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Beware Of The Marketing Automation Mirror

By Rob Hawse

Your marketing automation approach directly reflects how well you understand your buying audience. Research can lead to insights that will lead to messaging, timing and frequency that has a positive impact on your brand.

Too many, ill-timed or irrelevant emails. That is what marketing automation means to those of us who entered our emails somewhere or somehow landed on a list. This negative response does not lead anyone closer to purchasing anything and it’s safe to say it’s not the outcome the senders are looking for.

The problem is that many users of marketing automation have no idea how to use it to achieve a specific outcome, and have mistaken easy for simple. Decisions about the messaging, frequency and timing of the content they are pushing out is based on anecdotal, rather than quantitative evidence gathered via research.

Research will result in a set of criteria that can be used to segment lists and create messaging, timing, and frequency, that works for audiences and guides educated guesses that can ultimately lead to sales.

Let me give you a personal example. Recently, I purchased a Contigo Autoseal stainless steel travel mug. It’s a nicely designed cup whose patented Autoseal lid is 100% leak and spill-proof. About two weeks after I received the cup (and had left it at home a few times) I received an email that suggested that I might want to purchase a back up travel mug for home or office.

That seems like a simple act, but it happened because Contigo knows that people who buy one cup and love it, will buy a backup cup to take to the office or leave at home. The impression I received was that Contigo understands me, my buying patterns, and what would make my life easier. The timing of the communique was respectful, as was the frequency (I haven’t heard from them since….just right).

[Ironic: While creating this post, I spilled my coffee all over my desk because the second cup has not arrived yet and the first one is at home! How did they know?]

The truth is all of your marketing touches need to reflect your understanding of your customer and their buying patterns.

And depending on your customer, an automated campaign may not even be the best choice for the first touch. Again, the only way you will know this is through doing the homework (research).

What is universal, however, is that every message has to in some way acknowledge the uniqueness and then add value for the recipient — or you won’t have access to them for very long. Marketing automation is a powerful tool that can quickly advance relationships and earn your trust — if you know what to say.

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