Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Each Thursday at 11am EDT, marketers from around the world join the ExactTarget Nexus partner ecosystem on Twitter for a conversation about trends and campaign ideas across the interactive marketing industry. We call the virtual coffee chat the Nexus Café.
Our guest for a recent #NexusCafe chat was Brian Shelton, eCommerce & Special Projects Manager at Gilchrist & Soames. Brian just completed a major website project at his company so content automation was top of mind. Brian is involved in the 3sixty Live Indianapolis user community and is a regular contributor to the weekly #NexusCafe chat.
Here's a recap of the conversation with Brian and the rest of the group:
@ETNexus: Q1 What are some of your business objectives for running marketing automation across your channels?
@briandshelton: In general terms: grow customer base, grow revenue/average order size, increase Lifetime Value (LTV), streamline activity.
@briandshelton:This isn't really concrete, but spend more time on strategy and less time on every tiny detail of execution.
@briandshelton: If automation feels like automation, you need to recalibrate. Automation does not = one-size-fits-all.
@kkestler: You can potentially reach a broader range of your customers when you automate, which can potentially increase LTV.
@kkestler: Also looking for a consistently high conversion rate as customers are led through defined lifecycle stages.
@bethleleck: When done right, automation = efficiency & effectiveness.
@lizsingleton: biz objective for marketing automation: maximization of human resources.
@ETNexus: Q2 Where do you use marketing automation in your customer lifecycle? What are some examples?
@briandshelton: In every phase. It's really no different than personal relationships. Meet – First date – Dating – Engagement – Marriage – Reach – Acquire – Develop – Retain – Inspire
@briandshelton: Examples: Segmentation, lead gen/list building, nurturing, content targeting upsells & increased order size, etc.
@briandshelton: I'm currently working on an automation strategy for nurturing leads for the beginning/middle of a customer life cycle #NexusCafe
@kkestler: Lead nurturing, post-purchase support/education, maintaining customer engagement away from the purchase.
@csabbarese: Establishing targeted campaigns based on previous actions, ordered specific products etc
@acskirvin: Every biz can create a series of life cycle stages based on the prospect/customer engagement, then automatic communication to each stage
@lizsingleton: Obvious like Welcome & customer satisfaction surveys, also use data to identify 'at risk' and entice to come back.
@ETNexus: Q3 Is there a critical time in your lifecycle that is really important to engage to prevent fall-off?
@briandshelton: For us, after the first purchase is the most critical time to engage...
@briandshelton: That said, if you neglect the relationship at any stage, you risk losing the relationship.
@kkestler: I find a lot of automation implementations are front-loaded (leads & purchases). Remember loyal customers too!
@acskirvin: Each stage is very important in itself, but for most companies the new client on boarding program provides long term
@lizsingleton: Identifying critical time is key! Sometimes obvious, sometimes more illusive, like changes in existing behavior.
@ETNexus: Q4 What are principles to keep in mind when designing your campaigns to ensure cross-channel consistency of message, design,etc?
@briandshelton: To name a few... relevance, timeliness, creative (images), voice.
@briandshelton: Relevance - make sure your message matches your customers interests/preferences
@briandshelton: Timeliness - the right message at the right time (think triggered emails, for example)
@briandshelton: Creative - No matter where the engagement happens, they need to know they’re in the right place. Visual cues help.
@briandshelton: Voice - consistent “tone” across all channels. Traditional franchises often struggle with this.
@havronsm Voice, Tone, Audience, Graphics, etc. If it's on the Creative Brief you better remember it. Creative Brief=The Law
@ETNexus: Q5 Personalization is more than adding a name. How do you leverage relevant content based on their history with your brand?
@brandcolby: Every brand has a personality. People expect that personality when they see your material. You can't be inconsistent.
@acskirvin: Dynamic content on email and landing pages is an easy start. More sophisticated marketers can use content
@BEMInteractive: Prior purchase data, survey, preference center, purchase cadence/renewal date.
@acskirvin: The best data is the "voice of the customer".. ask them.... But if you do, make sure you use the information
@ETNexus: Q6 Maintaining existing automations can be a challenge. How do you know what and when to change the program?
@briandshelton: You have to track your metrics... when something isn’t working, you need to adjust quickly.
@briandshelton: Listening will also help identify shortcomings in automation efforts - customers will often let you know.
@acskirvin: Make sure you are meeting your revenue goal, if not change the content or freq. But, don't just measure open
@kkestler: Monitor. Predetermine your KPIs and keep an eye on them. Automation itself is a process, not an end.
@ETNexus: Q7 What are some resources for this topic for people to learn more?
@briandshelton: Resources - marketing automation blog post, #NexusCafe recap blog post on marketing automation, #NexusCafe recap blog post on customer lifecycle from the @ExactTarget blog
@briandshelton: Also, @roi_marketing, @compendium, @marketo are good resources.
@BEMInteractive: Coincidence: we suggested 5 basic use cases for triggered/automation email just this week on our blog post.