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The analytical basis must be right for marketing automation

The analytical basis must be right for marketing automation

So far, only one in ten companies is using marketing automation, as a scientific study shows. Half of the online marketing decision-makers surveyed gave automated processes a high priority. Martin Clark, managing director of software provider Apteco, outlines opportunities marketers are using to close the gap between theory and practice in marketing automation. He also illustrates pitfalls that need to be avoided.

1. Consolidate for all-round visibility of customers

As a basis for marketing automation in addition to a holistic customer perspective, companies should bring together internal and external customer information as well as transaction data from various sources in a data warehouse or data mart (CRM, ERP, web shop, merchandise management, e-mail service provider, Excel tables, milieus, purchasing power data Etc.). But be careful: think of the Pareto principle of achieving 80 percent effect with 20 percent of the effort. Start with the two to three most important data pots and gradually integrate other sources. Make sure you have clean, up-to-date and normalized data for granular selection. For example, master data is assigned to each transaction data record and vice versa. Duplicates are matched and cleaned up using algorithms. In addition, marketers need to get an overview of records with permission-based email addresses.

2. Transaction data and customer behavior under the microscope

With only 10,000 customer master data, the number of transaction data records can quickly run into the millions – call it big data or not. But this is exactly where the music plays: Pay attention to the transaction data and derive rules from customer behavior – for example for the optimal frequency of sending an e-mail newsletter per customer. Selections, visualizations and statistical tools for scoring and customer profiling help here. However, do not start with marketing automation until you have created the analytical basis for it. Only in this way is effective targeting a guarantee for successful campaign management – especially if it is controlled automatically.

3. Campaign automation helps to precisely control marketing impulses

Check out which of the numerous possible campaign processes generate a positive contribution margin: Once set up, dozens of campaigns can easily run simultaneously using automation. Make sure, however, to limit your communication across channels and in terms of time so as not to scare off customers with too many impulses and to use postage economically. Example: Set a capping (“no more than one e-mail per week”) and limit the number of mailings to one person per household. Orientate yourself on event triggers (rule-based: “Customer clicked”; time-based: “Customer did not respond within 48 hours”; Response-based: “Customer has bought”). Budget restrictions and checking the control groups make marketing automation practical.

4. Channel interaction with the help of “lead nurturing”

Only a fraction of those interested are actually ready to buy; the rest is in the research phase and will feel annoyed by too frequent communication and offers or withdraw completely. In order to keep interested parties nonetheless, only “lead nurturing” helps – targeted customer loyalty by means of relevant information sent in appropriate frequencies via the customer’s preferred channel. The right contact strategy along the customer journey through to the purchase can be derived from opening and click rates, among other things. But be careful: Do not overwhelm a “little reader” with a jumble of emails so that they do not unsubscribe from the newsletter in an annoyed manner. Conversely, responses from (automated) campaigns attract and generate revenue thanks to optimal timing and channels.

5. Campaign controlling: keep your eyes open in the control loop

Learning from the past campaign: Via interfaces, for example to e-mail service providers, personalized e-mails can be sent automatically and their opening, click and bounce rates can be integrated and analyzed almost in real time. Feedback integration applies to connected CRM systems, call centers and just recorded mailing responses. The associated transaction data mostly flow back into the process through a source system such as a CRM database. But be careful: Return the feedback promptly and evaluate the results. Campaign optimization only works with the help of detailed measurements.

(Apteco / asc)