When the executives in an organisation start evaluating whether or not they should embark on a marketing automation journey, they are obviously going to ask themselves what return they should expect from doing so.
Likely to be factored in to the evaluation process are obvious drivers such as reduced acquisition costs, improved conversion rates, better net promoter scores, faster campaign cycle times and the scalability of the campaigns that might be launched.
These are all very important value drivers, of course, and depending on the organisation, executive thinking might also need to be supplemented with considerations about staffing, infrastructure, the competition and much more. But I wonder how many executives take a moment to also think about the ‘data-driven innovation’ opportunity that marketing automation offers them.
Marketing automation is in some instances also referred to as ‘closed loop marketing’ and that’s a term that I suggest puts an important additional perspective to the evaluation. After all, one of the key points of marketing automation is that customer contacts and interactions are tracked. Working this way gives the organisation a window on exactly what was communicated with the customer, when and through which channels, and with a record of feedback that also includes the potential outcomes.
The value of such tracking, whether it’s related to service, compliance, marketing as such or anything else is that the logged interactions are stored and can be recovered and newly personalised for future re-use.
The ability to close this feedback loop in a structured and efficient way holds the potential to create a very important source of competitive advantage by nurturing a customer-driven innovation mentality throughout the organisation. By managing feedback structurally over time, the organisation is establishing and growing an innovative commercial environment that can be described as being in ‘beta stage’ at all times. It is creating an organisational capability that allows it to tap into what is effectively an ‘always on’, always updated and non-biased focus group.
Take a moment to think about this and ask yourself, ‘Just how valuable is that?’
I’ll grant you that the answer might not be as obviously quantifiable as the answer to questions such as, ‘What’s the monetary value of improving our call centre conversion rates by 5%?’ or ‘What’s going to be the bottom line impact of scaling to as many as 40 campaigns a month instead of only four, currently?’ But that doesn’t mean it’s not well worth considering. The faster and more tightly knit an organisation can create that feedback process, the more this element of a marketing automation – or closed loop marketing – project becomes a key source of sustainable advantage.
This post first appeared on marketingmag.com.au.