Marketing automation is the phrase being closely examined by businesses across the US as they look for new ways of reaching customers without the usual drain on resources.
It might sound a bit “techy,” but any business wanting to find out more about what is expected to become an essential item in every marketer’s toolset should not fear the unknown.
Hospitality businesses stand to benefit most heavily from the use of data and automated messaging. These businesses engage and interact with thousands of customers every week and it is imperative that they cater to everyone on an individual level without investing countless hours on manual labor.
First, let’s take a closer look at what we mean by “marketing automation” and the advantages that come with implementing it in your business.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation refers to the use of technology for automating repetitive marketing actions. It is used toeffectively engage with customers on multiple channels, online and offline, via different forms of communications.
There is a lot more to marketing automation than just being able to automatically send messages.
For example, a restaurant could use this practice for communicating with a new signup to their mailing list or registration to their loyalty program. Utilizing a marketing automation platform, a business could target a customer that has spent more than $100 with their restaurant. Marketing automation could be used to reward their loyalty with a coupon by defining a rule which allows this to happen automatically.
Communications can be sent through a range of different channels, although mobile apps, email and SMS are arguably the most popular methods of reaching out to a customer. In-store is becoming another big communication channel, as any retail or hospitality business can use their checkout and point of sale (POS) technology to record customer behavior and reward it accordingly.
We’ll clarify that there is a lot more to marketing automation than just being able to automatically send messages. The process is powered by software that, when utilized alongside a POS system, collects information on things like the customer’s purchase history and their unique profile (where they buy, how often that happens, etc).
Marketing automation also makes it easier to analyze everything from the redemption of an offer to the everyday activity of customers. All of that data is presented in ways that provide information and insights about customer behavior, and the performance of the marketing activities.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Marketing Automation Solution?
- Consistent engagement with customers: Every restaurant should be working towards better consistency across their channels. Marketing automation makes it easy to provide an omnichannel experience by spreading the same message to any customer, regardless of the touchpoint involved.
- Driving customer loyalty: Did you know that 75 percent of customers are more likely to buy from businesses that either know their purchase history, recognize them by name or can make personalized product recommendations? Marketing automation is fueled by data, allowing you to personalize the offer for each customer individually, thus increasing the probability that they will buy.
- Centralizing of capabilities: Analytics, reporting, campaign creation—good software will put several functions in one place, removing the need for expertise in areas like programming.
- Reduction of manual labor: By automating a greater number of marketing functions, businesses can save huge amounts of time and costs related to employing people for running the same tasks manually.
- Error reduction: Human error is to blame for a great number of marketing mishaps. Once you use marketing automation to successfully perform a task, the replication has no chances of error.
- Strong analytics capabilities: Every restaurant generates heaps of customer data. A good marketing automation tool will make sense of everything being collected and create a roadmap for how it can be used.
A special mention must go to increased ROI from marketing campaigns as a direct result of automation. By drilling down into performance data, any retail or hospitality business can identify ways of optimizing their campaigns based on what is gathered, all in real time.
What Are the Key Considerations When Adopting a Marketing Automation Tool?
It’s easy to see how marketing automation can positively impact any business with a physical store.
Many brick-and-mortar businesses have adopted marketing automation practices with varying degrees of success. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice for your business:
- Select a solution specifically for restaurants: Marketing automation platforms come in all different shapes and sizes, and are designed for different applications and businesses. There are solutions which fit directly with an in-store environment and will enable a business to streamline the experience both online and offline without any workarounds. The advice is simple: match the solution with your requirement.
- Ensure integration across touchpoints: You’ll be able to reach customers at every stage of their journey by integrating automation across all your available channels. Things like POS devices get overlooked here, despite being the main source of in-store data. Every method of collecting information and distributing messages should be integrated.
- Adopt a holistic solution: Marketing automation is all about being able to co-ordinate and orchestrate an appropriate reaction to every customer interaction. You must find a technology that allows you to manage and react to each stage of the customer journey.
- Choose accessible technology: Good marketing automation tools should be intuitive and easy to use. It’s your responsibility to make sure your solution can fit the skill-set of the staff who operate it.