Customer journey & marketing automation: the benefits and challenges

Angela Mellak

Back in the early days of digital marketing, marketers performed the ritual of pulling down raw log files from servers to learn insights about where people came from, what pages they visited, what actions they performed and so on. While the rise of Google and various digital tools have helped us overcome such primitive problems, the challenges faced by marketers in today’s buyers landscape have changed a great deal.

Buyers today have more information than they can even use. They are followed by ads everywhere they go on the web. It is not enough for a business to have an online presence. To get enough leads to feed their sales funnel, they need to deliver relevant content to their target audience. moreover they need to build a relationship that the customer buys into. If businesses don’t want their marketing message to get lost or ignored in a sea of competitors, it needs to be authentic and more tailored and personal than ever before. Customers are seeing through the Blogger networks who post for $$.


To achieve this we need to begin with the customer Journey, understanding what is the process of engagement for our customers, across all off and online channels. Then we can understand the opportunities available to engage. While personalisation is becoming essential to drive more sales, it is impossible to manually track down each visitor to a website, identifying them and then sending out relevant messages at a relevant time.

This is where marketing automation comes into picture. Marketing automation platforms, when fed with the right tasks and actions can increase lead generation by up to 5 times while decreasing the manual effort. Marketing automation lets companies achieve a host of different objectives ranging from generating more leads by identifying anonymous web visitors and capturing them with forms, to increasing number of qualified leads by nurturing all leads with personalized content, driving more sales by identifying sales-ready leads for the sales team, and helping them follow up as fast as possible, to improving up-selling and cross-selling by developing and retaining existing customers, and finally seeing a comprehensive ROI for every marketing tactic by tracking the entire sales process from end-to-end.

Proving ROI is an ongoing pain point for marketers, so it’s no surprise that 45% of agencies rely on marketing automation platforms to show ROI and 42% use marketing automation to measure performance for both their own marketing efforts and those of their clients. Nearly 90% of agencies say their marketing automation strategy is successful. *source sharpspring

Then again, there is the mammoth task facing agencies and companies while making the leap to marketing automation : implementation and ease of use.


While there is less manual effort required once the platform is well set up, it does take some expertise and resource to implement and integrate a company’s current processes into a new platform. Dedicated staff time is also required to monitor the results on an on-going basis and aligning objectives accordingly. It is not enough to purchase and install an automation software without feeding it with the right instructions from time to time. E.g. in regards to email marketing, while the software can personalise the content of an email and automatically trigger sending based on certain actions performed by a user, a marketer would still have to construct the email and set new triggers from time to time to prevent periods of no contact.

Marketing is notorious for being difficult to report on, from what’s working and what isn’t, to the ROI of a particular campaign. By capturing every lead that comes in, whether by phone or by form, you’ll have 100% attribution across the board. Among some of the most valuable features of marketing automation are analytics and reporting. Analytics is also the number one need that drives companies’ search for marketing automation. With all your digital assets under one hood, report generation becomes easier and consistent.

In summary, companies that invest initially in understanding their customer engagement opportunities through mapping out the journey, and allocate a part of their marketing budget to automation this can increase their ROI manifold.


About Angela Mellak

A Marketing strategist, passionate about digital she has been focused on seeing women at the forefront of this movement and co-founded the Digital Women’s Network. With a career that spans over two decades in senior marketing roles, media, board and creative agency experience, across verticals such as; Retail, Financial Services, Real estate/Property, Technology/Mobile/Media, Creative/design, Automotive/Manufacturing and FMCG