While marketing industry buzz tells us to expect more automation, so far, the rate of adoption has not reflected expectations. Is this because Machine has not yet reached the perfection that we demand (despite our ample room for human error)? What is it that we fear when we read about the newest automation tech on the block? Realistically, you’re not going to be replaced. Truthfully, all to be feared is that we’ll have more time on our hands to do what we’d prefer to be doing. And yet, the reluctance to automate is strong.
Looking back over the last decade, it’s clear that the introduction of new technology has created greater possibilities and more roles for marketers. It’s inevitable automation and technologies will be playing an even more integral role in the future of marketing. The good news is that it’s OK to take baby steps with automation at first. All automation technologies exist to simplify work processes, however, they come on a scale of complexity. Smaller-scale marketing technologies are designed to relieve you of the more repetitive, mundane tasks. These are the technologies we can hopefully agree are best to start with and therefore more realistic to adopt first. You’re not going to buy a Ferrari when you just passed your test.
You may or may not already be using data feeds in your daily work. If you’re not, a data feed is merely a file that contains information such as inventory. The possibilities a data feed can unlock in marketing have steadily grown. They are mostly used when a marketing channel (e.g. Google, Facebook, AWIN, Amazon) requests your inventory in order to create ads or listings. Relying on the IT department to adapt the data can cause a huge delay and friction in making dynamic and responsive ad campaigns online. This is where a feed automation tool, such as Channable’s feed manager, simplifies the work process. A feed automation tool can automate the creation of feeds for retargeting, social ads, display and many more. Look out for a technology with a good UI and UX because you’re hoping to steer clear from overcomplicating processes.
Online ad automation
If you’ve ever had to write or implement ad copy for PPC ads, you can probably agree it’s fairly cumbersome. There are automation systems on the web that can help you generate hundreds of highly relevant copy for ads, sitelinks and keywords. You do this by building a template using dynamic fields. The system will be directly liked to your ads account, so after you’ve built the ad structure, it’ll only take a click of a button and potentially hundreds of ads are in your account. This then frees up time to focus on optimizing campaigns or bidding. Bidding is also something that you can now automate. AI technology will analyse the optimal time and budget for your keywords. Channable’s PPC tool is an automation tool that can generate the ad copy straight to your account, but there are others that include bidding and advanced targeting possibilities.
Social media automation
Social media has become the best online place to reach your target market. Posting regularly allows you to communicate directly with your audience, helps build a brand image as well as many other things. Social media automation tools allow you to schedule posts so you can prep them in advance and get on with other tasks in the meantime. Tools include Hootsuite and Buffer for scheduling social media posts. There are also tools that can provide you with insights for social media content based on influencers and your competition, such as BuzzSumo. If you’re interested in automating product ads for social media channels, you would actually need a feed manager because the channel will require your inventory in their specific feed format.
Marketplace listing automation
If you or your client is a retailer that sells via the giant online marketplaces, such as eBay or Amazon, marketplace automation can help list products, add new listings, and make easy modifications to existing listings. This is really a plug and play technology as once the connection is made everything is real-time. Check out Channable’s marketplaces integrator to upload to multiple marketplaces from one place or see the possibilities offered by each marketplace.
Email marketing automation
Sending emails to existing clients, reminding old ones that they can still use you, or reaching out to prospective customers are all activities that can be automated. Low-level email automation purely enables you to send a group a certain email at a scheduled time. Mailchimp and Dotmailer are popular choices for email automation. But you can do so much more such as creating different segments, which will allow for specifying the message of the email to the audience you want to read it. Or setting up a sequence, so that a reader will receive follow up emails that you only had to set up once. This is easily created if you’re using a CRM such as Hubspot.
If you’ve gotten to the end of this list and realised you’ve either implemented some or all of the above levels of automation, give yourself a clap on the back. You’re already more adapted to the technological future than you thought. It’s not something to fear and is easier to implement than it appears. If you haven’t implemented them all, remember how much better your life is with one of them and the possibilities the others could open up for you. Automation technologies will be more commonplace in our future and it’s best to start now. It’s all about enabling you to spend your time more wisely. Read Channable’s guide on how to choose a feed manager for the next step in adopting marketing technologies.
Senni Whitaker is head of marketing (UK) at Channable