At Automation Day 2017, we sat down with Mika Aalto of Kasko Digital to get his opinions on the current marketing automation landscape, common mistakes companies make, and how open source marketing automation could be the key driver of the future of any company’s technology ecosystem. Read the the interview or watch the video below.
I’m here with Mika, and thank you for joining me on Automation Day. Perhaps you could you introduce yourself to everybody more than just the name?
Of course! My first name is Mika, which is also a girls’ name in Japan as I told you earlier, my last name is Aalto, and I come from Finland. I’m a partner in a company called Kasko Digital where we focus on marketing automation and pro reviews of marketing automation as a consultancy, and also a technology company.
And for marketing automation we have a mutual interest there; where do you see the market as it is right now?
I think it’s a common development with any technology that we start with a little bit of a narrower approach, but to me marketing automation is too narrow when we are choosing a technology. I think you have to consider much broader view.
Our vision is customer experience automation which means that we have to take into account every customer touch point that we have, not starting only from marketing but going all the way to services and whatever processes that we have with the customer. Therefore, we really need to put in an effort into the technology selection phase and invest in that so are sure that we are not selecting the wrong technology.
You mentioned different customer touch points, and there’s virtually millions nowadays; integrating that with software can be really difficult, but Mautic is open source. Do you think this makes it much easier to integrate with?
Absolutely, and I think that’s one of the major benefits of having an open source technology – it’s open. You can basically do anything with it so you can integrate any solution; but then you need to be sure that relying on one option does not limit your own vision in deploying automation in your demand creation processes. It’s not only marketing, it’s demand creation as a whole.
And you primarily work in Finland, but also cover the rest of the Nordic countries correct?
Yeah we have just started the business in Finland but we have a wide contact network across the Nordic countries and that’s where we are aiming at.
For that region do you think, with your own knowledge of software and marketing automation, that there’s a difference in client expectations that you’ve noticed?
Well I think that the structure of the market is a little different. Basically in Finland we have quite a lot of B2B companies compared to B2C. Sweden is more advanced in consumer markets. They have big brands that are global. Norway is closer to Finland in that regard.
I think that all the markets are pretty advanced when it comes to technology so the penetration of marketing automation is already quite high, and smaller companies are now beginning to adapt to it so I think that’s going to be our major focus in the beginning – to deliver solutions to small and midsize companies.
On the opposite end of the scale you obviously have the larger companies, who I think perhaps make technology decisions based on the brand name or based on very little knowledge; is that something you’re observing at the same time?
Absolutely. I think that it’s not a technology decision as such, even though the technology will be an important part of it, but you have to have your act together before thinking about the technology.
That means you have to have a customer promise to build on, a content strategy which is implemented and that you can utilise, to gather your requirements starting with language versions, and essentially go through all the processes that you’ll need to include in the future. It’s a big process even before the implementation.
I think that this is one of the mistakes that many companies are doing; that they select a technology and then they start to implement marketing automation. That’s not the way I actually recommend to do it.
And you would ever recommend starting with marketing automation or do you think marketing automation is somewhere in the middle of that technology adoption process as a whole?
I think everything has to be linked with the business strategy and there is a certain sort of roadmap you need to build, and then there is space for marketing automation implementation, but you have to be ready for it. You have to have resources, you have to have knowledge, and you have know how to get the benefits out of the system.
And to get that knowledge, what advice would you give to complete novice?
I think that marketing automation as a service is the best way to start. Of course start to build your own knowledge and competencies, but have agencies and content developers outside of your company and build on their already developed best practices. Then when you have a little bit more knowledge and understanding about it you can start to build your own operations and your own people. At that stage hire young people, that’s my advice.
And in regards to the technology development of marketing automation, where do you see that going in the next three to five years?
I think that artificial intelligence will definitely have an effect on marketing automation, machine learning is already there, and different kind of chat bots and speech recognition. I think we’ll see all of this technology merged into marketing automation so that we see more automation than we have at the moment.
Mika Aalto is an experienced digital architecture and customer experience consultant, now partner at Kasko Digital; a Finland-based marketing automation and content marketing agency. You can keep up to date with Mika on his professional Twitter, or with Kasko Digital through their Twitter and LinkedIn.
You can also watch this interview through the YouTube player below: