Column of the Month: Marketing Automation

Column of the Month – Gerrit van Leeuwen, Conversion Optimization Specialist, Yourzine.

It’s join or quit. There’s no middle ground. Without marketing automation, marketers will lose the battle for the consumer. That’s the general trend in marketing land. But is that really true?

Marketing automation?
Is marketing automation just another buzzword that we, as marketers, have to comply with? Personally, my skin crawls when I read the description that Wikipedia gives for Marketing Automation. This description is so inside out: technology can never be leading, but it can be supportive.

Wikipedia on Marketing Automation: ‘Refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.’

I, myself, prefer not to talk about marketing automation, but rather about data-driven marketing. Because automation alone is not enough. The same with content, data insights and the right triggers. Only with data-driven marketing can the current marketing platforms, such as Tripolis Dialogue, be used optimally. Technology is thus supportive here, and not leading.

But what still bothers me a little about data-driven marketing and also about marketing automation is the word ‘marketing’. After all, it is no longer just a marketing party. Other processes can also be tackled, optimized and standardized. And over the long term, a data-driven campaign can help us achieve our goals or even provide cost savings. Just think, for example, of welcoming new customers with a mail complete with answers to the five most frequently asked questions. That alone will reduce the pressure on your customer care staff, while the consumer feels understood.

Sad projects
For a long time, it was not technologically possible to perform data-driven marketing on a large scale. But much work has been done recently on the quantity of content, analysis capabilities have increased, and the marketing platform can give you a hand here! We can now start. But, unfortunately, it’s not that simple anymore. Especially since a large number of organizations set up sad project teams and thus miss the essence entirely. Many organizations want to start too big, do too much at once. Which often results in big budgets that are thrown around and a business case that is far from incomplete. Recognizable?

Start small, start smart! In many cases that will be a data-driven email marketing campaign. Make a small business case for a campaign that is relatively easy to set up: how many people do I need to approach to realize a certain amount of revenue or cost savings. This is the first big step. This is the first time that you may or may not go through with this campaign. If the light is green, my advice is to first set up this campaign manually. Evaluate the campaign depending on the desired follow-up action of your recipient after x number of days. Has it been successful and can you also repeat it? Make a few improvements where you can and then set up an automatically triggered (thus data-driven) campaign.

The next step
The business case has been made, the burden of proof has been met with the creation of a manual campaign. As marketer, you now have the approval to continue building. A step further each time. But make sure you don’t forget the under layer: low-hanging fruit will be the foundation for your data-driven campaigns. You can then make a difference with the somewhat more complex campaigns where you integrate web behavior, social media channels or traditional DM, for example. Happy hunting!

Column of the Month – Gerrit van Leeuwen, Conversion Optimization Specialist, Yourzine.