Marketing is a vast field with a wide range of activities. And while almost all marketing can benefit from digital tools, humans are more challenging to replace in some areas than others. Strategy, planning, branding, and market understanding require a human touch. For this reason alone, it makes sense to automate what’s possible. Here’s an overview of some critical areas for marketing automation.
Email marketing might be the most cost-efficient way of reaching your customers. It can be personalized and measured in great detail, and you can control the user experience. Email can also quickly become time-consuming and is a low-hanging fruit for automation.
What does your business need the most? Impressive design customization? Specific personalization? Detailed analytics? Easy access to support? Maybe you already use an email service – have you considered the alternatives? There are a lot of platforms to choose from when it comes to email marketing - some specialize in email, and others incorporate it with other features. At Lily, we provide customized email design as a part of our service.
SMS can be a helpful way to reach customers, especially when time matters the most – for instance when an event gets canceled on short notice. Some email platforms also offer SMS capabilities. Lily provides email and SMS capabilities in Scandinavian countries, and we have a comprehensive knowledge of the specific needs in this area. Our services integrate seamlessly with several of the leading ticket services in the region.
The launch of the chatbot ChatGPT from OpenAI in November 2022 triggered a massive uptick in attention to AI tools for content creation. I hope you don't suspect that an AI wrote this article – it didn't! But maybe I shouldn't worry if you did – these tools are getting better and better. And the available AI tools can be implemented in the flow of content creation in different ways – for ideas, research, or grammar check.
Several tools generate text based on some input, with ChatGPT being the most famous. Some are specialized in copywriting, like Copy.ai. Others target social media content creators, like Lately. A lot of new services create images – like DALL-E and Midjourney. Relying entirely on these services for content is probably not a good idea, though – you still need that human touch!
There's a gold rush going on to explore this field's commercial potential, and many new services will see the light in the next few years. At the same time, some of the world's biggest companies are already working hard to include these capabilities in their products. One example is the Performance Max feature in the Google Ads platform. This feature creates ads based on your uploaded images, text, and video.
Even before the digital age, many businesses had systems for their contact and customer relationships. What we know as CRM – Customer Relationship Management – emerged in the 1970s with the creation of methods for evaluating customer experience and systemizing improvement. Around 2000, the first large internet-based CRMs became popular, with Salesforce pioneering the field.
Since then, the CRM field has widened incredibly, with companies ranging from enterprise-sized software to solutions for small businesses and startups. There are solutions tailor-made for different industries and fields. Many of the core features of this type of software are related to the automation of time-consuming tasks like responding to inquiries, handling sales and invoices, approval processes, support, follow-up, and so on.
During the last decade, alternative approaches to CRM have emerged, in part as a response to the increased importance of customer data. CRMs have traditionally focused on interactions between the company and the customer. Still, in the 2020s, data from the customer's use of the services are just as relevant but have an added layer of complexity that requires analysis. The Lily platform is a CDP, a Customer Data Platform suited for business needs in the age of Big Data.
Platforms like Google, Facebook, and TikTok have developed sophisticated algorithms and other technologies for targeted advertising to their users with the help of big data and behavior analysis. There is a lot of automation when we use these platforms for advertising. And more is on the way.
Running ads is a time-consuming activity requiring specialized knowledge of bidding and targeting. Naturally, the platforms seek ways to make these processes more accessible and lower the threshold for users. Google's Performance Max campaign type is one of these initiatives, where the bidding and targeting are automated. Facebook's Dynamic Ads is a tool that makes promoting many products easier without creating many different ads.
While the different platforms strive to create complete advertising tools, others work to gather and synchronize the efforts on various platforms. Services like Hubspot, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social allow running similar ads across different platforms. While this saves work, it is worth asking whether this is worth it. Depending on what you are selling, it might be better to focus on one platform and optimize your efforts there.
Like most of the concepts on this list, cross-selling existed well before the internet era. Selling more to an existing customer, often products that would complement the first purchase, was done in the shop (as it still is), on the phone, and by the door-to-door salesman. So were the related techniques of upselling, where the customer upgrades to a more expensive version of the product, and down-selling, with a downgrade to a cheaper product.
Cross-selling is at the heart of the biggest e-commerce success story of all time – Amazon. Their strategy of recommending similar products to their buyers – "because you bought this" – has become the gold standard of cross-selling online. At one point, Amazon announced that 35% of its profits came from cross-selling alone. That said, there are many other approaches to cross-selling than Amazon's, and it may not be the best option for you.
The Lily platform uses a combination of cross-selling and using email for information purposes. As we specialize in the event industry, we optimize Lily to keep the customer informed about the event and venue. This flow of information continues after the event, with a request for feedback and maybe photos from the event. Use this golden opportunity to weave in relevant upcoming events that the customer could find interesting.
During 15+ years with social media, expectations for companies' social media presence have risen significantly. One of the most challenging aspects of a successful social media strategy is consistency – delivering high-quality content regularly, maybe on different platforms with different requirements and audiences. No wonder that automation tools have become popular in this area as well.
There are obvious downsides to this kind of automation – like the danger of posting something that looks offensive or out of touch in light of recent news. We must carefully monitor our posting. The upside is saving time by batching the publication of many posts and activities on different platforms. Hootsuite and Buffer are two of the most popular services that offer these features, alongside analytics for each platform.
Some services are more specialized for each platform. Some offer to make the publication more manageable and assist with creating posts. Chatbots are a popular way of automating customer service tasks that integrates with Facebook, Twitter, websites, apps, and other platforms. Tweet Hunter is one example of an AI-powered service that offers to find relevant content, suggest tweets based on your tweeting style, and provide ideas to maximize growth and reach.
Each big internet platform offers some analytics as a part of its service. They usually provide audience insights like numbers of visitors and page views, time users spend on the site, engagement, and conversion rates. Google Analytics has been the king of online reporting for a long time, as they offer detailed data on their platform and on websites, including where the users came from.
The field of online analytics is changing fast, however. Some of this concerns the privacy laws that have emerged in recent years, with the EU's GDPR being the most prominent. These initiatives have pushed analytics toward modeling behavior rather than measuring it directly. Web traffic has also grown significantly more complex. Google's move from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 reflects this shift, with less focus on simple metrics like page views and more on their behavior across websites and apps.
The stronger focus on privacy has increased the need for businesses in every industry to aggregate their data. When customers interact with your software, you still need their consent to track their activity, but this data can give you much more relevant information. With the Lily platform, you are positioning your business to access valuable information about your users and customers.
As you can see from the list above, marketing involves many activities, and so does eventually marketing automation. One of the most important decisions you will make is how specialized your approach to automation will be and how many tools you will commit to using. There are significant benefits to reducing the number of automation services. But the quality of these combined services comes down to the quality of their integrations.
The Lily platform was born out of the necessity to integrate two important platforms for any event promoter: The ticket sales platform and the email marketing service. The first integration we built was between Mailchimp and the Ticketmaster platforms. We later moved on to integrate the DX and Eventim platforms and to create our own platform for distributing email and SMS. We have developed these features in close collaboration with our customers.
The Lily platform is constantly evolving, and at the core of our efforts is the need for well-integrated services. We are continually working to develop new features that will benefit our users, and curious to get to know your specific needs. We are currently expanding from Norway to other Scandinavian countries. Read more about Lily on our blog, or contact us for a chat.