In the world of transformational marketing, entrepreneurs with growing businesses have to make a critical decision: Should you maintain a small-scale brand—or do you want to grow into something bigger?

I remember a conversation I had with Mr. Truett Cathy, the Founder of Chick-fil-A, during which he shared a paradigm shift he’d once gone through. I paraphrase, but he told me something along these lines: I can serve any of my customers, in any of my 2000 stores better than any of my employees. But I can’t be in 2000 places at once. So, I have to create processes and train my employees to fulfill the Chick-fil-A experience my customers have come to expect.

So, Mr. Cathy made the leap. He now has a business that has scaled because he created a system that will scale. His approach was to create the perfect chicken sandwich in the perfect store and then scale it with care and confidence—and with marketing automation.

The business approach he took obviously had implications for marketing. And if you want to scale your own business, manual processes are going to limit your growth potential to your personal capacity. With marketing automation, however, you can create a system that will scale with ruthless consistency.

With the advent of modern technology, marketing a business has never been easier. For those who are unfamiliar, the essential advantage of marketing automation centers on the use of advanced software tools to automate and optimize business processes. You can thereby reduce repetitive tasks, like creating press releases, scheduling social media updates, managing your email campaigns, responding to queries from customers or prospects, and scheduling your email newsletters. With automation, all you have to do is log onto the online management platform and let the system handle it all for you.

So, if you’re a business owner, or sales and marketing executive leader, here are four marketing automation toolboxes you need to invest in today:

Customer Relationship Management

Before joining TopRight, I was an executive at Microsoft where I was responsible for the CRM practices in the greater Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets. The technology has greatly evolved, but the primary benefits include:

  • Customer Database This database contains all of your contacts, companies and opportunities in one place.
  • Pipeline Management This tracks your business leads from qualified opportunities through your various sales stages to closed deals.
  • Sales Forecasting This is based on what’s in your pipeline and the sales stage. The further down the funnel, the greater the percentage of closing the deal. As you forecasted revenue you can discount it based on the sale stage. The best practice is to have enough activity so that you always have deals closing.

I truly consider CRM the foundation of any good MarTech platform. Without a good database, you won’t be able to build customer relationships and nurture deals at scale.

Marketing Automation

Once your CRM is in place, you can start thinking about executing marketing campaigns. For this, there are two solutions that most of us know well: SharpSpring and HubSpot.

SharpSpring is an email marketing automation and direct selling lead scoring software system for small businesses to remain active in connecting with their clients through every person’s interests and preferences. This program is an online database that can be accessed by any individual and give them the ability to build and maintain a database of their own. This allows access to information on each client through their interests, user profiles, demographics, and past buying behaviors.

HubSpot is a leading developer and business coach of online software programs for inbound sales, customer service and marketing. The company has an entire department intended for marketing and sales called the HubSpot Marketing Team. They’re made up of marketers and sales managers. Their goal is to help clients achieve objectives and become more successful in their industries. If you’re looking to increase your inbound sales, reach out to your customers more often, or become more effective in your own business, HubSpot can help automate content and social marketing efforts.

A Few Others. For SEO and data-driven eesults, there are some other advanced scientific marketing approaches and automation strategies available. Check out Game of Serps for more relevant content that can be tailored to your specific needs. If you want to educate yourself on the latest marketing trends using this software, check out some reliable marketing automation posts here.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are not off in the distant future, the technology is right here and now. AI and ML are causing massive disruptions and rapidly transforming the marketing landscape.

AI marketing uses artificial intelligence technologies to make automated decisions based on data collection, data analysis, and additional observations of audience or economic trends that may impact marketing efforts. AI is often used in marketing efforts where speed is essential.

As consumer expectations grow for more personalized, relevant, and assistive experiences, ML is becoming an invaluable tool to help meet those demands. Through algorithms, ML focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it learn for themselves. It’s helping marketers create smarter customer segmentations, deliver more relevant creative campaigns, and measure performance more effectively.

At TopRight, we partner with several AI and ML companies to get better results, faster. As we create stories, strategies and aligned systems, AI and ML are an integral part of our playbook.

For example, Beehive AI is a solution for continuously collecting and transforming customers’ free-form expressions in unstructured data into actionable insights, so that we can make better decisions around things like expanding product lines, identifying customer segments, and developing targeted ads

Data Analytics

This crucial for data-driven marketing. Data analytics helps a business predict consumer behavior, improve personalization, and focuses on identifying customers that are aligned to your target markets according to their consumer preferences. Solid marketing analytics improves decision-making across the board and helps to determine the ROI of your marketing efforts.

There are some familiar players in the game of analytics, Google Analytics being the big one. But CRMs like SharpSpring have their own in-house analytics that can help optimize data regarding email, website, social media, and much else. As we say at TopRight, it’s not good enough to simply have the numbers, you have to know what to do with them. So your analytics shows that you have a growing audience—but is it the right audience, are they paying the right kind of attention to your content, and are they coming back for more?

Using your analytics appropriately, breaking down the numbers according to location, identity, industry, and other categories, will help you answer these questions and thereby help you to grow your brand in the way you want.

The Takeaway

With a new generation of computer- and internet-savvy consumers, more marketers have been using these tools to automate processes. These applications have been designed to improve efficiency and scale your brand. So, if you’re planning to boost marketing automation processes, put a lot of thought into how you can choose the right automation vendor that suits your needs.