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Marketing automation that puts a smile on everyone’s face


Tom Ryan emphasises the importance of delighting the audience – discussing everything from personalised communications to high-quality data.

14th Aug 2023

The goal of a marketing operations professional isn’t to send ongoing communications to the target audience, it is to delight them. Great marketing is about the emotion it evokes as much as it is about conveying information.

This is a big task because the smallest negatives tend to stick out in an otherwise perfect piece of communications. For example, think of a time you received an email that was beautiful in design, satisfying on mobile but then you saw ‘Hi {{first name}}’. Everything positive about the email is undone, and now it’s an immediate turn off.

However, get it right and it is easy to stand out from the rest. Extremely positive and frictionless marketing can be equally as memorable for the desired customer.

To make people feel positively towards a brand and its messaging, here are some fundamentals.

Data is fuel – use renewables, avoid crude

Renewables are all the rage right now and this applies to marketing data too.

When building an automated process, always start at the beginning with the data-capturing forms. By focussing on this first, marketers will be able to infinitely accrue all the high-quality data needed directly from prospects and customers. If something changes, they’ll renew the data for you. For example, if someone is promoted and their job title changes, let them tell you. If someone’s phone number changes, let them tell you.

All marketing automation platforms have the ability to capture data via forms with very advanced functionality. As such, marketers are able to configure these forms to dynamically change according to what they know about the individual. In other words, ensure that all forms are bespoke to every person viewing them, at all times and that they ask relevant questions.

Some companies are still in the business of purchasing lists and yet expect to see great results.

Bad data, on the other hand, causes marketing nightmares. Some companies are still in the business of purchasing lists and yet expect to see great results. A common question that is still asked is ‘what is the typical open and click rate for a purchased list?’. Rather say ‘sorry we don’t use crude data, we’ve gone green’.

Let the target audience provide the high-quality fuel for your marketing automation platform (MAP) and avoid purchasing lists.

Expensive shoes with… dirty old socks?

Purchasing the most expensive and powerful MAP means nothing without a strong foundation underneath the hood. Only a team of experts can create something special for you.

However, it is important to note that marketers don’t have to know this expertise first hand. Rather they can build a dream team of marketing professionals by leaning on proven consultancies to help with either the knowledge gap or the resource shortage within the team. Either way, competent professionals and subject matter experts are the key to winning here.

New campaigns, new markets, changing customer needs and brand maturity will all play a part in how automation changes.

New campaigns, new markets, changing customer needs and brand maturity will all play a part in how automation changes and marketers should always keep an eye out for stale content that needs a refresh or new marketing automation opportunities within the data.

Alongside this, marketers can lean on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to surface the key data and metrics that will enable better strategic marketing decisions. This will provide a quick view of the best performing content type, channel, message and more.

The goal is to keep messaging fresh and engaging, at scale. Or, keeping within the analogy, wash your socks regularly because you do a lot of walking.

It’s always about ‘YOU’

This is the number one tip to any marketer who wants to really please their audience. Make it about them, 100% of the time.

So many B2B emails begin with ‘I just wanted to check-in’ or ‘I am reaching out because’... Who cares? 

You should make automated communications align with real life, behaving as if your prospect was sat one-to-one with you in the same room having a conversation. The message will deliver much more seamlessly.

If the recipient feels like just another one of many or like they’re being talked at, much like in real life, they will switch off.

Similarly, it is important to pay attention to when to talk to the target audience as that matters too. Timing plays a big part of most things. Many tools include AI that can send emails when the recipient is most likely to open it which is really important when sending to thousands of people.

Be personable, listen intently to people’s needs and aim to be more human through automation.It sounds obvious, but you’ll be surprised how often marketers get this wrong.

Get to the point and relieve the reader of stress

Customers and prospects do not have time to analyse emails to figure out what is actually being asked of them. The less of this ‘email fog’ that is sent, the better. Rather aim for complete clarity.

Customers and prospects do not have time to analyse emails to figure out what is actually being asked.

Some of the best communications begin by addressing the recipient’s pain point straight away and providing clarity on the purpose of the email, for example: 

  • “Your website has a problem with UX, here’s how I would fix it.”
  • “You must be preparing for the new X regulation that’s coming in, here’s how our software speeds up this process in a compliant way.”
  • “You’re responsible for hiring at X, right? I have 3 candidates that I’ve vetted myself. If you interview one of them this week, I’ll drop my rate to X%”

If the reader is left guessing what the email is talking about, marketers will be left guessing when and if they’ll ever reply.

Make their life easier and  reap the rewards.

You have two ears and one mouth

If evolution taught us anything about communication, it’s to listen far more than speak and often less communication is more.

It’s the final piece of the marketing automation puzzle, besides actually sending out communications. Listen to your audience engagement and try to deeply understand what is happening to make informed decisions based on the signals being sent.

Remember imagining someone is sitting in a room with you talking face-to-face? In this scenario, you actively listen and don’t talk over the other person. You understand the response, read body language, decide and tailor your message to respond back to the person. If you fail to do this, you will seem awkward, disengaged or in some cases just plain rude.

Take this principle and bake it into your marketing approach.

Use AI tools to harness your marketing by:

  • Focussing on the right accounts (key accounts identification)
  • Optimising communications best possible send time (send-time optimisation)
  • Reading buyer intent correctly (behaviour scoring)
  • Contacting an individual person too much or not enough (frequency)
  • Qualifying your prospects before passing to sales (lead scoring)

Ultimately, marketing’s perpetual value is to send the right message to the right person at the right time.

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