When it comes to digital advertising, automation just makes sense. Brands need to engage an enormous (and growing) pool of customers through dozens of channels and platforms, and they need to do so in a way that feels authentic and personalised. There’s simply no way to achieve this manually.
But automation isn’t just about working faster. Marketers have (understandably) focused on short-term wins like efficiency and cost-cutting, with obvious ROI considerations, but these only account for 80% of the full potential automation can deliver. The remaining 20% is where the magic happens, where brands begin to look at how they be more creative in the way their strategy to deliver digital experiences.
Even if companies have automated their processes, few have adapted these processes to a digital audience. Speeding up outdated ways of working may help them reach more customers, but it won’t make their content more creative or relevant. That’s why programmatic advertising still delivers mixed results. We have nailed right time, right person but are still missing “right message” to round out the trio.
This is now changing. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) now becoming a more common tool in the ad-tech arsenal, we’ve reached a tipping point for automation. AI brings real-time context to customer data and targeting, which means brands can create automated experiences that are more relevant and that constantly adapt to each customer’s behaviour. Take Virgin Holidays, which has seen audience engagement improve jump 1.5x by taking a more personalised approach to automated content.
For some, AI and automation are just another bunch of new technologies, but in order to take advantage of them, brands need a culture and data management approach to match.
Here are three ways to make this happen:
#1 Conduct cross-team triage
One of the biggest blockers to using automation (or any marketing technology) in an integrated way is a lack of cohesion between teams. Marketing, Sales, and IT have traditionally had their own objectives, giving them little incentive to help one another reach their KPIs.
It takes an imperative from the boardroom and managers to stop the departmental empire-building and align their teams with a single collective vision. This also requires an education piece so that everyone understands why automation is the answer and is invested in making an integrated approach work.
Click here to learn how T-Mobile transformed its business culture and rallied its organisation around the digital customer experience
#2 Make data shareable and accessible
With Marketing, Sales and IT bought into the value of automation, the next step is to ensure each team can collect and draw insight from the same pool of data in a single, consistent format.
This will make each department more efficient for one, but the real value extends to customers. An integrated view of data is the key to providing smooth experiences across platforms. For example, it’s the reason someone can rent a car online, have their reservation come up at the pick-up counter without having to re-enter their details, and speak with a service associate who knows everything about their booking and rental history
#3 Turn mindless automation into adaptive automation
Finally, it’s important to remember that targeting and personalisation only work if your message is relevant. Before reaching out to a customer, brands need to be honest with themselves about whether that person will care. And if so, they need to determine how often to contact them.
We’ve all been served adverts for products we’ve already purchased, or for ones we bought as a gift that we’d never buy for ourselves. This is another area where AI can support automated advertising, drawing on each customer’s clicking patterns and online activity to help brands make informed decisions about who to target and when.
Brands have benefited greatly from automation so far, but they’ve been using it in the same as manufacturers or financial analysts – to speed up simple processes without thinking of how it can actually enhance the customer experience. By combining automation with AI, they can finally differentiate themselves by taking advantage of automation’s unique value for digital advertising.
Adobe’s AI and automation solutions are purpose-built for the needs of digital marketers. And unlike most other AI technologies, you don’t need expertise in Machine Learning or in-depth analytics to use them.
Click here to learn more.
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