Ah, marketing. Everyone always has his mouth full about it. And although many have an opinion about how to do marketing in an effective way, not everyone always succeeds. 20 years ago, doing marketing was quite easy. You had some well-defined channels – television, newspapers, radio and door-to-door. You only had to push one message to a huge mass of unidentified receivers. There was no limitation of target audience.
Times have changed in the past years. Traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore. However, 99,94 % of all online ads are ignored and there is a response rate on all digital channels of only 0,62 %, marketers continue to spam customers with irrelevant messages they don’t want to see. On top of that, most marketers use 11 channels on average to reach their audience, but without having a unified database throughout the company.
But how can you improve your marketing efforts? Indeed, with marketing automation. With the right techniques, you’ll be able to reach the right audience, with the right message, at the right time. Just follow these 4 important rules.
Rule #1: Find the right leads to grow your database
Almost everyone is active on social media, from children to their grandparents. This means that all these media are crowded with potential customers and contain a huge amount of valuable data. On the other hand, traditional online advertising through bannering doesn’t work anymore. The answer now is micro-marketing. With this new approach, you create different ads with variations per target group. There are many benefits. You can really target your ads towards a specific group of leads who fit the profile. Once the campaign is launched, you can use the real-time ROI reporting to adapt or recreate your ads to perfection. Display formats on social media also keep evolving at a fast pace, so there is also some room for content improvement and a better customer experience. Facebook also made it possible to target look-a-likes. This means that you can use existing customer data to find new potential customers on Facebook that are similar (e.g. who have the same hobbies, age, live in the same region, etc.). Easy, isn’t it?
Even though it may seem difficult to get data from people on a physical location, it always isn’t. If you organize several events throughout the year to promote your product, you can get data on these locations. There are, for example, liquor brands who organize multiple events in cocktail bars. Visitors at the bar can get a free Wi-Fi connection when they register their e-mail address. And when giving more personal data, such as address, preferences, etc., they get a free cocktail.
And then there is the omni-channel approach. Through different channels, such as website, email, social media, games and couponing you can get all necessary data from your customers. And depending of what they answer to the questions, you define the reduction. The coupons they receive, can be tracked in-store and linked to the person who bought them. This means that you have a complete overview of one’s shopping behavior.
Rule #2: Use a customer engagement platform
Once you have all necessary data, you need to process it. Therefore, you should use a performant customer engagement platform. Today, all large software vendors such as Adobe, Microsoft and SAP offer integrated solutions for marketing, CRM and e-commerce. Within these platforms, you’ll find tools for analytics, to create marketing campaigns, a complete CRM database and social media monitoring. The advantage of these platform is that every tool can be linked to another and that all information is synchronized in one place. So, no matter which channel the info is coming from, marketing sales, service and commerce can benefit from the ever-evolving data.
Rule #3: Put your data at work
Once you have the right data and a performant platform, it is time to put your data at work! Data is the fuel for your marketing automation engine, so you should manage it in an efficient way. The advantage of most platforms is that you can unify all the data from your customer, today scattered in various data sources, into a single “golden” record. Within this record you’ll find all basic information but also the interactions he already had with your company and to which actions he responded. This is important to know how to segment your contacts.
Another part is campaign management. Through a thorough segmentation, you can define which contact gets which info through which channel. Depending of his response, you can predefine new actions, to maximize your chances to interact and to sell. Results are pushed in real-time, so you can adapt your campaigns immediately and see what worked well or not. The goal is to establish a customer journey that shows all interactions and to define the actions with the highest success rate. With this new data, you can enrich your database again and augment your chances to send the right messages and to sell.
Rule #4: Stay creative
"Computers can’t do it all. There’s no substitute for creative, clever, compassionate, human marketers" Holly Wright, Director Digital Marketing @ Appfire.
Holly Wright is indeed right. Human intervention still is key to create eye-catching and creative campaigns. This is something computers cannot do. Especially, for example, when selling invisible products that you use in daily life such as batteries. The time you could use a catchphrase and a stock photo on Facebook lays already way behind us. Now, you must tell a different story, by using emotions and surprising people with unexpected content. You don’t show the product anymore, but you humanify it or you show in a funny, exaggerating way what it is capable of.
If you sell canned tomatoes, don’t just show the product, but teach people what you can cook with it through Instagram Stories. Show how the dishes are made and give them a view behind the scenes. This creates interaction and involvement and they will associate your product with the emotion of eating.
So, what does it take to become the king of marketing automation? If you keep in mind those four rules, it should be a lot easier to become a pro in marketing automation. Data will always be key but with the right platform, a good use of the acquired data and the right dose of creativity you should be able to reach the right people at the right time and with the right message.
By Niels Heyvaert, Marketing Manager, SQLI