Everyone’s looking for an edge. Especially in business, where the average ‘middle’ retailer is struggling hard against every day commodities and luxury items.
What’s more is that omni-channel retailers have access to the same technologies and applications that could potentially give their businesses a competitive advantage. From CRMs, to Marketing Automation, to ERP software, there’s an affordable cloud-based app out there for every business.
So how can an omni-channel retailer secure a competitive advantage using these tools that potentially everyone has access to?
Well, the good news is it’s not necessarily the tool, but how you use it that can bring your business untold success – or sink it completely. In this blog post, we’ll focus on how you can get the most out of your Marketing Automation applications and secure an edge over your competitors.
Step 1: Set Your Goals & Strategy
No application or technology stack – no matter how much you pay for it – will replace the premiere importance of goals and strategy when it comes to your business’ competitive advantage. That’s why setting your goals and creating a strategy that will allow you to reach said goals should always be a first step with any new large endeavor.
So before you start forking over money for a Marketing Automation solution that surely will put your business over the top, start with what your goals for using/upgrading/changing your Marketing Automation application are. Consider what your brand stands for, and what kind of experience you want to engender with your customers and audience. Only then move on to Step 2!
Step 2: Choose The Right Marketing Automation Platform
Way too often we run into companies in trouble because they picked the cheapest option when searching for a new solution to a business problem.
Never mind choosing a Marketing Automation application on price alone as a quick way to get yourself into trouble, choosing the right Marketing Automation platform for your company should fit your goals and strategies in step one. Not all Marketing Automation software is created equal, so do your homework.
One thing you should be especially careful in researching when looking for a new Marketing Automation platform is whether or not it has an API. APIs are how the program is able to ‘talk’ to other programs, which is crucial for integrating your Marketing Automation solution into your existing technology stack (Step 3). Do some Googling, and when in doubt, reach out to the platform’s support team to get more information on how easily the platform can be integrated with other programs. (And you can always ask VL, too!)
Step 3: Tie Everything Together
So you’ve set goals, created a strategy to get you there, and have picked the right Marketing Automation software or cloud application that is API ready. Now what?
You now have all the right puzzle pieces in your hands, now all that’s left to do to get things up and running and actually working for you is putting them together. Tying all your applications into your Marketing Automation application is essential, as it links all the disparate ‘islands’ of data and technology together, giving your business a complete picture of who the customer is. But how?
You could choose the plug-and-play integration route – this works fine if you’re a small business just getting things going. But even if you’re at this stage, you should plan for how your business is going to grow, and how your integrations will need to scale with it.
If you’re a bigger, more established company with a certain threshold of orders, you really should skip the plug-and-play option and head straight for a customized omni-channel data integration solution. These solutions are scalable, are more robust than plug-and-play integrations, and will last you a lifetime or more. VL’s Hub and Spoke method of data integration has seen the bulk of our customers stay with us for an average of 10 years – we’ve even had a few who have been with us since 1994! Chat with us to learn more.
Learn more about picking the right integration solution for your business here.
Step 4: Maintenance
Just like having all the pieces together but not connecting them via omni-channel data integration, flipping your Marketing Automation application’s switch to ‘On’ and leaving it be won’t be enough to generate a significant competitive edge for your business. You need to maintain it!
You can maintain your Marketing Automation through:
- Regular health checks: ensure that you’re on-track to achieving the goals you set out in Step 1. Set benchmark goals to keep your goals on track.
- Look into hiring a Data Cleansing Service to ensure your customers’ data is correct and up-to-date. VL offers an address cleansing service as part of its VL OMNI service.
- Keep an eye on your customer data. VL’s VL OMNI app helps you do this by seeing in real time where your data is, it’s success rate, and much more.
Step 5: Win Your Customers Life-Long Love
And voila, you’re on your way to nurturing your customers into life-long clients through successful Marketing Automation integration! Of course, having a great product, brand, and presence go a long way into securing your competitive edge, but fully integrated and optimized Marketing Automation (along with the rest of your technology stack) is a strong step in the right direction.
Not convinced that properly integrated Marketing Automation with your technology stack using the Hub-and-Spoke methodology can be the difference maker? Check out VL’s client, Listen To Your Gut in this case study, and featured in this Financial Post article.
Book a conversation with VL to learn more about integrating your Marketing Automation application with your existing technology stack:
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