One of the key elements of being a consultant at The Pedowitz Group is being a team member. We all have strong opinions, but one of our great strengths is our diversity and willingness to share. A member of our team, Alyssa Hewitt, came up with the idea of a team blog and we ran with it. So here’s our first team blog, answering a key question.
Question: What is the #1 thing Marketing Automation (MA) users don’t prioritize that you, as a consultant, would strongly recommend they focus on?
Alyssa Hewitt, Associate Revenue Engineer:
For those that are new to it, I think there is a giant misconception regarding what the term “marketing automation” means. The beauty of automation tools is not rooted in a “set-it-and-forget-it” mantra, rather, it’s that these tools give marketers the ability to know their target audience better, and use the information gathered to create more relevant campaigns that actually resonate with a buyer. These automation tools are not meant to churn out more campaigns to more people in a shorter amount of time – they are meant to help us lift the veil and see leads as individuals, each with their own unique needs, wants, and drivers. Marketing automation tools translate data into stories, and it is our job as marketers to understand, react, and adapt in real time to figure out what is it that a lead really needs; then deliver.
BeHai Ligas, Senior Revenue Engineer:
Get your house in order and make sure you’re inviting the right guests. I find a lot of marketing automation users get very excited about having such an incredible tool in their hands – BUT – they forget to do the prep work before getting their hands dirty. There’s a myriad of things you can do to take advantage of your secret weapon, but the biggest thing you should focus in on as your starting point is the cleanup of your data.
Start with what you have in your database before you start acquiring new leads. Make sure you have accurate data, make sure your duplicates are manageable, and above all, make sure you are targeting the right group of people for every campaign you plan out.
Bill Cozadd, Associate Revenue Engineer:
What many people don’t realize is that most marketing automation platforms come with out-of-the-box drone capability. That’s definitely the place to start. In all seriousness, though, I think lead scoring is an area where you will see a lot of bang for your buck. It’s easy to overlook with all the other shiny features and functionality available to you, but lead scoring can have a huge impact on how you look at leads and what it truly means for a lead to be qualified. Even the exercise of coming up with a scoring model is hugely beneficial, as it forces you to identify what demographics and behaviors are indicators of purchase readiness.
Melody Holcomb, Associate Revenue Engineer:
In my experience, I would say the most overlooked marketing automation thing would be between dirty data and stale content.
Since lead data is what MA uses to trigger and perform actions – the earlier you invest in keeping it clean, the better your MA performance will be. This includes before data enters your MA (or CRM, if the two are bi-directionally synced) and setting up data management to normalize fields, where possible, and keep your data clean over time.
To run a decent Engagement Program, you need a lot of good content. Without it, you will send sales pitch after sales pitch and ultimately irritate your leads and receive the dreaded “unsubscribe.” Get the people and process in place to create that high-quality content, in formats targeted at all levels of the funnel, and whether you’re B2B or B2C.
Emily Salus, Marketo Practice Director:
Most marketers are so busy working on the email they have to get out next week that they neglect long-term engagement planning. If you’re always focused on next week’s email, you’ll be on that treadmill, running in place, forever. Marketing automation users should take the time to think about how they want to communicate with their prospects and customers over an extended period of time and truly interact with them. While it’s hard to look at a long term plan, you have more content than you think. That white paper from 2 years ago probably has some good content that could be quickly reframed and broken up into 6 or 8 pieces, since no one really has time to read a long white paper, along with a blog or two and maybe an infographic. If you’re emailing once a week or every other week, you could get a couple months of nurturing emails out of those few items. And once you’ve got that started and are no longer thinking about next week’s email, you’ve got even more room to think about strategic engagement.
Elizabeth Downing, Associate Revenue Engineer:
Although often the mantra of people new to marketing automation, reporting is often left by the wayside, as marketers obsess over pretty content and scramble to keep on top of their marketing calendar. The brave new world of marketing automation lies in the ability to track the impact of marketing campaigns on the immediate audience we’re touching (opens, click throughs, conversions, etc.) compared to other programs over time, and on our bottom line (revenue generated, pipeline creation, acceleration of leads through the waterfall.)
Good reporting requires a) a clear vision of exactly what questions you want to answer and b) strong processes to ensure the data you want to report on is being captured. Reporting should come first: clearly define what questions you want your reports to answer, and then use them to create the processes to gather the answers. Any other approach leaves marketers scrambling to gather disparate data, guessing at data they haven’t collected and wondering where the “automation” has gone.
As you can tell, we all have different opinions, but they are all related. There are hidden strengths in exploring and exploiting a diversity of features of marketing automation – and always remembering that it is not simply a mail send tool. Leveraging any of the above responses can move you and your team forward in getting more ROI from marketing automation.
Blog Written By: Alyssa Hewitt, Associate Revenue Engineer, BeHai Ligas, Senior Revenue Engineer, Bill Cozadd, Associate Revenue Engineer, Melody Holcomb, Associate Revenue Engineer, Emily Salus, Marketo Practice Director and Elizabeth Downing, Associate Revenue Engineer at The Pedowitz Group.