I was talking to my friend, Ashton, over at Software Advice (a website that helps SMEs choose marketing software) last week.

He had some information for me that I found pretty astonishing. I’ve previously written about marketing automation and how it looks set to grow in the future, but I didn’t think the trend would grow so quick.

According to research done by Ashton’s company, Software Advice, 98 per cent of prospective small business buyers were looking to adopt marketing automation into their company for the first time.

You could take that information another way, of course, and say that only two per cent of small businesses that they surveyed are currently using marketing automation software.

 

Marketing automation can help take that strain from people’s shoulders.

 

But the key issue to raise here is awareness. That marketing automation is starting to permeate the consciousness of small business owners, and that a lot of them are seriously considering it despite the high costs that it can command.

So, what does this mean for not just the future of marketing, but for marketers, too?

The end of specialist software?

I’ve pointed out in quite a few blogs that a marketer’s job can sometimes be defined by the tools and specialist software they decide to use, whether that’s for reporting, on-site optimisation, email campaigns, and more.

Interestingly, according to the survey, a large portion of those looking at adopting marketing automation software were in the real estate industry (37 per cent), with 31 per cent of them using industry-specific software.

That sounds to me like a number of real estate professionals may be fed up with using software that, at best, are complicated property portals. It’s understandable; buying and letting property can be a nightmare at the best of times.

But if the software is impeding the ability of professionals to do the job to the best of their abilities then it’s of detriment to the overall brand and any future success it may have.

Marketing automation can help take that strain from people’s shoulders. Keep in mind too that the survey focuses on small business. Larger businesses have been using automation for years to take a lot of time-specific tasks from their hands.

The end of going to work?

Marketing automation can help take that strain from people’s shoulders.The big danger that I need to point out to people who are looking at marketing automation software is that it isn’t a magic money spinner. Used wisely it can help cut out irritating jobs that take up time that could be better spent working with clients or being creative.

47 per cent of those surveyed looking at marketing automation software are doing it to make performing manual methods easier, including things like using post-its to make notes, write down data on spreadsheets, and send the odd marketing email.

Only 8 per cent are looking at the software to help them automate processes, though, which is quite surprising. What’s not surprising is that the majority – 27 per cent – want it to help improve their lead management capabilities.

It boils down to profit and prospects. Smaller companies overwhelmed with doing the marketing jobs themselves are turning to software that they hope can help them with the job instead of maybe investing the money on an intern, more marketing software, or a marketing company.

As promising as the technology from some of the better providers is, though, you have to remember that it’s still just software. It’s not a cure-all; an all-in-one marketing solution that captures interest and boosts profit. If anything human input is needed more than ever.

Is marketing automation the future or does it kill the thrill of creative, personalised campaigns? Let me know below!

3 benefits of the human element

Outsourcing to a digital marketing team can also take a lot of that worry from your shoulders and can also be more cost-effective than marketing automation software. Here are three reasons why:

Long-term strategic planning

If you invest in marketing automation software then you may just be left to use it on your own depending on who you’re with. Partnering with an experienced digital company can help you to form a targeted, long-term strategy that attracts new traffic through handling a variety of different digital channels.

Creative content production

As good as marketing automation software is it still can’t look at news story and approach it from an entirely different angle for an article. It can’t help you to create a heartfelt video, or an intriguing podcast about what’s going on in your industry. The creative human angle is so important when it comes to marketing and attracting a new audience.

The personal touch

A lot of larger companies use the software to communicate with customers and provide instant canned responses over email and social media. While it can be helpful a lot of people can see through it and feel it’s disingenuous. Customer service is all about being personable and being on hand; would you rather talk to a human or a robot when you have a problem?

Customer service is all about being personable and being on hand

 

The growth of marketing automation software doesn’t mean the death of the marketer by any stretch of the imagination; in fact a lot of successful companies have the software as part of their services and use it very well.

But if you’re looking to invest in it in the hope that you can simply plug it in and generate leads then you’re in for a shock. The human element is the most important thing when it comes to marketing; to reach out and identify with people on another level.

However you choose to market yourself, whether in-house with software or by partnering with a digital company, that and a long-term creative strategy are the most important things to consider at the most basic level. Get that right and success will follow.

If you’d like to learn more about online marketing and how pairing with the right company can boost your profits talk to Webpresence today!

(Images: Briefyourmarket, Vimeo)