August 23, 2017
Imagine you could read minds.
You could follow the path of Professor X—shave your head, start a school for similarly-gifted youngsters and battle super villains. Instead, you decide to be the best salesperson ever. One day, a customer walks into your store. Using your mind-reading gift, you know exactly what they want. And you have it in stock.
But when it comes time to start selling, you throw away your knowledge. You offer a random product and hope they like it. Does that make sense? Why would someone do that?
It sounds confusing. But that’s what companies are doing by not taking full advantage of marketing automation.
A marketing automation agency helps you keep your customers, increase profit and improve customer experience. Once set up, it doesn’t need much maintenance to run. You need to have marketing automation at your company. But you need to do it the right way.
Marketing automation is creating rules and triggers to handle marketing grunt work across emails, websites and more.
It’s a tool, and like any tool, you should think about a few things before you start drilling holes into drywall. You need a plan. Identify a small number of goals. What outcomes do you want to achieve? Work backwards and align your build to them.
If you’re uncertain on adding a rule or qualifier, don’t add it. The problem with marketing automation is the problem with digital marketing. Its complexity and power can overwhelm and damage you as much as it can help you.
Stay lean. It’s easier to ratchet your automation up at a pace you are comfortable with. Otherwise you risk getting swamped with data. In that case your automation platform becomes another asset sitting on the shelf.
When you’re starting out, have a simple setup. I recommend that most businesses and marketing departments start with 2-4 rules. Marketing automation is going to benefit you over time. You will add more rules later, for now focus on identifying the top rules that will help you hit your goals.
It will be tempting to add rules and qualifiers as you see what is capable. Stick to the small number for now. You need time for all users to learn marketing automation best practices. Marketing automation will make you the most money when it’s ingrained into your marketing department and your sales team breathes it.
During the introductory process, talk to your team about the new system. Tell them why it’s important. You need to show special attention to the sales team. They’re speaking with customers every day. They are sending emails back and forth with them. Salespeople hear customers’ biggest pain points. They can help you make better decisions about marketing automation.
What I mean by this is: don’t look at marketing automation as a cost-savings tool. Don’t fixate on how it will drive down operational costs. Rather, look at what it can add to your business. Before you dismiss me for saying you shouldn’t focus on cutting operational costs, hear me out.
Use Marketing Automation as a Customer Experience Tool
Here’s a little marketing nugget for ya—and it’s important.
The smartest marketers know what’s coming. Whoever has the best customer experience wins. Marketing automation builds in some baseline positive customer experience. It keeps running the the background and continues to keep customers happy. Once it’s set up, maintaining it is easy, so you’re not devoting a lot of resources to it.
Something amazing happens when you think about marketing automation as additive. It forces you to consider new ways of engaging with your customers. As mentioned above, a great example of this is content personalization.
In most cases, customers respond to new. Even if they don’t think they do. The digital roar is real. We live in a firestorm of tweets, posts and smartphones dividing our attention.That’s not a new or interesting insight. But this statement is. There is an increasing amount of sameness to the messages that we’re receiving.
It’s hard to put your finger on when you try to define what exactly is so similar about the messages you receive. On the surface, it all appears to be different messaging on different platforms. The sameness is in the formats that these messages use.
By formats, I’m talking about the message’s actual content or writing. I’m also talking about the mental format we fit these messages into when we hear them. Getting a sales pitch activates alarm bells for most people. Especially the sophisticated customers who are your best and highest-paying clients.
No matter how great the pitch is, there’s still some tension there. Whether we realize it or not, we pick up on the sale. Almost every one of these messages is trying to get us to buy. That tension is part of the format and it’s dangerous to engaging prospects. It increases the likelihood that they’ll reject your overture.
Over time, the messages blend into a drone in the background. The practical benefit of cultivating New is that you stand out from that drone. And to quote a great movie, standing out “isn’t half the battle; it’s the whole war.”
Marketing automation is creating rules and triggers to handle marketing grunt work across emails, websites and more. Marketing automation is unique because, once it's set up, it requires relatively little maintenance to run. Most companies are either doing marketing automation wrong, or worse, ignoring it.