Marketers realize that an omnichannel customer can only be served properly when having a single customer view. The rapid growth of the demand for marketing automation has proven that increasing awareness.
Omnichannel, multi-channel, whatever you call it: all channels matter in the buying journey. Some channels are more popular among specific target audiences or during specific stages of the path to purchase but in the end they all are important as buyers consult several content sources and information channels.
As no business has one typical customer with one static channel preference, buying behavior or media consumption pattern, cross-channel marketing automation tools have taken a high flight.
Although some vendors like to invent new terms to describe their solutions, marketing automation is what it is: a mix of technology and tactics to have a single view on customers and prospects and to be where customers are at any given time in their lifecycle with clear goals in a customer-centric and – somewhat – automated manner. Pre-purchase, during the buy and after it, with email marketing de facto still playing a big role in it.
And what’s one of the keys towards success? Relevant content. In the end marketing automating is also about providing the right content/information/offers at the right time across the right channels to the right audiences for the right platforms and reasons in a tailored/segmented/personalized way. And that’s what content marketing in most cases is about too (remember content marketing is an umbrella term).
A fast growing market but what about content marketing?
It’s striking to see how often the crucial role of content in marketing automation is still undervalued. Indeed, the number of business that is ready to fully deploy marketing automation with a mature content strategy is still relatively low, while content remains a key challenge.
While content is the glue in all marketing automation processes and in virtually all stages of the buying journey of the connected customer, you would be amazed to know how few businesses using marketing automation, actually have a content marketing strategy, let alone identified their buying personas, analyzed their content gaps or conducted a touchpoint mapping exercise with clear KPIs.
Don’t get me wrong: marketing automation is not about deploying everything right away, it is a staged approach in most cases. But at the very least you start by having a customer-oriented strategy, including an integrated content marketing strategy. And at the very least you are also on the main channels where prospects and customers want to interact with you in this day and age.
There are of course other reasons why marketing automation often fails but most of the reasons why marketing automation fails are effectively about content marketing, processes and resources.