Inbox25

Introduction to Drip Campaigns

Drip marketing is a cornerstone of our platform and digital marketing as a whole. With the release of Content Stream we provided a fresh perspective on drip marketing with flexible delivery scheduling, dynamic targeting and time sensitive content. Drip Campaigns provide the intelligence and core functionality of Content Stream, while streamlining the creation process for simplified execution. We’ve expanded functionality to allow for more flexibility when building drip marketing campaigns.

Drip Campaigns keynote features:

  1. Dedicated tool -- requires no complex automation logic.
  2. One-click setup to add lists, segments and CRM records to drip campaigns. 
  3. For the first time, add individual targets to a drip campaign (right from the Timeline)
  4. Send the first email immediately when a record enters the drip campaign (instead of waiting until the next delivery date)

In this series of articles we’ll explore and break down every aspect of Drip Campaigns from creation, execution and management. For easy navigation, click on any of the following articles below.

Additional Articles 

Creating and Managing Drip Campaigns

Drip Campaign Analytics

 

Account Based Marketing with SugarCRM

Account-based marketing or ABM is the latest trend B2B marketers are flocking to for their edge in the martech landscape. Account based marketing is no recent phenomenon, but it’s emergence as a viable marketing strategy has left enterprise exclusivity and led to increased adoption amongst the SMB market. As martech advancements allow marketers the ability to cohesively manage their various digital marketing channels, account based marketing has become the buzzword for enhanced martech adoption.

Traditional business marketing maintains its focus on mass communication, casting a wide net of content through various digital channels with the goal of attracting interest from a sea of prospects. Traditional inbound channels, SEO, PPC, content marketing & social marketing feed from the pool of many. With traditional business marketing reliant on bait, the flow of inbound leads remains a waiting game. Adversely account based marketing transforms digital communication into a highly targeted pool of the few, namely select groups of accounts. Account based marketing is defined by its methodology of focusing not on the company as a single body, but viewing each account by the influencers and decision makers as the focus of communication. This puts the marketers in direct control of the prospects and the types of personalized content that’s injected into your marketing program.

With larger, “high value” prospects, longer, more complex sales cycles occur, where multiple influencers are involved in the decision making process. Account based marketing focuses on organizing key members of the buying decision into specified groups of targeted, personalized marketing content. By flipping the consumer funnel from inbound communication to roots in prospect identification, you’re removing elements of uncertainty by maintaining full control over the criteria and attributes of accounts that populate your funnel. Account based marketing represents quality over quantity. By centralizing your level of communication, greater attention and resources can be localized into a comprehensive marketing strategy dependent on only your ideal accounts.

Let’s talk about our approach to Account-Based Marketing for SugarCRM.

Our design vision and goal with ABM for SugarCRM was to preserve as much of the CRM data structure as possible, in order to provide a seamless implementation for our users. A seamless implementation to us meant that our users would be able to maintain all of their existing Account-to-Contact relationships that are already created in their CRM.

The core function that makes INBOX25 the best solution for ABM with Sugar is our data integration methodology that links Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities. 

SymSync for INBOX25 mirrors the native CRM data structure in order to maintain the relationship between Accounts (parent) and Contacts (child) even after they’re imported into our platform. In effect this means that your ABM program will directly resemble the Account and Contact structure, thereby avoiding redundant task of configuring these relationships for proprietary marketing lists in an entirely separate marketing platform.

Beyond the critical task of ensuring the data model made sense, our next immediate goal was unified reporting that would give sales agents immediate access to marketing touch-points across an entire company (Account) from all stakeholders (Contacts). The data also needed to be easily accessible from every sales agents CRM record view. 

With Account-Based Marketing and SymSync you can easily: 

  1. Engage Contact records by targeting data fields and objects that exist in the Account record in which a Contact is related/assigned to. 
  2. Interact with Contact records by targeting data fields and objects that exist in Opportunities. 
  3. Monitor opportunities and understand which Contacts are driving the most influential activity for the Account (from a single report). 
  4. Maintain separate lifecycle stages and lead scores for each Contact, so your message is always personalized and relevant – while also maintaining a high-level view from an Account-level. 

Targeting, Grouping and Nurturing

By preserving the native SugarCRM data relationships between Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities within our data structure, we enable you to create sophisticated targeting groups for automation and nurturing. Our Automation wizard in conjunction with our SymSync data integration engine allows you to target Contacts based on data that is stored within Accounts (such as custom fields) or Opportunities (custom fields).

The targeting and automation possibilities are very flexible and allow you to leverage data objects that are linked together by native Sugar relationships. Once you assemble your conditions, our Automation engine can execute any number of business logic or marketing processes.

Content Delivery with ABM 

Deploying the right content to the right contacts at the right time is critical to any outbound strategy. With ABM we enable you to seamlessly and quickly engage with specific Contacts or All Contacts at a company, depending on subject matter of your content and strategy. As we mentioned earlier, targeting Contacts based on their role within a company or even data contained within the company-account profile is a breeze. We take the personalization approach one step further by enabling sales agents to easily enroll Contacts into nurturing drip campaigns with just a few clicks.

Account-level Timeline Profile Report

Tracking activity from your most valuable prospects and reporting their engagement in an easy-to-read format is a critical benefit to a marketing platform like ours. The intelligence can be invaluable to your sales team and fast access is crucial to identifying sales-ready behavior.

But, how can you effectively manage the volume of intelligence when you’re spanning multiple contacts within a single company? Simple. Account-based Marketing! With ABM enabled we will create a new cumulative Timeline report at the Account-level that will include all activities and behaviors that are tracked from each individual Contact.

Download our Whitepaper here!

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out. Our team is standing by!

SugarCRM Agrees on Importance of CRM Integration

Laurence Leong with SugarCRM came out with an informative read stressing the importance of CRM integration with marketing automation technology. He emphasizes five critical points that I wanted to share, and demonstrate how INBOX25 stacks up with each point; further stressing how important such a tight and expansive integration with CRM (specifically our distinctive integration with SugarCRM) is today. We tip our hat to him and also touch upon this crucial factor in the decision making process on a previous blog post that can be read by clicking here

From Laurence's article:

Data synchronization –  An automatic and configurable synchronization between data objects like leads, contacts, and opportunities in your CRM and marketing automation systems is an absolute must. This ensures that the two systems can share data. Look for an ability to configure data mapping, frequency of synchronization, and conflict resolution. Ideally the synchronization can be two-way. And, since most marketing automation and CRM deployments have their own custom fields, make sure the synchronization supports custom fields in an upgrade-safe manner.


With INBOX25's real-time, bi-directional sync with versions of SugarCRM 6.5 and higher, you can check this off your list. We also sync with all native modules of SugarCRM, including stock and custom data-fields for powerful automation, segmentation of data, lead-capture form-field mapping, intelligent lead-scoring and personalization with digital communications (email or SMS). Due to our contant sync with SugarCRM, you are not missing out on critical touch points when leads are most interested in your brand.

Another important point:

The ability to create prospects lists in CRM according to specific criteria, and to supply those lists as input into a marketing automation program. When setting up new programs or campaigns in your marketing automation tool, what better place to start than with the data in your CRM system, which represents what you already know about customers and prospects?


Agreed 100% and that's why we allow the CRM to be the data repository, so all lists can be maintained in the CRM, no need to duplicate and create more manual processes for the end-user. Utilizing the automation engine, the end-user can dynamically populate or remove individuals from Target List based on a host of complex criteria from the CRM as other data-objects or touchpoints. 

Great insight from Laurence:

Automatic lead alerting between marketing automation and CRM. You want the ability for highly qualified leads in the marketing automation system to be automatically pushed over to CRM. The ability to apply workflow is helpful here. Workflow can be used for lead routing or assignment to a sales rep, as well as for lead escalation or reassignment (eg a lead that isn’t followed up on within 3 days gets reassigned with notification to the first level manager). Workflow can also be used to trigger notifications to the rep, like an email or text to notify the rep of their new hot lead(s).


In this process, the 'middle man' is cut out of the equation and your data is maintained in SugarCRM directly. Using powerful lead-scoring formulas, the end-user can assign a record in a round-robin effort to their sales team once a lead has accrued 'X' amount of points. Not to mention that the sales reps can receive real-time Email and/or SMS alerts once a lead has completed a certain event (i.e visiting a specific page, converting on a form, clicking-thru a communication). Mirroring the examples above are all possible with our automation engine.


Critical for users in more of a sales or support role:

The ability for CRM users (like sales and service reps) to see full context from marketing automation. When a sales or service rep goes into their CRM system to work a lead that has been automatically created from the marketing automation system, you want that rep to be able to easily see what the lead did in marketing automation that resulted in the high score. Which emails did they open? Which websites did they visit and what did they look at on those sites? What digital offers did they respond to?  If sales and service can’t see this, they will provide an inconsistent experience to the customer. If, on the other hand, they can reinforce previous digital interactions, then you have created an optimized and consistent customer experience across channels.


The Timeline Intelligence report answers this point directly. Viewable for any and all users of SugarCRM, this report is made available right within the individual record profile inside SugarCRM. We go a step further by enabling the Sugar user to be a part of the marketing and sales process to commit actions like enrolling the record into one or multiple drip campaigns, augment their lead-score, send an SMS, generate a support ticket or enroll in an upcoming webinar. Say the rep needs to create a Sugar opportunity on the fly while engaging with the record - also possible within the Timeline report - all without having to leave the screen.

Helpful for the marketing team:

The ability for CRM users (like sales and service reps) to reuse marketing assets and programs. Many marketing teams create great assets (like well thought out, rich email templates) and programs (like sophisticated multi-touch campaigns). Yet many sales and service people can’t easily reuse these assets and programs. A well-integrated CRM and marketing automation system will allow the CRM user to seamlessly reuse existing email templates from marketing automation, and will allow a CRM user to drop a prospect into an existing marketing automation program.


Our extensive library allows users to re-use previously created and/or deployed content right within their automation or for standalone campaigns. We also have a great cloning feature built into the automation manager for end-users to quickly re-create their successful marketing campaigns, albeit with a few small tweaks.

 

To read the full article from Laurence, click here to be taken straight to the source.

 

Why SMS Marketing?

We are quickly noticing a buzz around the capabilities of SMS marketing. As spam filter belts tighten and ISP's (internet service providers) become increasingly hostile towards your marketing communications; there is an untapped channel at your disposal in the form of SMS engagement. 

Why is this important?

Two things to know with SMS marketing.

1) 100% deliverability (assuming you have the correct mobile number and we're not in a post-apocolyptic world)

2) Unavoidable! You can be sure, that at least for a nano-second..someone looked at your text. You may not know they did, but let's face it, who isn't glued to their phone in 2016? 

How will this increase engagement with my communications or traction to my website?

Well with INBOX25, our Twilio integration enables the end-user to not only send 1:1 sms communication to their marketing records, but also internal alerts to their Sugar users as well. So there's a two-pronged approach here.

Examples:

A) Sales Rep John Smith just got off a great call with Sally, who's highly interested in your brand but wants a day to think about it. With the Twilio integration enabled, John can send Sally an SMS letting her know he enjoyed their talk and will be speaking with her tomorrow; all within the Timeline Intelligence report viewable right within Sally's record in SugarCRM.

B) Sales Rep Susan finished a meeting with Robert. As soon as Susan logs her meeting with Robert in Sugar as 'held', INBOX25 will automatically send a personalized sms to Robert thanking him for his time today and looking forward to continuing engagement in the future.

C) Acme industries will be hosting an event on Friday. Acme has a list of recipients who have confirmed attendance and have already sent out a targeted message to the attendees of additional info (found on Acme's website). Ten minutes after the email gets sent out, Acme then sends an sms to all of these attendees, directing them to the link on the site (link generated by using a Click Campaign) with all of the event info.

D) Lead comes in from Acme's 'Request a Quote' form. Not only will INBOX25 route this lead to Sales Rep Mark, but Mark will receive a handy-dandy sms alert letting him know a lead from the request a quote form has been assigned to him, and to ensure he reaches out within the next 10 minutes. So if you're on your smoke break Mark, we can still alert you to finish it off quickly and get back to your desk, INBOX25 has some work for you to do! 

Automating the Sales Process

There are near limitless processes you can configure with the robust automation engine with INBOX25 integrated with SugarCRM. There are many reasons why we are sweet on SugarCRM, but I want to focus on one process in particular; the sales process.

Within SugarCRM, the sales team can log interactions with assigned prospects, leads or even customers via the calls or meetings modules. Whether it be a face-to-face or a phone-call, there is a central location for all of these interactions to be logged while also supplying a direct relationship with the specific record involved. 

A typical sales process would follow an initial introduction call or meeting. The goal is to qualify the lead to the next stage of the sales cycle, whether it be providing them additional information, scheduling a follow up call with them or directing them to a specific resource (signing up online, complete the order, etc). All of these examples involves an email communication to the lead from the sales rep usually after the call. The substance of the email is personalized in nature, and in many of these cases it is indeed personal as the sales rep is chief responsible for generating the email and sending it out themselves. Now with clients like gmail or outlook, the sales rep's life can be made easier with canned responses and sure there is a plugin an individual can get to track their personal emails..but what about tracking all email communications? Furthermore, how is a sales rep able to gain insight as to what the lead does after the initial campaign response (i.e do they visit other pages on the site, fill out a separate form, where are they located?).

With INBOX25 you can automate and end-to-end sales process and before I explain how, let me start by outlining the benefits

Time: Time is money, and with an automated sales approach your sales reps no longer need to worry about crafting an email based on how  the call went - it's done for them. So the question is what are you going to do with all of that time saved?

Legacy Tracking: You can track lead behavior past the email campaign to view future web-activity, if they initiated a chat session, opened a support ticket, etc. With this level of data-collection you'll be able to action more complex workflows than what is going to be outlined below. All of this is logged within the Timeline Intelligence Report. 

The process:

Due to our in-depth integration with SugarCRM, the calls module can be customized to include custom call 'statuses' and/or call 'types'. INBOX25 can leverage custom data-fields and subsequent values as criteria to enter a lead into a particular automated workflow. The scenario is  to be able to send an automated email to the lead based on the call status as well as the call type. Call statuses would be categorized by the result of the call (i.e was it a good call, bad call, did they not answer?).

For example, say a sales rep called a lead as part of the on-boarding process and they didn't pick up. Call is logged in SugarCRM, and based on how it was logged the lead will then receive a specifically worded template based off of the status. The system can then generate the follow up call for the sales rep so they don't have to worry about determining when they should be attempting again.

Calls can be leveraged as a condition with our automation manager. So with this process, you would create a workflow for each corresponding call status. If multiple no-response attempts are made, you may wish for similar content (albeit repurposed) to continue engaging with leads if they miss appointments, and thus additional call statuses.

In the example below, a lead will receive a 'sorry we missed you' email once a call has been logged with the status of 'no response' and type of 'on-boarding' and then a 2nd call is generated for the sales rep..in a matter of minutes.

What's New: Landing Page Enhancements

Landing pages are the first step for converting leads that arrive at your site and injecting them into your marketing program. These enhancements allow for greater flexibility and accessibility when leveraging our landing pages/forms. 

Recent enhancements: 

  • Allow Conversions From Existing Targets Only
  • Disable Auto-Fill for Known Targets
  • Limit Total Submissions
  • Disable Field Editing for Known Targets

Let’s detail out the specifics of each enhancement below.

Allow Conversions From Existing Targets Only

When selecting the checkbox “Allow Conversions From Existing Targets Only” you’re limiting this form to only accept submissions from existing records within INBOX25. The email address will be used as our key identifier to detecting existing records.

A powerful use case for this enhancement arises when forms are intended for specific recipients or to control the creation of new data.

Disable Auto-Fill for Known Targets

When selecting the checkbox “Disable Auto-Fill for Known Targets” you’re removing any auto-fill functionality from the landing page. By default, landing pages will auto-fill fields from known targets within our platform. A known target is defined as a record with a unique tracking cookie embedded on their browser from either an email link click or a form conversion. Learn more about visitor tracking

Limit Total Submissions

When selecting the checkbox “Limit Total Submissions” you’re prompted to select a submission limit on the number of total submissions your form will accept. Upon hitting the submission limit you’ll have the option to:

  • Show an Alert Message
  • Redirect to a Page
  • Hide Submit Button

This enhancement becomes beneficial when leveraging our forms for RSVP or event sign-up with a certain attendee capacity. Upon reaching the submission limit, your form will no longer accept new submissions and follow the options listed above.

Disable Field Editing for Known Targets

When selecting the checkbox "Disable Field Editing for Known Targets" you can define certain fields to be non-editable when data is auto-filled. 

This enhancement is field specific, meaning you can leverage/activate this enhancement on individual fields. (ex. Remove access to edit name and email address field once auto-filled but allow mobile number field to be changed.)

 This enhancement when leveraged is a powerful tool for those concerned with data integrity and cleanliness of data. You can remove the risk of known visitors using alternative email addresses and avoid unintended data changes in your CRM. 

SugarCRM Target List Manager

SugarCRM target lists represent the primary tool SugarCRM users utilize when segmenting their database. With target lists playing such a key function, our integration syncs directly with your SugarCRM instance to sync over all SugarCRM target lists within your database. Using our Target List Manager you’re provided specific insight into the health, status and makeup of your target lists from one streamlined UI. For those on our Pro-Marketer plan this report allows target lists to be converted into identical list segments which are used when sending batch outbound email communication. Let’s begin by exploring the core functionality found in our Target List Manager.

Key Features

  • View SugarCRM target lists synced to our platform
  • View target list makeup (Who’s in your target list and from what CRM module)
  • Create List Segments for batch email campaign sending
  • Re-sync individual target lists to sync most recent information (If SymSync is not configured for a SugarCRM user altering record data)

Analyzing the Numbers

The Target List Manager will break down your target list health by measuring three status’. Each status follows in descending order.

1.CRM Count - Represents the hard record value found within SugarCRM. This number is a total record value not accounting for records without email addresses, invalid/opt-outs or duplicates.

2.Imported - The value of valid records synced to our platform. We'll weed out duplicates, records without email addresses, invalid email addresses or records marked as opted-out.

3.Active - The final record count synced to our platform. We’ll scan for records marked as inactive within our platform to reach your final total.

Note-It is common for the CRM Count to not match the records synced and active within our platform. The CRM Count is a hard value accounting for all record id's within the list regardless of status. The CRM Count includes records we will never sync i.e invalid email addresses, opt-outs, records without emails and duplicate records. 

 Creating a List Segment

When sending batch email campaigns through our Email Campaign Wizard, those wishing to send to SugarCRM target lists will need to convert their target lists into list segments. These list segments are identical replicas of the parents target lists fielding the same name and record count.

Creating list segments is a one click process and will not need to be re-done after the initial list segment is created.

Step 1 - Find Your Target List

Find the SugarCRM target list you wish to convert into a list segment. You can use the search bar found at the top of the manager for quick navigation.

Step 2 - Select “Create List Segment”

Found below your SugarCRM target list name select “Create List Segment” Once clicked, we’ll automatically begin the list segment creation and notify you the process is active by displaying “Building Segment” adjacent the list name.

Step 3 - Viewing & Utilizing Your List Segment

The list segment created is an identical replica of its parent target list. The list segment will have the same name and record count. If the records within your SugarCRM target list contain more than one SugarCRM module (i.e leads, contacts & accounts) then three list segments would be created, one for each module present. (As shown in the below screenshot)

If you wish to view your list segment(s) select the numerical value under the segment category. You'll view all records contained within the segment with the ability to export the data to a .CSV.

When selecting these list segments as recipients lists within the Email Campaign Wizard, simply select each list segment with the identical name of it’s parent target list to ensure that all records are added.

Below is the recipient screen found in our email wizard. In this example three list segments are selected as the SugarCRM target list "SymSync Segments 1" comprised of records from accounts, contacts and leads. 

Analyzing Your SugarCRM Target List

Our Target List Manager provides insight and reporting analytics not found within SugarCRM alone. By selecting the numerical value of your target list under "Imported", we'll provide a full breakdown displaying:

  • Target - Display record name, module location & SugarCRM bean id
  • Status - Active, Inactive, Unsubscribed, Opted-Out
  • Date/Time 
  • Score - INBOX25 lead score
  • Lead Source - Origin of record
  • Owner - Owner of record within SugarCRM

Accessible Navigation

For ease of navigation through larger SugarCRM target lists, our Target List Manager allows segmentation using:

  • Name, Email or Bean ID
  • Status (Active, Inactive, Unsubscribed, Opted-Out
  • Module Type (Leads, Contacts, Prospects, Accounts)

Target Not Available in CRM List

Whens records are unable to sync to our platform the Target List Manager will display "Target not available in CRM List". This situation stems from SugarCRM but we can help navigate and troubleshoot the error. 

The Target List Manager will display the SugarCRM bean id found locally within our system. Tracing that bean id back to SugarCRM can tell you:

  • If the bean id no longer exists in SugarCRM, the record was deleted within SugarCRM.
  • If the record does exist but has not synced to our platform, run a manual sync of the records housed module (Leads, Contacts, Prospects, Accounts) through SymSync and a re-sync of the target list within the Target List Manager. 

Increasing Data Quality with Lead Capture Forms

The cornerstone of any successful inbound lead management strategy is capturing not only the right data, but the right data at the right time.

What does this mean?

If I was conducting self-research on a VoiP service needed for the office, I wouldn't necessarily fill out a form asking for my company name, phone number, title, expected purchasing time-frame, etc. unless I was highly interested: but I'm not, I'm simply conducting research. I may be inclined, however, to provide my name, email and potential products I am interested in.

 

Stop! 

What just happened was that I was more enticed to provide less information initially, but what I also did was alert the firm to my product/service interests. From a marketing perspective, our team now has a good idea of the content that this lead should receive, because they've spelled it out. While it would be fantastic to also know the lead's title, who they represent and a best contact number, the content (if relevant to their specific interest) should also be guiding them down the right path of their customer journey.

Depending on where a prospect or lead is in the buying cycle, there are certain questions or information on a form they may wish to leave out. The more being asked of a lead from the onset of the engagement, the less likely they are to convert on your form. Now there's a balancing act involved, because if the form is providing important information as well as a valuable call to action, then the prospect/lead may be more enticed to provide more detailed information to receive that white paper or case study. It's all about risk and reward. In this scenario, anyone who fills out this form is a warm to hot lead and immediate action should be taken on them. 

The information you request and collect from lead capture forms will also base your follow up actions upon conversion. From the scenario before, if a lead provided their product/service interests, then it would be an option to enter them into a drip campaign and have a sales rep reach out soon, but not immediately: give them some time to look over your content. This also gives you the opportunity to gently request more information with gated content - or content that is only enabled via conversion on a form.

Moral of the story:

Don't overload your leads with learning their life story. With a Lead or Prospect, it's more important to learn their interests first, to be able to commence their customer journey with relative content. As the journey progresses, you will have opportunities to collect the additional information along the way, graduating them to market qualified or identified. And once identified and/or qualified, now you can pass off to the sales team to learn even more!

 

New Martech vs. Old Habits

Marketing automation as a software isn’t new, in fact it's been around for quite a few years. But its recent emergence as the popular martech tool has left marketers scrambling to get their hands in the pie. Transitioning from a traditional email marketing system is no easy task as the rich feature set and wealth of functionality found in marketing automation platforms can leave unsuspecting users scratching their heads. Marketing automation platforms often come included with lead scoring, visitor tracking, social integrations, web-to-lead forms to name a few. Habits are hard to break and transitioning into marketing automation can prove challenging for marketers stuck in 2005. Email is no longer the exclusive medium. Digital marketing takes shape when multiple mediums work as one. Incorporate email into your marketing strategy, but it's not the only egg in your martech basket.

Email is still the chief medium in most marketing strategies and for good reason. It’s an effective tool for feeding information to your prospects and customers. But as the complexities of digital marketing and the current consumer becomes more apparent, batch and blast email sending is quickly becoming obsolete. Dma.org found that “75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than one-size-fits-all campaigns”. Buyers are more research happy than ever before with a sea of information at their fingertips. This shift in buyer behavior puts marketers on the defensive dealing with a more informed and knowledgeable audience. Buyers are decisive, drawing their own conclusions to the products and services deemed worthy of interest. It’s the marketers job to understand and analyze their target consumers behavior in order to deliver fresh, relevant and engaging content. 

Digital marketing is data driven. It’s a complex web of intertwined resources working as one collective body. Email marketing is by no means obsolete, but the focus has shifted from un-targeted communication, to a systematic approach dependent on user behavior and engagement. With an informed consumer quality trumps quantity. Digital marketing represents methodical strategies developed as a culmination of fresh content, targeted communication and personal prospect interaction. 

Email marketing is a core feature within marketing automation platforms but the additional functionality available should not be discarded. A successful marketing strategy is one that adapts to change. View digital marketing as a collective body, with each channel contributing a necessary but a singular piece to a larger process. With digital marketing the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To analyze the collective will only serve to improve the individual by identifying and correcting weak points.

Marketing Automation: Setting Expectations to Meet Goals

When a surgeon preps for an operation, there are a number of tools and people the surgeon needs to tap in before even touching the patient. They need their assistant surgeon as well as techs. They need their scalpal, adequate light and the necessary anesthesia to knock the patient out. In short, without the necessary tools or people to assist, the surgeon can't perform the surgery.

Why are we talking about surgery, after all this is a marketing automation blog! Easy, because this analogy directly reflects the processes that businesses must go through to ensure a successful marketing automation adoption. 

Here are a few common misconceptions surrounding marketing automation.

  • Marketing automation can be configured in a very short period of time (overnight).
  • Marketing automation is a play and watch system, no need for consistent human interaction.
  • Marketing automation will tell you who you need to market to, when and how.

 Let's dispel these myths using the above analogy. It is extremely challenging to implement marketing automation software quickly, unless all the pieces have been put in place prior to purchasing the application. Much like a surgeon needs their assistants and tools, any business will need staff, data and content to successfully adopt marketing automation. It's important not to look at marketing automation from the perspective of 'I have purchased 6 months of the platform, I expect to see results by then'. There is a transition period with marketing automation as the system feeds off data gathered over time. To gather three months of website activity takes 3 months. 

Marketing automation requires consistent human interaction. Automation is not the same as auto-piliot. By shirking the responsibility of checking up on your system you run the risk of losing out on important analytics or leads to take immediate action. Without the techs, a surgeon would have difficulty getting the necessary tools to continue the operation. They may lose the patient. Don't lose the patient. 

Marketing automation platforms certainly provide a wealth of tools and analytics to monitor. Use this data as a map to plan your next steps. The system, however, is not intelligent enough to flat-out tell you that ex. A needs to be sent email A because they visited your website. No, this is configured by the user, the human, to automate this process by analyzing the data provided to you. In most cases, your colleagues would have the most insight as to what content to be sent to whom and when. The surgeon's scalpal isn't going to tell them 'cut here'. The surgeon has to know this depending on the diagnosis provided by their trusty team of doctors and techs.

By curbing expectations to meet realistic goals while understanding the different levels of complexities, your team will be in a strong position to adopt marketing automation successfully. Data, team and strategy are the keys to success, and with the keys in your hand, you'll be successful.