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Mad Men vs. Math Men: 5 Ways to Automate for Both Sides of Your Marketing Brain

  |  August 19, 2013   |  Comments

A repeatable process for real-time, multi-channel optimization can make an enormous difference in how each campaign performs overall and within the overall marketing mix.

We live in an age where the Mad Men of advertising wrestle with the Math Men of marketing analytics. Is the creative the most important element? Is the data? I say, "Pooh" to anyone trying to have this debate. The fact is that data-driven marketing is only successful when both parts of our brain, our teams, and our attitudes are in play.

  1. Creatives benefit from improved insights, informed (and predictive) personas, better strategic direction, and lots of proof that their brilliance works!
  2. Quants benefit from real-time data inputs and messaging that engages and feeds the analytics engine(s).

The future of marketing is the marriage between intent and content. Intent is the data that drives our understanding of customers, and then allows us to message them in near real time. Content is of course the amazing offers that are put in front of people at the right time in the right channel - and on the right device. The combination will help us sell more of what we make, while earning higher customer satisfaction. In our socially connected world, it is truer than ever that to the companies that provide the best experience go the customers and the revenue.

You no longer have the choice to be channel-driven or product-centric. You must embrace both your (and your team's) creative and analytics sides. Is your master data management strategy aligned with your content curation methodology? Have you let marketing processes trump subscriber needs? Is your database empowering you to create amazingly engaging experiences?

Automation has long been about tapping opportunity in both life stage and lifestyle. Customers are in charge, but that doesn't mean marketers can't engage and encourage them along certain paths. As long as the marketer participation is authentic and valid and helpful, it will be welcome.

There are five things that are essential to an effective Mad-Math automation program:

  1. Build a comprehensive, unified view of prospects and customers. This is beyond personas, although customer scoring is usually part of it. It's really about understanding the essential data that truly drives a behavior. Think about how customers buy from you - what is unique about the profile, mood, channel, or timing of those transactions? This "purchase driver" behavior needs to be in the profile.
  2. Engage in a consistent voice across email, traditional, digital, mobile, and social channels. This is where advanced technology is your friend. Not only can we track customer engagement across channels, we can understand (and ask for) preferences and predict the next engagement.
  3. Respect preferences across channels and let subscriber needs define channel communications. This is always a challenge. Can you truly put the customer first in your marketing outreach?
  4. Strengthen relationships by optimizing life stage communications. There is always that line between creepy and cool that you don't want to cross, but being able to anticipate customer and prospect needs is one way to build loyalty.
  5. Be the steward for consumer data in your organization. Privacy is paramount to consumer trust. The marketing team should own data stewardship because we care the most about how trust affects purchase behavior and loyalty. This is a collaboration with legal, operations, and privacy teams, but the marketing department needs to own the stewardship and protection of consumer data.

A repeatable process for real-time, multi-channel optimization can make an enormous difference in how each campaign performs overall and within the overall marketing mix. You use marketing automation software and analytics to accurately measure and analyze campaign performance in real time, so you can optimize the performance of your email and mobile messaging, web, display, social, and other campaigns. You also create a post-campaign analytics process to help predict and optimize future performance, negotiate better media deals, and identify great retargeting opportunities. Insights from all that analytics inform creative decisions and content marketing strategies - placement, tone, frequency, and channel.

We've longed talked about the "art and science" of marketing, and it's ever more true today as we turn data into insights and improved customer experiences. Please comment and let me know how your company is employing both the Mad and Math parts of yourselves for greater customer satisfaction.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Miller

Stephanie Miller is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences. A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources, and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue. She speaks and writes regularly and leads many industry initiatives as VP, Member Relations and Chief Listening Officer at the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org). Feedback and column ideas most welcome, to smiller AT the-dma DOT org or @stephanieSAM.

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