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Posted Jun 9, 2015 by Brigg Patten

How to Use Automated Marketing Tools and Data Analytics for Your Store

Few fields of business have enjoyed the spotlight more than marketing during the recent tech boom. New trends like the rise of social media and big data have benefited marketing enormously, both by providing marketers with new ways to get their message out and giving them ever more information to use to craft their campaigns.

One of the hottest new ways for marketers to reach out to their audience is to use automation tools that will handle communication with each customer as they move through the life cycle of engagement with the product. This is something that really depends on the company having a big Web presence, but it can help free up a lot of time for people who would otherwise be manually sending out emails and messages.

Basics of Automated Marketing

The way these tools work is that the user, who is in charge of marketing or outreach for a company or product, sets certain triggers. These triggers are customer actions, like adding an item to a cart, making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, or adding something to a wishlist. When a customer performs a trigger action, the automated service can send them a predetermined message. HubSpot is one example of a marketing automation resources for small businesses.

For an Ecwid merchant, for example, one way to think of a type of marketing automation is through customer email notifications, which are sent directly to merchant’s customers after a transaction is made. This is prime real estate for simple messages to entice customers to return to a store for future purchases.

It’s a simple idea, but the results are quite powerful. Large swathes of the customer pipeline can now be automated and controlled by software. The software can track the engagement of different customers and guide them through the funnel.

Integration with Other Apps

On top of that, the best and most well-known automation services attract third-party support apps. HubSpot, Marketo, and Pardot all have the ability to connect to exterior applications that provide even more useful services based on the data in the automation service. For example, among the most powerful HubSpot integrations includes DataHero, a data visualization and graphing tool. DataHero can summarize the information about how customers engage with the brand and which customers are most likely to engage in pictures that are worth millions of words.

If you’re dealing with big data, servers and analytics, aside from visual integration, then you can integrate your data sets with different networks and backend resulting in faster cube/node processing. Microsoft’s BI tools integrated with a Hadoop framework is a popular integration that even small business are using. Allowing what used to be a multiple employee job to be trimmed down to a single employee. Combine that with a visual integration tool and you can pull data from all your sources and visualize it one single dashboard.

Literally saving you time and money.

Using Customer Data

While the power of the automation services allows for a great deal of hands-off customer relationship management, there are further benefits. Tapping into all of the data that these services collect about what actions customers take on the website is a major source of innovation. Consider this: a program like HubSpot tracks just about every way a customer acts on a website, for all customers.

That kind of data can inform how a business should design its website, how it should design its product, shed light onto which demographics are most interested in the product, provide guidance about what demographics to target next and what products might interest them, and many more applications. The possibilities for using marketing data on customers are endless.

The ability to layer visualization on top of analysis, the way DataHero and similar apps work, is icing on the cake. With this much data, it isn’t easy to make sense out of it just from the bare numbers. Pictures and graphs that tell the story go a lot further in showing the executive decision makers just what is going on and how to move next. Data visualization is a part of data science that makes data easier to understand and easier to present, so it is especially useful for areas where the sheer amount of data would otherwise by overwhelming. Customer data in marketing is just such an area.

Total Value from Automation

So automation services for marketing have much more value than they first appear to have. The ability to automatically manage a customer by communicating with them based on their actions is powerful enough, but the ability to use the data these services collect is worth the price of admission on its own. It is a whole new approach to strategy, because until recently, few companies ever had the tools to collect large amounts of customer data or the ability to understand that data.

Now, even small businesses can tap into data analytics to get a customer’s eye view of their brand. It is small wonder that data is transforming marketing. Whether it is the direct use of data to communicate, as with the automated tools, or the indirect use of data to build overall strategy, the common thread is that collecting data is only going to become more rewarding as companies find new ways to leverage it.