Are You Trapped in a Marketing Hamster Wheel?

  |  May 21, 2014   |  Comments

Marketing automation can help you get off that hamster wheel and work smarter, not harder.

I meet a lot of marketers in my role, and usually find that they are completely overwhelmed. They are working long hours, cranking out project after project and email after email, with what feels like no end in sight. This relentless schedule can leave even the most seasoned marketer a bit scatterbrained.

In fact, I once had a marketer say to me, "Help! I'm trapped in a hamster wheel, running so hard, but never getting everything done." You might not have said this out loud, but you've probably experienced a very similar feeling, and you're certainly not alone. The only way to stop this madness is to take a step back and start working smarter, not harder.

Working smarter means slightly changing how you're currently doing things in order to increase your efficiency. For many years, the heart of digital marketing has been to query a list or a database, design an email template and your best subject line, and schedule a send (or send immediately). And then rinse and repeat - a lot. These types of messages become increasingly exhausting for both the sender and the recipient.

Custom communications like this might be fine for a small number of customer or prospect messages, but without taking a different approach, you're going to end up both overwhelmed and overworked.

Enter marketing automation. Marketing automation allows marketing departments of all sizes to re-engineer their workloads while simultaneously increasing effectiveness. I have compiled a few steps to help you get off the marketing hamster wheel using marketing automation technology:

Identify Candidates to Automate

There are two primary types of messages and processes you can automate:

  • Triggered messages allow marketers to define a rule and once that rule is met, a single message is automatically sent. A classic example of a triggered message is the forgotten password. You click on a button indicating that you forgot your password and the system automatically emails you the procedure to reset it.

    A newer type of triggered message, however, is a browse abandonment email. This automated message is delivered when an identified browser (you already have their email address in your master database) visits a page on your website, but does not take the desired action. This message does require Web tracking using your marketing automation provider's code on your website.

  • Life-cycle programs are multi-part campaigns that send a series of messages over time. Common examples include nurture programs, event or webinar campaigns, upsell campaigns, and abandoned cart programs.

Develop Your Rules

Rules dictate what messages are sent and when they are sent. And, messages are not just limited to email! Your rules could also include multi-channel messages such as direct mail and SMS messages. Example rules include:

  • Send if the previous email been opened. 
  • Send on the exact date of June 14, 2014.
  • Text if payment is not received by the first of the month.
  • Remove the contact from the campaign if their score exceeds 1,000 points and send an alert to sales.
  • Show video CA9401 if prospect is in California.

Design Data-Driven Messages

Once you have defined your program rules like those described above, don't think that the messages have to be static. Within each email, you can use rules to customize the message, including both the text and the images. The rules used are based on the values in the database record at send time. For example:

  • If buyer persona field equals engineer, then use the engineering-focused images and offer. 
  • If the skill level is beginner, only show the intermediate equipment images and text.

Sit Back and Enjoy

Or work on other projects. You'll be amazed how great your marketing life is when you let automation do the work for you!

Image via Shutterstock.

ClickZ Live Toronto On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ClickZ Live San Francisco Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!


Ellen Valentine

Ellen Valentine has more than 20 years of experience as vice president of marketing/CMO for a number of technology companies. She has deep expertise in launching new products, evaluating product and market positions, designing go-to-market strategy, and managing all digital marketing initiatives. She believes that great people and effective technology are foundations for success, but great execution is the ultimate differentiator.

In her role at Silverpop, an IBM company, she's focused on coaching and mentoring Silverpop clients to adapt and thrive in marketing's changing role. She's also a sought-out speaker at industry conferences and events.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.




    • GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator
      GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator (British Consulate-General, New York) - New YorkThe GREAT Britain Campaign is seeking an energetic and creative...
    • Paid Search Senior Account Manager
      Paid Search Senior Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring a strategic Paid Search Senior Account Manager...
    • Paid Search Account Manager
      Paid Search Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring an experienced Paid Search Account Manager to...