It’s clear that the benefits of e-invoicing automation are not limited to increased efficiency, cost and time savings. The transition from manual to digital payment processes is also unlocking previously inaccessible data that has real value for businesses. Intelligent e-invoicing features like Tungsten Network Analytics are helping Buyers act on this data to make smarter decisions, for instance, by identifying smarter sourcing opportunities so that Buyers can reward the best Suppliers with more business. E-invoicing doesn’t merely improve the process of invoicing—it improves the process of doing business.
In marketing, a similar development is unfolding. The field has evolved tremendously in the last couple of decades thanks to digital transformation. While once marketers could rely on heavy spending in traditional media like TV, radio, magazines and mail to reach their prospects and customers, digital technologies now offer up a diverse range of media, including email, online ads, websites, social media, blogs, apps and more, all of which demand new approaches and strategies.
Marketing automation tools have evolved to remove much of the manual friction of managing this media—for example, by automating the sending of targeted emails to select segmented audiences.
Meanwhile, the results generated by digital marketing (i.e. the data) are also subject to automation. Digital channels are interactive, allowing audiences to share, like, repost, reply, retweet and even start conversations with brands. These interactions provide multiple data points that, taken in the aggregate, offer a more complex and nuanced understanding of marketing success, as well as audience mindsets.
This increased visibility enables a higher level of customization. Customers and prospects are no longer bound to one-size-fits-all messages from brands. For example, instead of receiving a single email targeted to everyone, a prospect might receive a customized email because she’s acted on a previous offer, or because she’s shown an interest in a specific kind of content. The point being that marketing automation allows brands to more easily address their audiences as individuals, rather than as a group.
That’s important because of the friction that many consumers associate with marketing: the hassle of getting deluged by marketing messages that aren’t relevant to them. Brands that can eliminate this friction thanks to automation—by talking to their prospects and customers in ways that are of specific interest to them based on demonstrated patterns of behavior or actions they’ve taken—have a better chance of building trusted relationships with them.
Inefficient, ineffective processes can strain any relationship. Buyers who don’t have to field phone calls from frustrated Suppliers about invoice status, and cash-strapped Suppliers who can opt for early payments instead of waiting until the terms have been met, have fewer reasons for resentment or mistrust, and more resources to do bigger and better things together.
Likewise, marketers who aren’t overwhelmed by process have more opportunities to get to know their audiences. Which is why digital transformation isn’t always about getting things done faster, cheaper and more efficiently, but about helping people—Buyers and Suppliers, or marketers and customers—find a common purpose and work toward it.