaigns based on audience preferences and behaviour.
To effectively harness the power of data in order to craft highly personalised marketing campaigns and customer journeys, the following steps are essential.
- Comprehensive Data Collection: include tracking of user interactions and behaviours across various touch-points including websites, emails and voice of customer data, i.e. all feedback gathered from customers, such as from social media comments, reviews and surveys.
- Defining Marketing Objectives: write specific and measurable per campaign goals to guide marketing strategy, whether it’s generating leads, increasing brand awareness or boosting sales.
- Segmentation: categorise audiences based on demographics, behaviour and preferences, allowing for highly targeted messaging to boost engagement and the likelihood of conversions.
- A/B Testing: create multiple variations of content, subject lines and call-to-actions to assess which elements perform best and adjust campaigns accordingly.
- Performance Analysis: ongoing analysis of campaign performance metrics such as open, click-through and conversion rates to identify areas for improvement.
- Data-Backed Decision-Making and Optimisation: analyse trends and patterns from the collected data, and in combination with marketing performance reports, make informed decisions and adjust marketing strategy where necessary.
- Continuous Iteration: data insights, past decisions and the best marketing strategies guide ongoing campaign refinement, enabling agile responses to evolving customer preferences.
- Predictive Analytics: employ predictive analytics helps forecast future trends and behaviour, allowing for proactive campaign adjustments.
As AI and machine learning become more prominent, how have you integrated these technologies to not only automate tasks but also to provide predictive insights?
According to certain indexes, over 80% of marketers surveyed say AI has already had a positive impact on their work by offloading time-consuming tasks and freeing up time for strategy building. What we are seeing now is a trend that goes beyond data observability to AI-powered insights and optimisation, presenting a transformative opportunity for businesses.
Some of the ways in which we have integrated and plan to integrate AI and machine learning in marketing automation flows include:
- Data Collection and Analysis: by collecting and aggregating data from various sources which AI and machine learning algorithms can then analyse to uncover patterns, trends and correlations that might be hidden from traditional analysis.
- Predictive Modelling: develop predictive models based on historical data to forecast future outcomes. These models can be used to make informed decisions from inventory management to customer behaviour prediction.
- Sentiment Analysis: assess reviews, social media conversations, posts, etc. to determine whether sentiment around a brand is positive, negative or neutral. This enables businesses to take proactive steps to de-escalate situations.
- Advertising and Campaign Targeting: use machine learning algorithms to conduct A/B tests on different ad or campaign variations with ongoing optimisations from learning which elements perform the best for particular audience segments. Use AI tools to dynamically generate highly targeted ad copy, maximising ROI.
- Personalisation: utilise AI to customise user experiences. Recommendation engines, for instance, can provide individualised content or product suggestions, enhancing user engagement and conversion rates. Use AI-powered insights combined with predictive analytics to automatically present products and/or services to an end-user based on past behaviour,
- Automation of Routine Tasks: beyond predictions, AI and machine learning can automate repetitive tasks such as data entry, content generation, scheduling and posting.
- Risk Mitigation: predictive analytics to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities, allowing businesses to proactively address issues before they become major problems.
By integrating AI and machine learning, businesses can not only automate tasks but also gain invaluable predictive insights, improve decision-making, enhance customer experiences and stay ahead of the competition.
What strategies have you found most effective in integrating marketing automation with other departments, such as sales or customer service, to create a cohesive and efficient end-to-end customer experience?
The most effective strategy in creating a cohesive and efficient end-to-end customer experience begins with a specific business goal and then using a data-driven mindset to break out of organisational data silos.
Gone are the days where marketing data alone was sufficient. To meet present-day marketing objectives, marketers require a unified dataset including budgets and projections from the finance team, and sales volume and velocity from the sales team. This requires departmental unity and the implementation of uniform business wide systems and data storage practices.
With a unified dataset, the pieces of the puzzle can be brought together to create highly effective customer outreach. Marketers should look beyond just web cookies or singular customer interactions, and rewrite their job descriptions to encompass the larger organisation.
Implementing marketing automation can come with a certain degree of change management. What tips do you have for introducing a new tool or process to a pre-existing team?
Communication is key to everything we do, including in change management. To communicate opportunities for improvement well, psychological and sociological realities inherent in group cultures such as teams should be taken into account. Existing skill sets and knowledge should be identified and incorporated into a good change management plan.
Here are some tips to ease the transition:
- Define Goals: identify clear goals and milestones, and communicate them.
- Identify Resources Needed: before starting the change process, involve the team and its leadership to identify resources that will facilitate the process, and individuals who will lead the change. This is where earlier identification of skills sets and knowledge come into play.
- Communication: Start with clear, transparent communication. Explain why the change is necessary, what benefits it brings and how it will impact each team member. Providing a clear and open line of communication using the right (or most popular) communication tool throughout the process is critical.
- Training and Education: Have everyone on board and informed by providing comprehensive training ensures that team members understand how to use the new tool or process effectively. Encourage them to explore the tool and its capabilities.
- Policies and Procedures Update: All changes should be documented, made easily accessible and shared with all team members.
- Hands-On Learning: Offer opportunities for hands-on practice. Team members should feel comfortable using the tool or process before it becomes a part of their daily workflow.
- Feedback Loop: Create a feedback mechanism for team members to express concerns or suggest improvements. Act on their feedback and make necessary adjustments. Offer reassurance and give team members the time they need to adapt.
- Champion Advocates: Identify and empower enthusiastic team members who can champion the new tool and help their colleagues adapt.
- Gradual Implementation: If possible, roll out the tool gradually rather than all at once. This can reduce the shock of change and allow for smoother integration.
- Celebrate Successes: Recognise and reward team members by acknowledging and celebrating achievements and milestones related to the new tool to maintain motivation and enthusiasm.
Leadership alignment is crucial when it comes to change management. Without enthusiasm, optimism and obvious product use coming from the top, it is next to impossible to convince a team as a whole that any new tool or process is necessary.
An important point to remember when introducing a new tool or process to a pre-existing team is that a top-down approach is essential to successful change. The top Executive in the relevant department, Founder or Owner of a business should be involved in introducing the tool or process to the team along with a clear explanation on why the particular tool has been chosen (or process implemented), and the benefits it affords not just to the business but also to the team’s operations as a whole.
What are 5 Ways to Use Marketing Automation to Improve Team Efficiencies?
Marketing begins from the get go — the very short period of time that a business has to capture a new lead. In the current era of rapid technological advancements, five ways to use marketing automation to improve team efficiencies are:
1. Automate a ‘Welcome’ series of emails: One of the very first steps of any marketing automation strategy should be to automate a ‘Welcome’ series of emails based on information input by the lead. The aim of learning the lead’s preferences, needs and wants is ultimately to turn them into a loyal customer and a raving fan. This crucial first step establishes the business as interested in the prospective customer’s needs while providing the sales team with essential insight into their persona.
2. AI-enabled audience analysis and consumer research: to enhance a marketing strategy while enabling improved lead/customer segmentation.
3. AI-assisted content creation: personalised based on user interactions and behaviours.
4. AI-driven technology to cut through the noise: discovering trends with “social listening” keeps businesses ahead of their competitors.
5. Custom database for companies: to centralise campaigns enabling cross-team collaboration and innovation, reducing communication hours and improving data consistency. AI can be used to automate delivery of omni-channel campaigns and allow for visibility into insights across all marketing campaigns.
Can you share a story about a challenge you faced with marketing automation, and how you overcame it?
I once encountered a significant challenge with marketing automation when implementing a complex lead nurturing campaign. The campaign involved multiple touchpoints, personalised content and trigger-based responses. Our initial attempt faced issues with data accuracy and synchronisation between our CRM and marketing automation platform, and generating something actionable.
To overcome this challenge, we initiated the following steps:
- Data Cleanup: We conducted a thorough data cleanup to eliminate duplicate or inaccurate records, ensuring that our CRM and automation platforms were in sync.
- Process Mapping: We revisited our lead nurturing workflow, mapping out every touchpoint and decision tree. This helped us identify potential bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
- Testing and Optimisation: We rigorously tested each component of the automation campaign, making incremental improvements and adjustments based on the results.
- Staff Training: We invested in additional training for team members to ensure they could effectively manage and troubleshoot the workflow.
- Continuous Monitoring: After implementation, we established a system for ongoing monitoring and maintenance to catch and address issues promptly.
Ultimately, these measures helped us overcome the initial challenges, leading to a successful lead nurturing campaign that not only generated more qualified leads but also improved the data management processes for future automation initiatives.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, it would be one that promotes a culture of unity and collaboration.
We are living in an era of globalisation — one that transcends borders, classes and beliefs. Recognising that we are one big human family is the first step in finding common ground and uniting humanity as a collective force for good.
While every business wants to be a front-runner, I think all of us eventually need to (and should) ask ourselves “what is this all for?”. What collective good does having a business that generates massive amounts of revenue do for humankind as a whole? The answer to this question lies in having a shared interest in mutual support and an understanding of what it takes to get there. It involves dialogue, education and the leveraging of all mediums of communication as a cornerstone of cooperation.
Coming back to the essence of this article, one of the ways businesses can contribute to unlocking new potential and achieving even greater successes is to be open about their achievements, the steps they took to get there and the compelling outcomes of their marketing efforts. #Buildinpublic shouldn’t be restricted just to individuals or developing small businesses. It should be applicable to all organisations big and small — for profit or not.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.