2014 – Mastering Your Email Program – Quick Bites #2 – Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a two edged sword these days – do not fall on the sword. Unbridled and without foresight marketing automation just creates automated spam.

Marketing automation is governed by two primary inputs: data and predictive/cause-based workflows. Crap data delivers crap automation. You know the old adage GIGO – garbage in = garbage out.

Just this last holiday season I used Harry and David to send out their wonderful holiday treats to a group of clients. I spent a fair bit of money. After placing my order, I continued to receive numerous emails with other discounts to order for the holidays. I thought they might follow a best practice regarding data cleansing and flagging records that had culminated in an order – I think not. Instead I just felt neglected and not appreciated.

Why not – ask me for a testimonial, or reference my last order and suggest additional items for last minute gifts. Here’s an idea: flag my record in your database that I bought and take me out of the stream of “gotta purchase now” emails. It’s not that hard to do these days.

Poor predictions without reference to current behavior will produce poor automation.

It is easy to assume a customer/prospect journey will broadly follow a linear path – however you cannot ignore short-run variance – if you have access the data.

Example – a person signs up on your website, you send them a welcome email. And then a week after, you send them out another email. If someone clicks on link A, you send them something else. And if they click on link B, something else. If you have access to clickstream or POS data, incorporate those feeds into your program workflows.

In my experience, people rarely test these things out. For example:

1) automated vs. manual

2) timing of email waves

Take the time to add an element of testing, benchmarking and optimizing so all your hard effort setting up those worlflows actually works and contributes to a positive customer experience and optimum revenue for your company.

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