Automation: why stop at marketing?
A mainstream use of automation is in marketing. Marketing automation is a buzzword, but one that refers to an extremely useful tool. So useful, in fact, that over half (55%) of surveyed companies are now using it.
It’s a tool that lets your team automate tasks like targeted email campaigns, social media monitoring, and posting content. But why stop there? As it turns out, automation software is a lot more versatile than you might think. The same functionality that the software offers marketers can help other teams too.
So, how can you get more out of your automation software?
Marketing automation: what it does
Before diving into what automation offers other teams, it’s worth exploring exactly what it does for your marketing team.
Marketing automation refers to the use of software to manage and complete repetitive marketing tasks. For example, managing email campaigns and sending them out based on customer behaviour. Or, monitoring brand perception on social media (with the help of sentiment analysis). Or even posting replies and content automatically.
But if you break all that down, you have software that scans input, and triggers a specified action in response. You have an email parser, a social media tracker, a data entry tool, and a reactive auto-poster or sender. In some cases, you might also have some sentiment analysis functionality too.
And all these separate functions can serve other departments in your small business.
Customer service, much like marketing, tends to make use of both emails and social media. So, why couldn’t the customer service team make use of automation technology?
For example, you could set auto-responses to customer service emails. This is the same functionality that lets marketers automate their email campaigns — just with a different trigger. So, customers know that their email has reached you. The software can then automatically create a ticket for team members to pick up and handle.
The same applies to social media support requests, too. The marketing team can get auto-alerts for social media mentions. In the same way, customer service could get auto-alerts to customer service requests and questions.
As your small business grows, you’ll see a fair share of job applications. Many of these will come in via email. And your automation can react to this just as it might for a response to your marketing team’s efforts.
For instance, candidates could receive an automatic response acknowledging receipt of their applications. Automation software could even go a step further and scan applications for keywords and qualities you’re looking for. Then, you could set it to send follow up tasks for viable candidates to complete.
Or, consider the automation ability marketers use to field consumer feedback. Your HR efforts could leverage this for your employees. It could parse employee feedback from company reviews and surveys, and alert you based on key terms. With sentiment analysis, it could tell you if morale is dropping. So, you can make sure your employees are as happy as your customers.
IT and data
Part of what makes marketing automation so useful is that it helps marketers keep track of everything. It automatically sorts and stores data from multiple sources. For example, ad campaigns, search results, email inboxes and so on.
Both this data storage and wide compatibility could benefit your IT team and data management.
Automation software can act as a bridge for your software systems. That is, it can collect information from — and communicate data to — your different software tools. So, no matter how many programs you use to keep your small business running, all your data is accessible and up to date.
Share the benefits
Automation in any capacity is using triggers and rules to complete repetitive tasks automatically. For your marketing team, those triggers are typically social media mentions or an email subscription sign up.
But you can choose your own triggers and the tasks they lead to. When you remove the marketing blinders, the world of automation potential expands significantly.
So, why not share the benefits across your business? You’ll increase the ROI of your automation software, and improve efficiency and productivity to boot.