Please note: Divya Gupta, Director of Customer Success at Responsys, also contributed to this post
In today’s challenging economic climate, the marketing function needs to prove its value more than ever. However, in many organizations, the power of marketing automation still remains an untapped stream of revenue and opportunity, in spite of the proven results that campaign automation can increase ROI.
Too often we come across businesses facing challenges that impede their ability to implement an automated strategy, or that impact their success even when they have already moved to a more targeted approach. By investing time upfront to understand how marketing automation works, most of these barriers for success can be easily solved. In this blog post we have outlined a few of the scenarios we face most regularly and look at how to best address them.
Barrier 1 – Insufficient training: One of the key drivers behind any successful marketing strategy is having trained and skilled staff, who are able to execute campaigns that deliver results. Today’s marketer often has a wide and all-encompassing job remit, which may include a variety of marketing related functions such as email, above the line, direct marketing and even public relations. Digital marketing may only be a minor part of their role.
As a result, at Responsys, when we partner with new clients, one of our first tasks is to assess their existing level of knowledge and the amount of support they will require to execute automated campaigns. We also develop individually tailored training programs to ensure our clients are fully equipped on how to use the Responsys platform and apply the principals of marketing automation.
Barrier 2 – Lack of understanding: In our experience, the role and value of marketing automation is not only under appreciated, it is often misunderstood. Many marketers become stuck in a cycle of viewing their marketing programs on a campaign by campaign basis, and believe that automation will relinquish their control and ownership.
However, the opposite is true. Automation allows marketers to have much deeper insight into the behavior of their audience, enabling them to execute far more targeted and personalized campaigns. This in turn provides them with greater foresight when planning their strategies and thereby, control, in maximizing the success of their campaigns. Responsys’ Customer Success team provides thought leadership to our customers by regularly bringing them relevant examples of best practices in automated programs.
Barrier 3 – Internal resistance: Resistance to investing in marketing automation often comes from the most senior marketers. The decision makers, who have the tightest grip over an organization’s purse strings. Educating this group of experts who may be accustomed to tried and tested ‘old school’ methods will not come overnight, but by continuing the education process while also reaching out to those in the middle management, eventually the message will hit home.
To tangibly demonstrate the value of marketing automation to business and help marketers obtain management buy-in, Responsys has created an ‘ROI Calculator.’ This shows how automation works in simple terms, the results that can be achieved and the amount of time marketers can save. The ability to see the potential revenue gains or the money being left on the table by not implementing automation is often enough to convince savvy senior marketers.
Barrier 4 – Not setting the right KPIs or regularly reviewing performance of programs: Too often we come across businesses whose KPIs are benchmarked by the number of campaigns they execute rather than the quality of the results they achieve. Or there’s a lack of awareness of the KPIs that marketers should be looking at – instead of looking at just open rates, marketers need to look at click stream and conversion metrics. What’s more, marketers often think of automated programs as “set and forget” programs, but like any other program, they need to review and optimize the performance of their automated programs as well.
The Customer Success team review the key performance metrics with clients on a monthly basis and provide high-level advice on how to improve on the success of campaigns. Responsys also provides professional services like strategic planning and creative development to help benchmark and optimize email programs.