RAAK_Blog-Header_Marketing Automation

Workflow automation. Or how to do more with less in 4 steps.

Marketing automation will be one of the crucial landmarks in every marketing roadmap for the next couple of years. Some brands already have a fully integrated setup, whilst some brands are only just kicking off with automation.

And when asking brands how they define marketing automation, you will get a multitude of answers ranging from ‘lead scoring’, ‘triggered marketing’ to ‘programmatic marketing’,… All of them are correct, given that they are all external processes - from your brand to your customer. However, you can also spare yourself and your company a lot of time, effort and money by automating internal processes.

Enter workflow automation
This approach is already deeply nested in different departments of your company. The IT department will find solutions to speed up processes and make tasks easier. Or if you have a production unit, concepts like total quality management, business processing or logistics will sound very familiar. The idea is simple: if you streamline the production process and automate as much as possible, you’ll lower your operational costs, create higher margins and facilitate new initiatives.

How to get started in 4 steps

Step 1 | Map out your workflow
Keep track of all the tasks you have to do on a weekly or monthly basis, and register the time you spend on each task.
Ex.: When you create an email you spend 2 hours on content collection, 2 hours on designs, half an hour on data management, 2 hours on copywriting, an hour on HTML, and about an hour and a half on campaign management plus testing and reporting. We’ve used round figures as an example – try to be as specific and accurate as possible.

Step 2 | Look for repetitive tasks
Which tasks are recurring per campaign and deliver the same output every time? Creating design is repetitive but has a different output. Reporting uses different numbers but has the same output. Try looking for those automation opportunities in content collection, data management and reporting, as they are the key repetitive tasks.

Step 3 | Find out how you can cut corners
This requires creativity and some outside-the-box thinking. An easy trick is to start with the result you want to achieve, rather than the process itself. Try pinpointing other ways to get the results that cut out manual work. Take content collection, for example. Instead of browsing for content yourself, ask departments to deliver and share content data management: still exporting from your CRM, deducting your unsubscribes and upload your database manually per campaign. Could linking your platforms with good API’s be an option? Or what about adding some automation to your reporting work: dive into your ESP, download the reports and structure them. Or maybe it’s time to set up a reporting framework and draw in the results to this directly...

Step 4 | Set it up
You have the ideas, now it’s time for action! Be on the lookout for an applicable solution for each of your tasks.
Content collection: an internal knowledge network where all employees could post relevant articles.
Data management: sit down with your IT, CRM supplier and ESP platform. How can you automate the data you have as much as possible?
Reporting: draw out a wireframe with the reports you want and ask a developer to build the interface and set up the API’s.


you could save about 3 hours per campaign by simply setting up the right automated internal processes. Put into perspective: if you have a weekly newsletter, this could save you almost 20 days per year. So with a total average wage cost for an email marketer of € 60/hour, automation could save you roughly € 9.360 a year. This operation frees up time to spend on new initiatives and a budget to roll them out. Now, you do the math for your own brand…

Posted on
Feb 19, 2015