How to build the business case for marketing automation


It’s well documented that automating marketing processes has significant benefits.

In terms of time, cost and the best use of your Marketing team’s skills, automation can deliver huge savings and efficiencies.

If you work in a regulated industry, and have the added complexity of compliance approvals, the advantages are amplified.

What benefits does marketing automation deliver?

In recent research into the ROI potential of marketing automation, Nucleus Research found that:

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

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

In our experience, automating the project management and approval of your marketing materials can achieve far greater time and cost savings than these figures.

So the arguments for automating the marketing process are compelling.

What does marketing automation mean?

Now you have the facts. How do you make the case for greater automation?

Firstly, focus on exactly what you want.  ‘Marketing automation’ means different things to different people.  It can be the automation of processes like email marketing – via systems like Eloqua or Salesforce. This can have tangible benefits:

  • Emails are trackable
  • Sending to mass audiences can be scheduled and centralised

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.  This is the type of automation we’ll focus on here.

Convincing your decision makers of automation’s benefits

For regulated firms particularly, the process of producing compliant financial promotions can be complex. You need to factor sign-off from your Compliance team into your lead time.

Add this to the standard marketing processes of briefing, drafting, designing and producing marketing materials, and if you’re not careful, you have an unwieldy, overly manual process. The potential for human error is high, and the financial promotions production process is labour-intensive.

The business case for automation should therefore focus on:

  • The ways automation makes you more efficient – the time savings you will enjoy through online briefing, collaborative reviewing and a Compliance approval process that minimises manual input, duplication and rework. (You can find out more about efficiency benefits by reading a case study on how the Nottingham Building Society saved over 1500 hours a month by automating their processes here.)
  • The significant amount of money you can save via automation. Firstly, there are the hidden costs of duplicated work and a Marketing team whose skills are employed on admin rather than the creative areas where they excel. These intangible costs can be enormous.

Automation also delivers direct cost savings. Automating your agency briefing process means clarity on objectives and desired outcomes. (Our blog on how to create the perfect creative brief has more on these benefits.) Out-the-door costs in terms of creative agency fees, the cost of rework and reporting to deal with errors and non-compliant materials can eat into your marketing budget. Automation can significantly reduce this wasted spend.

  • Its potential to improve speed to market. In the highly-competitive financial services sector, speed to market with new products and solutions is everything. Marketing material for your latest solutions needs to be produced quickly and compliantly, to the highest professional standards.

    Marketing teams face increasing pressure to turn financial promotions around. The benefits of automation in getting your products to market faster shouldn’t be underestimated. (Our blog on why financial services firms are increasingly adopting marketing automation tools looks at some of these benefits in more detail.) 
  • Your ability to respond to RFPs and tenders is greatly improved. By automating the production of proposals and pitch documents, Marketing and Sales teams are able to access the latest, accurate, compliant corporate data and statistics. Approved content can be locked down, preventing non-compliant or outdated content being used. You can read our case study on how AIG halved the time they spend producing bid and policy documents for more information on this. 
  • You reduce the risk of breaching regulatory compliance requirements. Automating your marketing and compliance processes means that manual intervention is minimised, compliant content is easily accessed and the review and approvals process is mandated. As a result, you minimise your risk of breaching FCA or other regulatory rules. The potential for financial penalty, reputational damage and operational interruption is dramatically reduced. 

The business case for automating your marketing processes is compelling. We hope these tips have given you some strong justifications that you can use to convince your board of the advantages of automation. If you want more ammunition to back up your case, you can read more in our whitepaper, The benefits of automated workflow solutions. It’s free to download, and you can get a copy here.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.

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