If your organization spends under $50K a week on advertisement, don’t waste your time on marketing automation.  It’ll cost your organization more money then it’ll save. Instead, work on your data accessibility, data processing, and data visualization. Any investment you make on building infrastructure and using visualization to make decisions will add knowledge for your marketing efforts in the future.
When it comes to deciding whether AI should come first, I will say you have 6 levers as a marketing person. Out of the six, two should be controlled by your finance team, even though they have a direct effect on the marketing team.

Marketing automation levers which are actually financial

    • Media Mix Modeling (MMM) – This tool allows you to allocate the budget between your different partners. The idea is to invest your budget in the smartest way possible to maximize your return on the investment. This is, as I see it, a pure controller tool and not a marketer decision. A small tip from me: always automate 90% of your budget with the MMM model and leave 10% of the budget for challenging the model. It will make everyone happy.
    • Bid optimization and campaign budgeting – This tool allows you to change your campaign’s bidding strategy and adapt your bidding according to your return of investment (ROI) strategy. This is also a pure financing tool. The budget should be given by them and as so the need to optimize it based on their needs.

These two levers deal with the budget and need to be attached to the return of the investment. It’s the finance people who need to control the spendings of the company and adapt the spendings to ensure the company is in line. However, it doesn’t mean marketers lose control completely; they will create effect in the core levers.

Marketing automation levers

      • Creative Automation – This tool is all about taking your creatives and categorizing them, analyzing them and then automating them so your graphic designer can focus on coming up with new concepts to improve your user engagement. The more you invest in this tool, the better your performance will become in the long term.
      • Audience segmentation – Since GDPR, many will say that audience segmentation has become a word no marketer is willing to say out loud. But let’s face it. We do have this information, and we do track and collect events inside our app. Why not use them to build segmentation and set our marketing efforts for these users?
      • Campaign setup – This is a core tool which communicates with our partners. While we have a budget, we should spend our effort to create endless new campaigns with new creatives and new audiences and try to match the best creative to our audience. Automating this process will free you to become creative and challenge your audience and creative systems.
      • Placement – Given that I have the budget, where do I place my campaigns?  Where should I set up the next campaign using the audience and creatives I have and how do I do A/B testing for them? It’s important to keep track of your campaign and the placement. Facebook and Snapchat will give you different types of users, and you should know how to personalize the message to the platform you use.

But before you even start building this automation, you better make sure your data infrastructure is in place and correct. Otherwise, any euro you put into automation from your marketing budget will be a waste of money and you’ll fail in automating the process.
If you wish to start working on marketing automation, start with getting your users comfortable with their data, then allowing them to make decisions based on it, and at the end, give them the power to challenge the computer.

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