This article was written by Rasmus Houlind, Chief Strategy Officer Mobile, Agillic, Author of “Make it all about me – and I´ll buy it!”. Featured in “Dansk Markedsføring” Magazine no. 4, 17th of April 2016.

When it comes to giving your customers coherent and meaningful experiences with the right message at the right time, you cannot ignore marketing automation. Automated marketing, also called marketing automation, is essential for operating omni-channel marketing via a large customer base. As I see it, there are four different angles to automation that give companies’ customers a personalised experience.


Complex or simple


Many associate primary marketing automation with simple re-exposure of products which the potential customer has already viewed or had in his/her shopping cart. It can easily seem like a hollow echo of what the customer himself/herself already was in progress with and not as something that helps the customer further in his/her decision-making process.

There are of course times where it makes sense to help the customer get back on track with a simple reminder of the product she has “forgotten” to check out, or use advanced data analyses to suggest the most likely related products which perhaps are also those with the highest margin. But it is far from all scenarios that deal with simple products or simple services. Thus, the first dimension which I will propose is the complexity of the product or the service. There is a big difference between buying four litres of milk and buying a car, for example, or changing your insurance company.

Matas and COOP are good Danish examples of where the products are relatively simple, and so it is often a question of finding the right product for the customer at the right price. On the other hand, the real estate industry and the automobile industry are examples of more complex services. Here it is not only a question of getting the customer to select the right product, but more and more of getting the customer to mature his/her decision-making process and to engage in various types of content, see/test-drive an actual product and meet some people who can help build the confidence needed so that a customer relationship can begin. Travel purchases often transcend both physical and digital channels, and good content at the right time is necessary to support a purchase decision.


Buy or use


Some other type of engaging communication is necessary for choosing to remain a customer in the same bank month after month or to renew your Mofibo subscription.

The communication should no longer be about closing a sale, but more about how the customer can use an existing service or product and thus get the most out of his/her customer relationship. In a subscription-scenario such as Mofibo, it is obvious that regular use of the service extends the subscription period and thus profits. It is therefore a question of keeping the customers on the ball and seamlessly guiding him/her from the first book to the next and so on.

The customers must also understand that in addition to reading the books in the normal way, they may also use audiobooks for example and in doing so transform a drive or jog into an entertaining and educational experience.

The same will be the case of Sydbank, for example, where using the many customer benefits in Sydbank Favorit is directly associated with the experienced value for the customer. The more Sydbank can motivate its customers to use the benefits, the greater the chance of extending the customer relationship, getting the next loan agreement and that the customer speaks highly of the bank.


Volume and effect


Most marketing managers have experienced that when you hit the customers at the right time with the right message, then the effect is significantly greater than normal. The challenge is to get volume on these often very narrow target groups. It may be difficult to achieve both effect and volume.

The secret consists of gradually building messages and content that helps the many micro-decisions in a purchasing process or a customer relationship along the way – whether it is about selecting the next product in Matas or financing one’s purchase of a home. After this, a marketing automation system can use data, rules and insight to select the right time and the right channel to expose each customer to the right message.

The effect of marketing automation can be enormous, but precisely because the timing takes place on the customers’ terms and not the company’s, the results prove to be continuous and incremental instead of the known one-off campaigns, which most companies and consumers are getting tired of.

Marketing automation is therefore in all probability not the thing that will save your quarterly budget. Conversely, it has the potential to save your annual budget – both this year and in the years to come.

Do you have the patience to save the annual budget?