Marketing Automation: it isn’t marketing on auto pilot

There is no doubt within the community that the Email-Expo is the epicentre of the e-mail marketing world, providing the best possible overview of current solutions. At the integrated congress, international marketing experts will be sharing their expertise with the trade public. One of them is Jordie van Rijn, independent marketing consultant with more than 12 years of experience under his belt and founder of the international platform for Email and Marketing Automation Software selection. Here, he discusses trends and highlights e-mail marketing:

There has been a lot of attention for marketing automation lately. I am very excited that the topic is in the spotlights, because it raises awareness to the point where they say: “This is interesting, we should consider doing something (more) with it.”

There are several definitions of Marketing Automation out there, but in all cases it is about automating parts of your marketing (and sales) function. That is in acquisition, messaging, lead nurturing, the whole process. Marketing automation is part of an evolution from earlier e-mail marketing, CRM and web personalization and tracking systems. It isn’t totally new.

Marketers still need to answer the same questions as before: Most companies turn towards marketing automation, because they are looking for more leads, need better qualified leads or want to spend their time more effectively.

Once you start and get your hands dirty it comes back to some good old strategy work:  “How can we improve communication with our clients?”, “How do people buy from us and what do they think is important?”. “How are customers different from each other?” and “What are our  – make-or-break –  moments of truth?” Marketing automation has developed to help marketers meet a part of the current marketing challenges.

A red beauty in the garage
All too often the company buys the Ferrari, but then it just sits there in the garage. We forgot all about  those speed bumps!

Marketing automation isn’t the cars’ engine, it is not even the fuel or the navigation system. It is probably closest to being the gear box. Not as sexy as you thought, now is it? But that piece of technique allows you to shift your marketing into a higher gear and transferring the energy from strategy, tactics, creative, data towards where they hit the road: customer communication.

Lots of things are going on inside that gearbox, but that tooling isn’t going to drive itself anywhere. You know, Marketing Automation isn’t marketing on auto pilot. It isn’t going to help you make hard decisions on target groups, what to send, think creatively or make your campaigns effective….

Knowing the next step beforehand

Companies that are looking towards Marketing Automation (tools), I advise you to anchor and make sure that you know what you will be doing in the next step. On a scale of 0 to 100, spread out the  most valuable pieces of information, pieces of customer data. Not the ones that you deem valuable or should be interesting. No, we order them as valuable for us, knowing what we are doing to do with it within a year / year and a half.

The interesting part is that because of the tools we can now do things that weren’t easily possible or efficient enough before; and most of it is driven by simple data. The data should be actionable; it should impact your messages or internal processes so that it adds value.

What do we put at the center of it all?
Not the customer. Over the past year together with some of my key clients we developed a new, practical model. It  prioritizes and maps all the data from a marketers point of view. A bit controversial maybe. The whole puzzle becomes a lot more practical and tangible for companies struggling to wrap their minds around it – once you take the data, actions and put them at center of your tactics.

That is what my keynote at the Email Expo will be about: I hope to share some of my experiences and show companies that are smart from the start, gather data that is valuable and use it to (in these examples) take action in the form of event driven marketing and tailored content and offers.

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