Managing a marketing automation campaign shouldn’t require a computer science degree
Do today's tools leave you yearning for more technical knowledge? Columnist Jeffrey L. Cohen says marketers should demand simplicity and ease of use.
I stand before you today as a marketer. A modern marketer, if you will. We hear a lot about campaigns in our business. It is the core of what we do.
These campaigns are our attempt to meet a goal in a specific time frame. Usually, there are prospects involved. And the goal is about getting those prospects to take an action.
This typically starts with a prospect engaging with our marketing content in some manner, often downloading an e-book or white paper in exchange for their contact information. And the successful transaction is completed when the prospect makes a purchase and becomes a customer.
In our heads, we hear angelic voices singing when that happens. But that’s because marketers have a high opinion of themselves. The sales team just bangs a gong.
There was a time when you didn’t carry a phone in your pocket. It’s hard to remember that time. There was also a time when we didn’t manage campaigns with technology. My friend, Brian Hansford of Heinz Marketing, says marketing departments have been the last to get strategic technology platforms. Finally, marketers are getting tools to help them better engage with prospects and measure the results.
If the prospects would only play along and follow our rules, we could help them become customers. We know they use more than one channel. And very often, they will start down the road toward customer nirvana on one channel and complete it via another, perhaps stopping at a third along the way.
Disjointed experiences aren’t good for anyone
Don’t even get me started on laptops, smartphones, tablets and that new device that just came out last week. With marketers controlling a whole stack of technology on the back end and the customers doing what they want out front, we’ve created a disjointed experience.
To solve this disconnect, we need to use tools like marketing automation that can adapt to our prospects’ behaviors. There is no single path to victory, and there is not a single path to a prospect becoming a customer. We must use their data. Pay attention to their behaviors. And talk to them in a way that shows we understand them.
Sometimes campaigns are simple and straightforward. If marketers are having a good day, that’s true. Welcome campaigns, nurture campaigns and event reminders are examples of these kinds of campaigns. They follow a very linear course of action.
But we are both artists and scientists, and that’s what is required to create truly adaptive campaigns. These have the ability to respond to real prospect activities, not some limited and prescribed series of steps.
Technology should simplify, not complicate
Whether you put on a beret or a lab coat, you need the ability to create sophisticated campaigns, too. Imagine designing these campaigns with a simple drag-and-drop interface as intuitive as an office whiteboard. That would make your marketing faster and your whole life easier.
Marketing technology needs to support you in your job, not make you feel like you need to go back to school for a computer science degree.
We marketers are a self-sufficient lot, and we need to create campaigns based on our real knowledge of prospects. The rest of our world is on-demand, and the technology we use every day should not be any different. We want to rely more on DIY than IT.
Has anyone ever told you that marketing automation can automate your marketing? Just set a campaign and forget it. Well, I would argue that this characteristic is not a feature, but a bug. Has your marketing plan ever changed? When has it not? Sometimes it happens right after that email goes out. Now it’s time to scramble and reconfigure the campaign with another email and landing page.
That’s one kind of change, but it is just as important to be able to optimize campaigns based on ongoing results. Instead of creating a whole new campaign, think how easy it would be if you could just pause the current campaign, add or update segments, emails, landing pages and decision steps, and restart with one click. Restart with one click, I said. This is how it should be done.
You know who is happy if you can do this? Well, besides you, because it’s easy. Your prospects. Especially the ones who responded in the five minutes after the email went out.
Instead of dropping everyone in the campaign back in the top of a new campaign, you get to keep track of what already happened. That definitely sounds like how it should be done.
Campaigns and the tools that manage them should make things better for everyone. And together we can live in a world of happy marketers and happy customers.
I am a modern marketer, and I support this message.