The rise of automation technology is making marketing teams more efficient than ever - however, there's more to marketing automation than meets the eye. A survey from Ascend2 found that 31% of marketers say that a lack of employee skills is preventing them from reaping the full benefits of marketing automation. As a result, marketing professionals with automation skills are in massive demand.
According to research from the Digital Marketing Institute, 44% of marketing leaders believe that automation will become a more important skill in 2020. Marketers will need to bear this in mind when expanding their skillset, and employers will need to prioritize automation proficiencies when retraining team members and hiring new employees.
Marketing automation can decrease the amount of work, while increasing leads and sales, so it's not surprising that more companies are using this technology to get more done.
Here are four automation skills marketers will need to brush up on in order to remain competitive in the workplace.
Being tech-savvy is integral to implementing automation tools, however it's equally important for marketers to have excellent communication and teamwork skills. From marketing to technical support, roles in marketing automation require collaboration among various teams in the company.
Marketers need to be able to communicate with other stakeholders to meet the company's business objectives. For example, if the aim is to increase sales by X percent, then marketing and sales teams have to work together to create an effective strategy. After all, the marketing team will use automation tools to generate, nurture, and qualify leads, and send these to the sales department to take over and convert.
Rather than working in silos, it's vital that marketers bring together the two teams, especially if marketing automation tools are involved. They should know the capabilities of the software, and be able to help sales understand what they can achieve working alongside marketing.
2. Automation processes and workflows
Processes and workflows are another key part of marketing automation, therefore marketers should be able to define and document the requirements for executing automated campaigns. This includes how to create, deploy, manage, track, and measure.
Aside from automated campaigns, marketers should be able to refine the workflows of complex processes, such as lead qualification, lead distribution, drip campaigns, and trigger-based workflows. These processes significantly impact the customer's experience and journey.
Marketing professionals who specialize in automation tend to use flowcharts to map out their plan. Whether it's mapping the process on a whiteboard or digitally, it's crucial that marketers determine the automation process before implementing it in their marketing automation tools of choice.
Creating a flowchart with a transparent process will help marketers document their work, explain it to other team members, and enable them to reference it should anything go wrong.
3. Data analysis
Truly understanding data is essential to creating effective campaigns. Marketers have to be able to read, interpret, and visualize data in order to tweak campaigns and make informed decisions.
Marketers should be able to glean insights from the data they receive through their marketing automation efforts, and apply it to future campaigns and strategies. Proficiency in data can lead to sophisticated marketing that generates better results. It can also help marketers personalize their campaigns and create trigger-based workflows.
Marketers should have the necessary mathematical skills for tracking and reporting analytics - although marketing automation provides analytics functionality, it doesn't always show the exact data needed. Marketers may need to do the math to convert the numbers into actionable data. For example, they may need to determine the percentage of how successful one subject line performs compared to another.
Marketers should have a basic understanding of data analysis to use automation in their marketing efforts successfully.
4. Content creation
Marketing automation cannot succeed without compelling content.
Although automation increases reach, content is what draws in the target audience. Marketers can automate campaigns, but if the content isn't up to par, they won't see the results they desire. Combining automation with effective content creates a formula for success.
For example, marketers developing an automated campaign have to create content for emails, social media, and websites to engage their target audience and convert buyers. They should not only have experience in developing various types of content, but also in knowing how all of that content works together in an automated campaign.
What’s more, it’s important to balance automation with personalization. Marketers should avoid going overboard on automation, remembering to maintain a human touch and make the content feel personal.
The advantage of upskilling
As marketing automation increases, the skillsets of marketers continues to evolve. Those who are keen to learn and develop their automation skills will have a competitive advantage over other marketing professionals.
From data and content to collaboration and workflows, there are numerous areas marketers will need to master to thrive in the era of marketing automation.