5 Things You Aren’t Doing with Marketing Automation, But Should Be

Yesterday morning Gregg and I ventured over to the innovative and always inspiring Atlanta Tech Village for a breakfast event hosted by the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association. We’ve long been fans of AIMA and their food sponsor, Highland Bakery, but this was the first time either of us tried their breakfast! Nice to finally try something else off their menu besides the typical (but loved) curry-chicken salad and turkey sandwich options — I’ve been telling myself for months now that I’m going to go to Highland Bakery outside of AIMA events and still haven’t made it. The breakfast was pretty good, a spread you would expect at any event, really. Fruit, yogurt, bagels, donuts, cinnamon rolls, and of course coffee.

Moving on from my food rant, the event was great! We arrived around 8:30am and had the chance to network (pictured below) and work the room with our favorite AIMA’s until 9 when Sydney took the stage to get the event underway. She introduced the speakers, Tomer Tishgarten, Solutions Architect / Agency Engagements Director at Arke Systems and Rich Wilson, Creative Director of Big Scary Cranium. Both brilliant guys, and very entertaining panel discussion. The topic, marketing automation, couldn’t have been more timely for us as we’re implementing these processes into our agency’s areas of expertise and offerings.


The presentation was centered around, well, 5 things you aren’t doing in marketing automation that you should be. I’ll take you through each of the five, and a brief description of the discussions associated with each. Also, the gentlemen were great to provided us with an awesome MailChimp article with some email marketing stats and benchmarks. Check it out. Oh, and here’s another low-quality, low-resolution iPhone 4 picture of Tomer (left) and Rich (right) lecturing us, so you can feel like you were there as you read their 5 tips.


5 Things You Aren’t Doing with Marketing Automation (But Should Be):

1. You Aren’t Setting Goals

You need to have realistic expectations and goals when you implement your marketing automation. Do you even really need it? It’s a pricey investment to say the least, so think about it people. How many leads are you getting, and can your salespeople handle it?

2. You Aren’t Mapping Out the Buying Process

You should begin every marketing automation campaign with a whiteboard session to define your buyers, as well as the buying process. How do I attract them, where are they clicking, what are they reading, how often, etc. etc. The more segmented you can become in your automation process, the better. Really think about the different options you put in front of them, and how they’ll respond to every touch point along the way. Salespeople aren’t the only “knowledge holders” anymore, and information should be shared regularly within your organization as to your buyers’ profiles. Consumers today are expecting brands to come to them, and are doing a lot more independent research and shopping before settling on any purchases. At the end of the day, you’re trying to take money from their wallet and put it in yours, so your offering must be at least perceived as valuable and needed. Mapping out the buying process is arguably the most important part of marketing automation, in my inexperienced/high-level opinion anyways.

Below is an example from the presentation. Again, excuse camera quality. Here we have a case study example of a non profit seeking to raise $200,000 through online memberships/donations. You can see they had 12,000 total visitors, with an expected 5% conversion rate to equal 600 donors. The scenarios listed include Amount A and Amount B, followed by an optimal contribution category. It’s important to take all of these different types of scenarios into account when you’re setting goals and expectations.

ab test example

3. You Aren’t Using Dynamic Templates

Today I Learned what a “dynamic template” is. A dynamic template is a blank spot in an email template where, for example, a video would be placed. You use your segmented customer profiles to customize which video goes into this space depending on the campaign, demographic, region, purchase history, and so forth. A query must be set up to support this concept and assist you in segmenting your audience. Dynamic templates save time for the sales department, so they don’t have to set up multiple campaigns or send different groups of customized emails. And of course, a responsive template is also massively important, as about 50% of emails today are being opened through mobile!

4. You Aren’t Taking Advantage of A/B Split Testing

We’re moving into a time where everyone should use data instead of intuition. Duh. You should always think about what you can collect data-wise, as this may be a great way to show to your clients that what they think may work indeed does not work. A/B Testing is simply running two ideas against each other to see which performs better. Some options you have are:

  • Personalization (name in subject line is a great example)
  • Delivery day/time
  • Landing page content
  • Form length (don’t ask for too much, gain trust first)
  • Frequency of messaging (i.e. once a month)

And if you feel being a super overachiever, like Tomer, you can use a Chi-Square Analysis to see if your results are significant. These A/B tools should be built into your automation service, by the way, but you can also look into Optimizely and Google Experiments if you are a Google Analytics user.

5. You Aren’t Scoring Anything That Enters Your System

Lead scouring is a huge part of lead generation. A marketing automation scoring engine is a calculator that will basically give points to your prospects per action they take. Filling out a form is worth more than opening an email, for example. Scoring everything in your system will help your salespeople know exactly when is the right time to reach out, and what to say through the context that should also be logged in the system. It’s important to know when is the time to take your buyers from a digital experience into a real world meeting or phone call. In the scoring category is when we see marketing automation take on a more collaborative role. It’s important for everyone to be involved here as to best understand the buyer’s process, content pieces to generate, etc. So be sure to include both your salespeople and the marketing department’s thoughts when it comes to lead scoring!

In conclusion, it’s worth noting that this process does require a certain level of change management. Begin with simple campaign case studies with lead scoring small groups of people, and then slowly introduce it to the rest of your organization. Also, use the resources you’re paying for! Contact your marketing automation partner if you’re frustrated or having problems, and they should be there to help. Feel free to comment below, or shoot us an email if you have any questions or concerns.

Quick shout-out to the sponsors – Pardot and Atlanta Tech Village (ps thanks Pardot for the Twitter follow!), and to Adam Waid for moderating. Also, I enjoyed officially meeting Katia Herrera and Kacie Lett, and it was great to see Amanda Papini and Joe Koufman as always!

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