This is an exciting time to be a marketer. Technology is enabling us to connect with consumers using messages that are more relevant, more personalized and more innovative than ever before. Plus, we have a wide range of channels at our disposal, and in many cases, we’re able to track our efforts and measure our success with a precision that we could only dream about just ten years ago.
Unfortunately, though, this “exciting time” also poses enormous challenges. Many marketing pros now feel overwhelmed by all that’s changing in the industry. They’re constantly wondering where to devote budget, which messages are the most relevant and how to demonstrate ROI.
Do you find yourself mired in questions like these? What can you do to find the answers so you can move your marketing initiatives forward?
For me, the answer is simple. If you want to create relevancy, manage content across channels, track workflow and measure success, you need to start by adopting a campaign management (segmentation and automation, e.g.) approach. But, please don’t let that advice intimidate you. Like many of the marketers I talk to every week, you may be closer than you realize to taking full advantage of all the benefits campaign management can offer.
To help gauge your readiness and identify both opportunities and areas of vulnerability, take a look at this checklist. Your team is ready for a campaign management approach if:
1. You have evidence your customers want to interact with your brand in more than one channel – online and offline. Campaign management software sits on the marketing database so it can read, respond and customize to customer preference across as many channels as your marketing team dare approach.
2. You have multiple sources to manage. Where is the data before it comes to the marketing department? Do various marketing activities have their own databases which need to be synchronized? While some marketing departments survive using multiple databases, it’s becoming increasingly critical to generate outbound digital messaging (email, SMS, social, web optimization) from a common source database. Consistency across channels strengthens your message and helps build the trust that leads to true customer engagement. Remember: You need to respect customer choice and their seemingly endless (but not nearly seamless!) transfer of activity between email, social and online activities via a collection of devices.
3. You would like to decrease your time to market for outbound campaigns. If content is the currency by which we create customized, welcome experiences, then getting in front of the costs and production requirements for assets and versions is key.
4. You need help clearly articulating and executing your marketing goals. Establishing a common language for success is an important factor in optimizing the use of new marketing technology platforms. Would being forced to establish this kind of common language help you and your entire marketing department better communicate and collaborate throughout the enterprise
5. You already have a common set of ROI metrics for your business, and you’ve shared these with sales and executives. Once you have agreed to a common set of ROI metrics, a campaign management approach can help you automate and track them. As a result, it also provides visibility and accountability. With all your activity happening in one place, from one database, you can more easily track workflow, budget and spend management efforts –and you’ll utilize one reporting database to gain actionable insights into your particular business.
6. You want to reduce the time spent transferring data from one system to another. One of the most difficult things to accomplish in digital marketing is to be relevant. In order to create relevancy, you have to learn about customers, respond to their behavior and actions in real time and customize experiences. Today’s campaign management approaches include multi-touch (nurturing) and automation capabilities to improve efficiencies and effectiveness.
7. You have already demonstrated success with intra-department software (salesforce automation or cloud-based asset library, e.g.). Lightning can strike twice! Leverage your prior successes to help you define and embrace a strategic approach. Once again, communication and collaboration are essential, as is getting buy-in from the C-suite early in the process.
Now that you’ve gauged your readiness for a campaign management solution, the next step is to articulate your topline business goals. Would you like to create more efficiencies and higher productivity? Or are you focused more on cross channel campaigns? Or tracking and measuring? Answering those questions will help you identify whether you need a campaign management solution or just a point solution. The former will likely have more firepower and processing speed, as well as incorporate multiple functions for managing data, setting up segmentations and multi touch campaigns. You’ll also want to be sure it includes functionality for publishing and messaging (email, SMS, social) – allowing you to consolidate solutions and pull outbound communications closer to the database.