Tips on How to Accomplish the Hard Work Related to Marketing Automation


Tips on How to Accomplish the Hard Work Related to Marketing Automation

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  June 22, 2015

As business people and individuals who operate in a world in which technology is playing an increasing role, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the onslaught of new skillsets involved for our jobs and new tools we need to master, or at least consider using to stay competitive.

The last issue of CUSTOMER contained a cover story about the rise of marketing automation software, and how that’s changing the marketing arena as we know it – by introducing an unprecedented amount of technology and analysis involved. It went on to note that martech pundit Scott Brinker says it’s difficult to find this breed of individuals, which he refers to as unicorns and says: “Good luck finding such mythical creatures.”

Of course, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. The bottom line is that when new tools and trends arise, we often just have to figure things out as we go. The good news is that the process for doing that in this age of accelerating change and new technologies may not be so different from how we’ve always done it. And sometimes it helps just to know we’re not alone as we grapple to get a handle on our new reality.

“At the end of the day, we are all stumbling our way into this,” Corey Craig, experience design and innovation lead at Dell (News - Alert), said about always-on marketing and customer experience design, during a presentation earlier this year.

Craig then went on to detail her experience as a customer experience designer and the processes she uses to help in her day-to-day work and the strategy to reach customers. These practices have helped yield Dell, which just two years ago had a 1 percent email click-through rate, a 30 percent open rate on its communications with customers and prospects, and three times higher average order values.

One of those is to ensure that Dell is where customers are, she said. Customers spend 70 percent of their customer journey online researching products and services before they even talk to a sales rep, she noted, so the purchase funnel is no longer linear. Dell’s goal, she added, is to help its customers through all those twists and turns. She added that it’s true that “80 percent of success is just showing up.”

Let’s say a product manager Jim has a security breach, she offered as an example. He fixes it, then he gets online to start researching how to avoid security breaches of his company in the future, so he visits the Dell website. That’s an indicator of intent, said Craig.

Content is what nurtures the intent, she added, so Dell makes sure it’s at the ready with a targeted email to send to Jim, and an automated system in place to find that email and get it to Jim quickly. Knowing what to send and when to send it is really dependent on your logic – which is where data and content come together, she said, adding this is your “if, then” statement.

While this ultimately became automated, it relies on a lot of manual work to figure out what can and should be automated, she added. Dell has 45 emails ready to go, but deciding on the subject matter of those emails, and then creating and editing them involved a lot of manual effort, she noted.

Figuring out where to start in such marketing efforts, including understanding prevalent customer needs and how best to address them with content, also involves a lot of initial analysis and planning, she indicated. To do that Craig said it is helpful to visualize complex ideas.

“We all need to be really great explainers,” she said.

For Craig, visualization involved turning in her notebook for a sketchpad and printing up a 6-foot posters that her team can look at and write on to figure out goals and processes for meeting those goals. The team also creates look books of everything it is trying to accomplish with its program around marketing automation, and it puts those books online so people within the group and from other Dell divisions can educate themselves on the efforts and messaging.

Because so much is involved in marketing automation, she added, it makes sense to start small and start manual. Otherwise, she said, the task can become overwhelming.

And at the beginning of and throughout the process, she added, understand and keep in mind the experience you want to provide Jim and your other customers.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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