If one of your main reasons for implementing Marketing Automation in your organization was to streamline the digital marketing process, keep reading.
Have you ever wondered why your Marketing Automation platform solution is not as efficient as you had hoped it would be? Did you purchase and implement a Marketing Automation solution or platform only to find that you are continuing to have inefficiencies in the marketing department?
You’re not alone! One of the biggest hurdles in getting Marketing Automation to work for your organization and not against it, is to develop a systematic approach and not fly by the seat of your pants. To overcome this seemingly ever-present obstacle, it is imperative to develop a well-defined plan with actionable steps, and use this ‘template’ every single time you run a marketing automation campaign.
After running several thousand marketing automation campaigns over the years, I have found the secret sauce that consistently produces an efficient outcome every time. It is a step-by-step plan that, if executed in order, will result in the most efficient and streamlined use of your marketing automation system. Each step builds upon itself, so it is vital that the order is not changed around. We call it the Marketing Automation SmartCycle.
But instead of a circular cycle, think of it as more of a spiral cycle. I’ll explain why. In a circular pattern, you repeat the cycle over and over, whereas in a spiral cycle, each time you repeat the cycle you are narrowing in on the target and gaining increased knowledge about your customers and their preferences. We want to repeat the steps in the cycle, but we want those steps to be taken with more knowledge the second time around the cycle, and even more knowledge the third time around!
By following these 8 steps in the Marketing Automation SmartCycle, you can turn your marketing automation into a series of smoother running campaigns, while continually getting smarter about your customers.
Step 1: Data Management
* Determine your existing or future sources of data. This could be anything from CRM data, IMS data, list purchases, conference attendees, Outlook contacts, etc.
* Define what specific data fields are the most important in your marketing efforts
* Cleanse, Import, Append, Delete. Make sure all your data is exactly as you want to see it in your Marketing Automation database before you do anything else
Step 2: Persona Development
* With your cleansed data, look at behavior and demographics, and create personas based on that data
Step 3: Targeting and Segmenting
* Use the above personas to create segments of data for your sends
Step 4: Campaign Planning
* Brainstorm with your team on all the types of campaigns you can run based on these data segments
* Decide what digital channels you will use
* Determine what digital assets are needed
* Agree on the timing and cadence for the campaign
* Diagram the flow steps of the campaign
* Define the goals for the outcomes of the campaign
Step 5: Asset Creation
* Once the flow of the campaign has been diagrammed, you can ascertain what digital assets are needed. Start creating those now, or pull them from your existing assets library
Step 6: Campaign Building
* This part will be completed in your MA platform. It includes all the logic surrounding:
* Actual data segmentation with filters
* Uploading images into your MA platform to be used in your assets
* Uploading email and landing page HTML templates into your MA platform
* Creating the HTML versions of the emails and landing pages, based on the uploaded templates
* Testing the emails and the landing pages for full functionality
Step 7: Campaign Deployment
* This part will also be completed in your MA platform. It includes all the logic surrounding:
* Writing send campaigns
* Scheduling send campaigns
Step 8: Measuring and Optimizing
* When the campaign has fully run its life-span, there are jewels of data left behind that help you glean critical customer insights
* Run reports in your marketing automation platform to find out
* How many touches did it take for a conversion?
* What are the behavior patterns of those that converted?
* What persona(s) does your conversion data align with?
* Can we develop new personas based on the findings?
* Are there any other data we can further refine to use for the next campaign?
After these 8 steps are performed, you are ready to repeat the same 8 steps for your next campaign, with even more detailed, and more targeted information, thus continuing in a virtuous spiral of customer interactions and insights. Before you know it, by following the Marketing Automation SmartCycle you will be running an efficient marketing machine that is consistently building customer engagement and also helping you to become increasingly smarter about your customers!
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