Rich Madigan, Senior Project Manager and Kentico Consultant at MMT Digital explains why, when it comes marketing automation, first impressions last
The grand romantic gesture… The bitter taste of unrequited love… The frenetic dash to the petrol station to grab the obligatory card and flowers (not me I promise)… All the ingredients for another Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re happy or not about it, it is coming and it’s everywhere. Including my Sky box. Romantic comedies of all shapes and sizes are rearing their heads once again and it triggered a thought…the romantic comedy can help you build marketing automation workflows, both in Kentico and other marketing platforms.
At this stage, I imagine people are wondering whether I’ve been hitting the drinks cabinet a little early but bear with me…
Across a crowded room…
The first impression is key. A splash of chemistry, a dash of charm and a sprinkling of witty repartee and you have your audience hooked.
What’s true for romantic comedies is also true for marketing automation. The first impression itself comes in various shapes and sizes – from e-shots through to social media posts and banner adverts.
Unlike the romantic comedy where there’s an eerie sense of perfect timing, we have to put a little thought in. Jump too soon and your customer will be off faster than The Runaway Bride. Jump too late and you’re left standing in the rain. The key lies in understanding user personas and user journeys, work typically undertaken at the start of the project. We can use this information to understand where the user needs to be in their journey when we trigger our process.
Lots of work is put in to your content strategy and the message is all about bringing through those core values and concepts into your interaction with the user, ensuring that you retain consistency in your voice despite the channel.
And finally we have the hook. This additional layer on the message is vital. We need to make the message relevant to the user and to pique their interest. If we take Kentico EMS, we’re capturing data on the users from the minute they land on the site. This information is invaluable and we can channel this information into the first impression.
Romancing the user
In your average romantic comedy, the protagonists engage in a series of dates and encounters. With every encounter, they learn a little more and the relationship develops. The same is true for our marketing automation workflow. At every step we learn a little more about our customer and we’re able to use that information to interact with the customer.
Online marketing platforms are great at capturing that data. If we take Kentico EMS, information is being gathered on their profile (name, email, etc.) and their behaviour and interests. There’s a wealth of information at your fingertips but to get a true insight we need to consider the bigger picture.
In most businesses, your interaction with the user is not just online (e.g. website, social media channels). There’s often offline activities to consider – sales calls, support calls, etc. Often this information is captured in CRM systems and that information is just as useful as the information captured via the website. Smart integrations with CRM systems can help us to pull down information into the EMS (or other online marketing platform) to help build out the profile and power our marketing workflow (e.g. using information gathered from a sales call to trigger particular offers or actions on the website).
In return, you can take information from the website and push that to the CRM, helping your sales and support teams to have more informed discussions with your customers. The interactions they have with customers could push customers back to the website and to the next step in your workflow. It’s all about the bigger picture.
Dropping the ball
In pretty much every romantic comedy you can think of, at least one of the protagonists is going to drop a clanger and there’s bound to be a few tears before bedtime.
When we think of marketing workflows this is exactly what we want to avoid. The purpose of these workflows is twofold – to guide users through to our desired conclusion and to provide richer, engaging experiences that help users reach their objectives.
The key is in planning these workflows thoroughly before building them out in your marketing platform. Drawing out your workflow on paper can help solidify thought processes and promote discussion, ensuring you create the best possible plan. Relevant personnel from your team can work alongside specialists from your digital partners to analyse each step and define the appropriate checks and actions.
So far so good but there is still potential for a classic faux pas in the style of our fearless romantic hero. It’s impossible to cater to everyone but we can mitigate the risks at each step by thinking of the possible outcomes from each step. Our aim is to get customers to that endpoint but not at the risk of alienation. As Gareth in The Office memorably said, “softly, softly, catchy monkey.” This careful and considered approach is more likely to leverage the results that you desire.
If all has gone well then our protagonists have reached their happy ending. Cue fireworks, music and a passionate embrace.
Here in the world of digital marketing it is unlikely that we are going to celebrate the completion of a workflow with an arsenal of fireworks (unless you have a fun budget that would make Google blush) but we get our own reward in having guided the user through to the end of the workflow. However, that’s not the end of it. Building long term relationships is just as important as attracting those first timers. You can build on the same principles to develop further workflows, guiding the customer through their continued adventures with your business.
If you’re interested in delving into the world of marketing automation, you can get in touch with the helpful team here at MMT Digital where we will be happy to discuss your online marketing strategy and help drive your business to the next level.