Three ways marketing automation is making brands more creative

by Julian A. Kramer

Posted on 09-06-2018

When it comes to dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing, automa­tion just makes sense. Brands need to engage an enor­mous (and grow­ing) pool of cus­tomers through dozens of chan­nels and plat­forms, and they need to do so in a way that feels authen­tic and per­son­alised. There’s sim­ply no way to achieve this manually.

But automa­tion isn’t just about work­ing faster. Mar­keters have (under­stand­ably) focused on short-term wins like effi­cien­cy and cost-cut­ting, with obvi­ous ROI con­sid­er­a­tions, but these only account for 80% of the full poten­tial automa­tion can deliv­er. The remain­ing 20% is where the mag­ic hap­pens, where brands begin to look at how they be more cre­ative in the way their strat­e­gy to deliv­er dig­i­tal experiences.

Even if com­pa­nies have auto­mat­ed their process­es, few have adapt­ed these process­es to a dig­i­tal audi­ence. Speed­ing up out­dat­ed ways of work­ing may help them reach more cus­tomers, but it won’t make their con­tent more cre­ative or rel­e­vant. That’s why pro­gram­mat­ic adver­tis­ing still deliv­ers mixed results. We have nailed right time, right per­son but are still miss­ing “right mes­sage” to round out the trio.

This is now chang­ing. With Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (AI) now becom­ing a more com­mon tool in the ad-tech arse­nal, we’ve reached a tip­ping point for automa­tion. AI brings real-time con­text to cus­tomer data and tar­get­ing, which means brands can cre­ate auto­mat­ed expe­ri­ences that are more rel­e­vant and that con­stant­ly adapt to each customer’s behav­iour. Take Vir­gin Hol­i­days, which has seen audi­ence engage­ment improve jump 1.5x by tak­ing a more per­son­alised approach to auto­mat­ed content.

For some, AI and automa­tion are just anoth­er bunch of new tech­nolo­gies, but in order to take advan­tage of them, brands need a cul­ture and data man­age­ment approach to match.

Here are three ways to make this happen:

#1 Con­duct cross-team triage

One of the biggest block­ers to using automa­tion (or any mar­ket­ing tech­nol­o­gy) in an inte­grat­ed way is a lack of cohe­sion between teams. Mar­ket­ing, Sales, and IT have tra­di­tion­al­ly had their own objec­tives, giv­ing them lit­tle incen­tive to help one anoth­er reach their KPIs.

It takes an imper­a­tive from the board­room and man­agers to stop the depart­men­tal empire-build­ing and align their teams with a sin­gle col­lec­tive vision. This also requires an edu­ca­tion piece so that every­one under­stands why automa­tion is the answer and is invest­ed in mak­ing an inte­grat­ed approach work.

Click here to learn how T‑Mobile trans­formed its busi­ness cul­ture and ral­lied its organ­i­sa­tion around the dig­i­tal cus­tomer experience

#2 Make data share­able and accessible

With Mar­ket­ing, Sales and IT bought into the val­ue of automa­tion, the next step is to ensure each team can col­lect and draw insight from the same pool of data in a sin­gle, con­sis­tent format.

This will make each depart­ment more effi­cient for one, but the real val­ue extends to cus­tomers. An inte­grat­ed view of data is the key to pro­vid­ing smooth expe­ri­ences across plat­forms. For exam­ple, it’s the rea­son some­one can rent a car online, have their reser­va­tion come up at the pick-up counter with­out hav­ing to re-enter their details, and speak with a ser­vice asso­ciate who knows every­thing about their book­ing and rental history

#3 Turn mind­less automa­tion into adap­tive automation

Final­ly, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber that tar­get­ing and per­son­al­i­sa­tion only work if your mes­sage is rel­e­vant. Before reach­ing out to a cus­tomer, brands need to be hon­est with them­selves about whether that per­son will care. And if so, they need to deter­mine how often to con­tact them.

We’ve all been served adverts for prod­ucts we’ve already pur­chased, or for ones we bought as a gift that we’d nev­er buy for our­selves. This is anoth­er area where AI can sup­port auto­mat­ed adver­tis­ing, draw­ing on each customer’s click­ing pat­terns and online activ­i­ty to help brands make informed deci­sions about who to tar­get and when.

Brands have ben­e­fit­ed great­ly from automa­tion so far, but they’ve been using it in the same as man­u­fac­tur­ers or finan­cial ana­lysts – to speed up sim­ple process­es with­out think­ing of how it can actu­al­ly enhance the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. By com­bin­ing automa­tion with AI, they can final­ly dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves by tak­ing advan­tage of automation’s unique val­ue for dig­i­tal advertising.

Adobe’s AI and automa­tion solu­tions are pur­pose-built for the needs of dig­i­tal mar­keters. And unlike most oth­er AI tech­nolo­gies, you don’t need exper­tise in Machine Learn­ing or in-depth ana­lyt­ics to use them.

Click here to learn more.

Take part in our live 360 cus­tomer jour­ney at DMEXCO. You can reg­is­ter for a tour here

Topics: Digital Transformation, adaptive automation, artificial intelligence, audience, automated services, Automation, Digital Advertising, Machine Learning, Marketing Automation, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA