Marketing Automation: What's in it for me?

You’ve probably heard someone throw around the term Marketing Automation (MA). Most likely you nodded, agreed it’s a game-changer, but truthfully weren’t even sure what it was. Engaging Networks is about to release its first iteration of MA this Friday, so it’s time to get ready. Marketing automation is a platform that allows your organization to design tailored donor journeys, based on different user behaviors. Wow. That’s a lot of jargon.

Here’s a quick way to get your head around it – MA takes what a great salesperson does and automates it. So each customer has a unique, satisfying experience with your organization as if they were catered to by their very own salesperson. How does it do this? The secret sauce of MA lies in decision points. After each touch point (an email, text, or social media interaction), you have the option to take the segment of people that received that original communication and, using their behaviors and interactions with your organization, parse them into several different smaller segments.

Today’s systems can’t do this which means:

  • People that clicked on an email aren’t treated differently from those that didn’t open it – with MA they can be.
  • People that visited several pages on your site aren’t treated differently from people that went straight to the donation page – with MA they can be.
  • People that visit your website often aren’t treated differently from people that only engage with you on Facebook – with MA they can be.

Haven’t you always wanted to talk with each of those people differently? This is the power of MA – each action a constituent takes, each website visit they make, each social engagement they have can be used to create specific communication pathways.

Maybe someone who doesn’t open your first email should be sent a text message next, whereas someone who clicked the donate button but doesn’t complete it should be sent an email promoting a match to inspire the gift, whereas someone who donated should be sent a social message to share with their friends.

None of these people interacted with you the same way. Why are you talking to them as if they did?

When organizations build email campaigns an assumption is made that we all accept: at best only 1/4 of the list will ever go past the subject line. Think of all the time and effort put into creating the emails, donation pages, thank you pages, and confirmation emails. All that effort is for, at most, 2% of your list. A successful email campaign today gives up on 98% of the list.

These people are already on your email list and have told you they want to engage with your organization, so why do we consider that scenario an overwhelming success? MA’s ability to take into account the different choices recipients will make, ahead of time, gives you the opportunity to increase open, click, and action rates dramatically.

Unlike the email campaigns of today, MA allows you to start from a single communication and branch based on user decisions, actions and other inputs. With every branch, you create better defined segments and the chance to refine your messaging accordingly.

MA isn’t just the future of email, it’s the future of all digital communications. In the coming years there will be those that have adopted it, reaping the benefits, and those that have not, wondering what happened. The question is, which will you be?

Don’t get left behind, start today by taking a look at the current market leaders in MA. We suggest you start with SilverPop and Marketo, and this week Engaging Networks will also be releasing its first iteration of MA as well. If you’re an EN client, you don’t want to miss the release on Friday.

We’ve talked for years about personalizing each donor’s journey, but have never truly given a unique experience to each constituent based on their personal preferences—outside the few donors who fall into a major gift officer portfolio. Marketing automation, with the right platform and implemented correctly, can truly deliver on this promise.