Marketing automation is fundamentally changing the way we present products and messages to consumers. It’s already a major part of many companies’ strategies, and it’s only going to grow. If you want to be competitive next year, you need to start preparing now.
In 2015, automation will become more personalized, mobile, and social than ever. As digital budgets continue to increase (about 17% next year), smart companies will have more opportunities than ever to provide a better customer experience and interact with consumers with better messages at more opportune times. Will you be one of them?
Digital budgets continue to increase by approximately 17% in 2015. Share on Twitter
Automated For the People
From prospect hunting to audience engagement, customer interactions and media buying, automation offers unprecedented reactivity and personalization. The potential for better marketing ROI is immense.
It doesn’t replace your marketers’ jobs, or even make them easier. But it does allow them to focus on strategic, creative, and innovative aspects rather than waste huge portions of the time in bureaucracy, repetitive tasks and reporting. It lets them be, well, marketers, and allows them to better use the talent you actually hired them for.
But only if you have the right personnel managing, engineering, and executing your automative strategy.
Overcoming Automated Marketing Talent Scarcity
If you’re still in the early phases of building your marketing automation team and counting on some unemployed expert to come along and apply for your open positions, good luck. The automated engine is already picking up steam and everyone with any marketing foresight has been snapping up top talent in the field for months.
Demand for proven automators is far beyond supply, and almost anyone with competence in the field is comfortably employed. Experience using or creating automation technology and tools is incredibly valuable, and those marketers know it.
Don’t expect a casual job posting on your website to attract the best minds in the field. You’ll need to invest a little extra to get a top marketing automation capabilities. But a quality expert not only pays for themselves quickly; they make the rest of your marketers more valuable, too.
Marketing Automation Recruitment
If you want an experienced automation expert ready to go right out of the box, you’ll probably have to attract someone that’s not even on the job hunt. Your HR and recruitment team is almost certainly full of smart but incredibly busy professionals; are they going to be able to take the time necessary to identify and entice top automation talent away from their current jobs?
Partner with a marketing recruiter when you need to know that you’re getting the right person for the job. Your internal recruiters might be effective at finding candidates for standard marketing positions, but automation is an emerging field on the cutting edge of marketing. Unless you deal with a variety of marketing experts on a daily basis, like a marketing recruiter does, it’s impossible to pick out which are good and which are great. Which do you want working for you?
Resist the urge to hire dedicated programmers or rely on IT recruiters to get marketing talent. Great automators have a marketing-first mindset; tech savvyness is essential but secondary.
You may find it valuable to train the more enterprising members of your existing staff in automation rather than seek out new talent. It’s always worthwhile to invest in your marketers, and someone who already has an intimate understanding of your organization and market may be able to identify ways to leverage their training right away.
Quality automation training isn’t cheap and can take some time. In the meantime your marketers will have to shift their focus away from their normal duties, so make sure you plan accordingly. Additionally, taking this route will deny you the fresh perspective and ideas of an outsider. Weigh the advantages against the cost and decide if this is a wise path for you.
Turning to Agencies and Consultants
Following the booming interest in automation, myriad third parties have sprung up to offer it (with varying track records). It’s be tricky to find out which ones are worth your investment and which are trying to make a quick buck, and even the good ones can be quite expensive. But if you can find a trustworthy agency or consultant to step in full or part-time, you can forge an incredibly valuable partnership.
Manual or Automatic?
You might get away with relying on a manual transmission to get you around in 2015. The same can’t be said for your marketing. Almost everyone is upgrading to automatic in some way, if they haven’t already. Don’t wait so long to make the switch that you fall out of the race.