If you haven’t realized, we love buzzwords. They generally sound really cool and can sometimes kickstart a stalled conversation. But let’s be honest, sometimes they just make us sound really smart. So today’s buzzword is “marketing automation.”

If you’re having flashbacks to Pee Wee Herman’s “Today’s Secret Word Skit” (or even if you’re not), you’re not alone. Let’s take 30 seconds to reflect.

Buzzwords and secret words aside, marketing automation may sound a little crazy, and you may have even heard it before. My goal isn’t to break it down and make it simple to understand. I want to change the way you think about it and how you approach the day-to-day as well as long-term elements of marketing automation.

What Is Marketing Automation?

Before we jump into that, let’s set a definition for marketing automation. While simple, the Wikipedia definition works well: “marketing automation refers to software platforms designed for marketing departments and organizations to automate repetitive tasks.”

Repetitive. Tasks. Sounds pretty boring, and in reality, it can be and that’s OK. I like to think of repetitive not as tedious or boring but as able to be tightly controlled and easily repeated. Every day, you interact with customers and potential customers who want information about your products and services presented in a simple, direct and easy-to-act-upon manner. Why not control and repeat it easily? This is automation.

Industrial processes and even high-tech manufacturing have used this approach for years, so let’s apply it to marketing! While there are many factors to running a successful marketing automation campaign, I want to break it down to one key way to think about this new buzzword with another, older buzzword: one-to-one marketing.

Finally, One-To-One Marketing

Ahhhh, now there’s a term we can likely all relate to and all want to experience when we’re the consumer. A message that feels tailored to us and comes to us when we want it. On the company side, it should mean engagement with a message and call to action that drives results at an optimal time in the decision-making process or sale. If you’ve ever tried one-to-one campaigns, you’re primed to get into marketing automation.

With marketing automation, instead of variable print postcards and merging form fields from Excel, you can track every customer action across multiple calls to action –all online. Each call to action that a customer acts on can trigger another custom message to that person or group. The best part? You can automate all of this so it’s easy on you but seems completely custom and unique to the customer. Which brings us back to the concept of one-to-one marketing.

How does this happen? Well, that’s where marketing strategy, goal-setting, well-developed software and great calls to action intersect to give you a leg-up on the competition. Want to talk more about one-to-one marketing and marketing automation? Give us a call or email michael.schwabe@akhia.com to see what is possible.