Marketing automation isn’t a new concept. But the financial services industry is traditionally conservative and not known for being early adopters.
So while automation of marketing processes is nothing new, it’s not something the financial services sector has been quick to take up.
Increasingly, though, this is changing.
What is marketing automation?
What do we mean by marketing automation? Broadly, it refers to the automating of marketing processes. This tends to fall into two areas:
- automating the production of marketing materials and content, and
- automating the way marketing content and collateral is distributed
In the first category, we see automated workflow tools (like DotApprove) that make it easy to create, approve and publish marketing content. This type of workflow software enables document collaboration, online proofing and project management of all marketing projects on a single platform.
By integrating compliance approvals, regulated marketing teams can increase efficiency while minimising the compliance risks they face.
The second category covers tools like Hootsuite, Hubspot, Marketo and Eloqua – systems that automate the dissemination of marketing content. These might be automated email systems; tools that schedule social media posts, or publish your content to websites.
These marketing automation tools can help to get your material out into the market in a targeted way, maximising the efficiency of your distribution process.
Why marketing automation?
Just from the descriptions above, it’s clear that marketing automation has many benefits. This is particularly true for regulated industries if compliance processes, reviews and approvals can be built into the tools you use.
Let’s look at just a few of the benefits of automated workflow management and approval software:
- They streamline marketing campaign management. They allow you to plan, review, approve and store all marketing materials in one online platform.
- They enable you to brief creative agencies online in real-time. This makes briefing quicker, clearer and easier and minimising rework and agency fees.
- They make collaboration easier. Internally between marketing colleagues in different locations; with Compliance, Sales and other business teams; and with external agencies. This improves teamwork and marketing resource management.
- They make compliance review and sign-off of marketing materials efficient and foolproof. Sign-off stages are automated and Compliance and Marketing teams collaborate online, reducing errors and making the process pain-free.
- They minimise marketing administration. One of Marketing’s main challenges is being bogged down in admin and repetitive tasks relating to content production, review and sign off. Workflow management tools reduce this admin so your team can focus on the tasks you’re best at.
- They also reduce compliance administration. Making compliance processes more efficient helps you get marketing materials approved and out the door faster.
- They improve brand consistency, by making sign off mandatory before material is published. You can lock down branded content to eliminate non-brand compliant materials.
- They improve your digital asset management, ensuring compliant approval and archiving of website content, blogs, emails and social media posts.
- They make it easy to publish approved content. At the press of a button, you can publish approved documents automatically to your website or other third-party applications like your CRM system or document library.
- They automatically archive all marketing material and digital media, with full version histories. This enables you to comply painlessly with FCA regulations.
Automated publishing and distribution tools also have an impressive list of benefits:
- They improve operational efficiency by scheduling time-consuming manual marketing activity – social media posts; email marketing.
- They therefore free marketers up to focus on creative projects, rather than the administrative tasks needed to manage this activity manually.
- This means that marketing teams can achieve more with less; becoming more efficient and productive without the need to increase headcount or agency spend.
- They can improve targeting and segmentation. Making it easy to segment your audience enables you to focus your marketing, with improved results.
- They enable you to refine your approach. The analytics and insight such systems can deliver enable continuous improvement in your marketing campaigns and tactics.
Marketing automation software – whether in the production, sign-off, publishing or dissemination of your materials – has huge benefits for Marketing teams.
Why does automation particularly benefit regulated marketers?
In regulated firms, these benefits can be amplified.
Compliance approval adds a whole layer of complexity to marketing collateral. Whether it’s digital marketing, like emails, tweets or web content, or more traditional brochures, RFPs, bid documents and factsheets – all your financial promotions need compliance sign-off.
Inefficient review and approval processes can slow you down, impacting your ability to get new products and solutions to market. Often, these processes are manual and labour-intensive, with duplication and repetition.
Workflow management tools enable online collaboration, enabling closer working between Marketing, Compliance, Sales teams and the rest of the business. Our blog on the benefits of marketing automation for compliance teams looks in more detail at how automation improves regulatory compliance.
In short, then, marketing automation can make marketing processes more efficient and effective, with easier and more targeted ways to distribute your marketing collateral. For regulated businesses, the benefits are increased via the ability to integrate effortless compliance approvals into the marketing production process.
If you would like to read more about the ways marketing automation is helping financial services marketers, you might want to read our whitepaper on the benefits of automated workflows. It’s free, and you can download a copy here.