How to build a strong business case for marketing automation

Web SupportAutomating some of your marketing processes can have huge benefits.

Automation can mean a number of things in marketing. But whether you introduce a degree of automation to your production processes or automate the delivery of your marketing activity. automated approaches can improve efficiency, save you money, professionalise your operations and improve regulatory compliance.

But automation has something in common with any new approach. It can take time and effort to persuade your budget-holders it will deliver. How can you convince those in charge of approving new projects that it’s a worthwhile investment?

1.  Identify the tangible benefits

The people who make decisions on big investments – for Marketing and elsewhere – tend to deal in facts and figures.

This means that when you present the potential advantages of automation, you need to talk their language. What will it deliver in terms of cost savings? In terms of productivity improvements? In terms of improved ROI for marketing activity?

Research carried out by Nucleus Research has found that:

  • Marketing automation reduces the administrative overhead by, on average, 3.4%
  • It increases Marketing team’s productivity by between 1.5% and 6.9%.

Similarly, marketing automation and CRM firm Marketo found in their research that marketing automation increased the amount of time sales teams spent selling by 22%.

Some good strong statistics there, then, to start with.

Then, you need to make a clear case for the type of automation you’re looking for.

2.  Be clear on what you need

Because the term ‘Marketing automation’ has a number of different applications, you need to be clear what you’re requesting.

It can mean the automation of processes like email marketing – via systems like Eloqua or Salesforce. It can be the use of a CRM system to better track and nurture marketing and sales leads. And it can mean the automation of marketing processes such as briefing, reviewing, proofing and approvals.

What type of automation are you looking for? Being sure about what you need will help you articulate the benefits and make the case for investment.

Finally, be sure that you convince your budget-holders of all the benefits of an automated workflow.

3.  Convey the business advantages of the approach you’re proposing

For instance, if you want to automate elements of marketing collateral production, this can have huge benefits, to your team and others. Focus your arguments on the key benefits of the type of automation you’re suggesting.

For automated marketing workflows, for instance, make sure you focus on:

  • The time that can be saved. One building society estimated that it saved 1500 hours a month by automating its marketing processes
  • The potential for Marketing, Compliance and other teams to reduce their admin mountain. You might be surprised to work out the amount of time you waste on marketing administration. Ensure that your teams’ skills are used for their areas of expertise, rather than on admin.
  • The money that can be saved. Use your time more wisely and you indirectly save your employers a significant sum. Minimise duplication between Marketing, Sales, Compliance and other business teams through collaborative reviewing, online briefing and efficient approvals and save time and money.
  • Alongside these indirect savings, automation can deliver direct cost reductions. For example, automating your agency briefing process means clarity on your objectives and desired outcomes, which means your project is delivered faster, with fewer revisions. (Our best practice agency briefing tips have more advice on effective creative agency briefing.)
  • The benefits of getting products and services to market more quickly. Automation can improve your speed to market – a big plus in the highly-competitive financial services sector.
  • The significantly reduced risk of breaching regulatory compliance requirements. Automating your marketing and compliance processes cuts the need for manual intervention, reducing the risk of human error.

Pre-approved, compliant content is easily available, and the review and approvals process is made compulsory. Marketing materials and their approvals are evidenced via an FCA-compliant audit trail.

As a result, your risk of breaching FCA or other regulatory rules is reduced, along with the potential for financial penalty, reputational damage and operational interruption. You reduce the need for (costly, time-consuming) rework and editing when getting materials to market.

  • The potential to introduce automation to all your financial promotions. It’s not just hard copy collateral that can be speeded up via automation. Digital marketing – a growing focus for all businesses – can also be automated, with online reviewing and approvals of webpages, emails and social media posts.

An approach with a compelling rationale

It’s not difficult to build a strong business case for marketing automation – the advantages are significant, and easily realised with the right solution.

Gather your facts, be clear on the type of automation that would benefit your organisation and make the case. With any luck, you will soon be enjoying the advantages other firms are already achieving.

Hopefully these tips have given you some strong arguments you can use to convince your business of automation’s benefits. If you want more evidence to back up your case, you can read our whitepaper, The benefits of automated workflow solutions. It’s free to download, and you can find a copy in our resource library.

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