By: Andrew Rose
(Post 2 of 2)
What Does Marketing Automation Do Well?
Savvy marketers know the value of using tools to listen and speak to the world. By using marketing automation, marketers can create thought leadership paths for their professionals. Some of this positioning may be due to innate skills these professionals have acquired or a reaction to a need in the marketplace. In the near future, one important function that marketing automation will fulfill is data segmentation. Currently, these robust tools are good at pushing out content and putting triggers in places for follow-up actions. However, they don’t effectively analyze the vast valleys of data, or suggest best practices across industry or practice groups to mine that data.
If you have been listening over the last few years, you have probably heard the phrase, “content is king.” This is the crux of an automated platform. The tools are only as good as the content and information you are pushing out on the Internet via blogs, websites, video channels, tweets, etc. If your content is self-serving—or worse, a sales pitch— you will quickly turn off your prospects. Developing content requires a calendar detailing what will be said, when it will be published, who will be targeted, and what voice will be used. Underestimating the planning and execution of a content strategy is where many users of marketing automation fall short.
On his blog, RoninMarketing, John J. Wall peered into the near-term future of marketing automation and shared this prescient observation:
“The next step for marketing automation is clear: it’s not about providing the tools, it’s adding expertise so that their customers run better campaigns. They know when the messages should drop, what subject lines work, what offers pull. The first marketing automation vendor to leverage their data and generate a decent 12 month calendar and mail schedule for any vertical will be the first steps in second generation marketing automation. Last generation’s marketing automation systems made great marketers more effective. Next generation marketing automation will make all marketers more effective.”
It is often said that most of us could be replaced by machines one day. The advances in computer learning are pushing the limits of Moore’s Law. According to a recent report from Frey and Osborne of Oxford University, there is a 94–99% chance that accountants and auditors can be replaced by machines over the next 20 years.
Whether or not marketing automation will replace the relationship-building component that is critical to growing a CPA practice is still up for debate. I view marketing automation as a tool, and when used in conjunction with strategic marketing and business development practices, it can augment successful growth campaigns. The important takeaway is to go into the marketing automation exploration process with your eyes wide open, understand the costs and commitments, and have realistic expectations.
Andrew Rose spent 11.5 years as the Director of Marketing and Business Development for a regional CPA firm based in Maryland. He is now the President of Zest SMS, a digital marketing and business development firm that specializes in professional service companies. It provides responsive website development, custom designs, branding and social media account management, in addition to many other marketing services. You can email Andrew at Andrew@ZestSMS.com or call him at 443-275-7992. Learn more about him on the company’s website at www.ZestSMS.com or follow him on Twitter at @ZestiestRose.