The implementation of Big Data has transformed the way businesses function, all the way down to their core processes. With this development comes the ability to automate many business functions that previously would have required extensive time and training for employees. Some areas lend themselves to automation more than others, and there are a lot of factors to consider when you are considering automating parts of your business.
From inventory orders to marketing campaigns, businesses of all sizes benefit from automation. Your business can utilize the data that customers already provide to create targeted marketing campaigns, personalize customer experiences, build customer loyalty, and develop relationships with your clients. There are some key areas to look at when deciding to integrate automation into your business.
Targeted marketing is extremely common, and some services are expanding its applications, especially where remarketing campaigns are concerned. For example, Google Display runs automatic targeting as a default, showing your ads to potential customers who have similar patterns and characteristics as your current target audience.
While this can be extremely useful, it should be noted that it gives Google discretion as to where and when these additional ads are being shown. This can impact your marketing budget in unexpected ways, and in some cases, you’ll see lower conversion rates than you would with standard targeted marketing.
2. Internal Communication
As your business grows and team sizes increase, utilizing automation for communication within your company can help develop transparent lines of communication. Tools like Slack, Google Chat, and other team communication tools can make your team more available to each other outside of meetings, and make group communication much smoother.
Many of these services also provide options for audio or video chat, offering flexible options for remote meetings and work. This integrated communication also factors greatly into project and task management. With tools that interface with project management and email functions, you can keep your team on task and in touch.
3. Project and Task Management.
Project management involves a lot of task tracking, communication and organization. By automating functions such as task assignment or communication of project changes, you can create a smooth project plan that moves projects along quickly and successfully. It will also reduce the workload on your project managers, allowing them to focus more intently on project and team development.
Project management systems like Asana, JIRA, and ClickUp provide customizable dashboards and settings that let team members keep track of the statuses of each project, and receive notifications when a task’s status changes. Some systems will even track how much time each person spends on their portion of a project. This will generate more data for effectively planning and allocating resources for your future projects.
4. Back Room Automation
One of the qualities of small businesses that consumers find attractive is the unique, personalized experience they receive. If you are looking to automate and grow your business while retaining your unique identity, consider focusing automation on back-of-the-house functions such as payroll, inventory, and other more tedious operations. Payroll, inventory, and ordering can all be automated and streamlined, reducing tedious and repetitive workloads for employees.
By focusing your automation resources on data collection and sorting, you free up your employees to focus on providing the unique and compassionate care that customers are accustomed to. In addition, providing your teams with clear information allows them to fulfill their roles at all levels with greater attention to detail and without spending valuable time on organizing and parsing data. Analytics teams especially benefit from this type of automation, as they are able to focus on insights extrapolated from market and client data.
5. Create Responsive Social Media
Building a social media presence is an essential part of modern business that allows you to connect directly with your target audience. You can reduce the time investment needed by utilizing automated social marketing systems, and make your marketing more effective. From scheduling posts and event announcements ahead of time to using programs like Grow to build your audience, automation can significantly reduce repetitive work and increase your social media impact.
You can also set notifications to know when your business is being talked about, or when something important to you is mentioned in the news. This allows you to focus on responding to clients and building direct connections, rather than maintaining posting times and tracking news stories.
6. Improve Customer Loyalty and User Experience
If your business utilizes an online store, this can be an excellent opportunity for automation that will make your current customers feel taken care of, increase customer engagement, and convert viewers to clients. Point-of-sale systems can be customized using the buying history, information, and choices that your customers have used in the past. This data can all feed into automated email marketing systems that will contact customers when new deals are available or suggest subscribing to particular items that they buy on a regular basis.
This is also an excellent tool to help you maintain loyalty programs that offer reduced pricing or free products and services for continued business. By tracking customers’ purchases and engaging with them in direct response to how they use your website, you can develop extensive customer loyalty. By building loyalty through engagement, connection, and data tracking, you can build an exceptional user experience.
Finding the Right Balance
There are many factors to consider when integrating automated systems into your business. Figuring out which resources are right for you can be difficult, and if changes lack documentation, they can muddy communication, create more work, and slow processes.
Luckily, when it comes to automation, there are many resources and methodologies available to help you decide. Monitoring the success or failure of another business’s attempts at utilizing automation tools is one of the most important decision-making methods you could use.
By watching the effect that various tools have on another business, you can gain information about which tools will be most beneficial to you. Whether it is in marketing, inventory, or customer service, tracking the use of new technology and tools by other businesses is an excellent way to make strategic decisions for your own. By making informed decisions based both on research and real-life handling of data and experiences, you can help ensure success as you move forward with automation.
It’s important to remember that automation and Big Data don’t devalue the people driving the company, and its purpose is to make their jobs smoother and their roles easier. By targeting specific areas of your company that help your teams work more efficiently, you can build faster customer service, improve internal functions, and maintain a clear voice and personality for your brand. Marketing tools, data analysis, back-end functions, and customer experience are key areas to focus on when considering automation.
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