How marketing automation helps to be ready for the new data protection regulation?
26.10.2017 by Karolin Kondrat
Marketing automation is quite unknown term here in Estonia. Marketers have more or less heard about it, but in reality only a few companies use its potential. I interviewed our Account Director Maarja Laide to understand the opportunities of marketing automation better. Besides the benefits in everyday work, she brought out a fact that marketing automation helps to be ready for the new data protection regulation. How exactly? Find out from the interview.
Explain briefly, what is marketing automation?
The purpose of marketing automation is to automate repetitive marketing activities and have personal communication with your contacts. It seems controversial – how can automation be personal? To explain this better, it’s important to state that marketing automation is the symbiosis of marketing activities and special platforms we use to do these activities. Such platforms are built in a way that they can understand the behaviors and preferences of people. And this gives marketers the opportunity for personal approach.
It’s a known fact that you shouldn’t only send out a newsletter to all your contacts. The aim should be to send accurate information to those who are actually interested in that. This means sending out the right messages to the right contacts at the right time.
The wider purpose of marketing automation is to convert your visitors into contacts and your contacts into clients. And you shouldn’t stop here – your clients also need attention!
When is the right time for a company to start with marketing automation?
There’s no right answer to this question, but I’d recommend to start as soon as possible. Why? The new data protection regulation, which comes into effect in May 2018, states how you should collect and process your contacts. According to this regulation, you must ask for permission before using or processing someone’s data. And this person has to be aware that he has given this data to you. Marketing automation gives marketers the opportunity to correctly collect contacts already today. And these contacts can be used purposefully in marketing. From the marketing point of view, starting from next year your contacts are the most valuable digital property you can own.
Is marketing automation suitable for any company?
If we take the inbound marketing methods as basis, I’d say marketing automation is suitable for any company. This means that you can collect contacts with valuable offers, like ebooks, reports, webinars, etc. Your offer should be valuable enough that people are ready to give their contacts as an exchange. So, it’s a fair deal! In that sense, marketing automation is suitable for any company. I’m sure that all the companies have something valuable to offer to their clients and fans. Also, I think that all the companies want to approach their potential clients.
If a contact has already given you his email address, you have to be polite and keep in touch with him. Marketing automation and marketing automation platforms give you the chance to do that without actually writing emails to your contacts every day.
Depending on your experience, what is the situation of marketing automation in Estonia? Are companies using its potential or not?
There are big companies (for example banks and big e-shops) who have their own IT systems. Usually, automation is already built into these systems. We don’t even think that this kind of automation is for marketing purposes, but it actually is. When we talk about small and medium companies, I would say that the situation is quite sad. They don’t see the potential of marketing automation. But, the situation is even worse if we look where they keep their data and how they use it. Contacts are somewhere in mailbox, in excel or in different systems. Before we can even think about automation, your contact database should be in order. It’s important to create a system, which helps to approach the right people at the right time with the right message.
Some examples for what you can use marketing automation:
- Different reminders, for example for dentist appointment, pet vaccination etc.
- Loyalty programs – discount offers for long-time clients, motivational emails from fitness clubs, etc.
- For event marketing, for example to get feedback to your event, to promote another event, etc.
- Automated birthday wishes for employees and partners.
What kind of tools you need for marketing automation?
There are many necessary tools and platforms. Some of them are free and some aren’t. The most popular platform for email marketing automation is MailChimp. But, I would recommend SharpSpring or HubSpot for big contact databases. And for social media marketing automation I would use Hootsuite or Zoho Social.
If you need help with marketing automation, contact us!