Are You Embracing Digitization?

We talk about digital marketing as the channel through which marketing is deployed, but that’s what it meant a decade ago. Today, at many top brands and marketing agencies, digital marketing isn’t just what they do, it’s what they are.

Every now and then you see these studies about who is or isn’t a “laggard” in some marketing technology. I always found the term a bit manipulative — after all, one man’s laggard is another’s smart shopper — but when it comes to digital transformation, or digitization, I think there’s something to it.

We held a webinar yesterday with Workfront on “3 ‘Digitization’ Trends Shaping Modern Marketing,” where I spoke with Workfront’s Brandon Jensen, Alanna Peet of Accenture and Jennifer Johnson of Informatica. And while they had slightly different viewpoints on digitization, they all said one phrase the same: “You have to embrace it.”

And some of our viewers clearly have not embraced it. So they asked about how to make their organizations more digital … And I have to say, they were a little hard for any of the speakers to answer, because their companies already were fully digital and had been for years.

What exactly does that mean? Well Johnson described how new hires at Informatica start on a Monday, and on that first day they’re given their laptop with all the apps they’re going to use and all the logins and permissions they need. That laptop with those apps contains probably 90 percent of what would have traditionally been in the office for an analog worker.

Now, they still have an office — this is not about working remotely — but the whole marketing job has been digitized.

We talk about digital marketing as the channel through which marketing is deployed, but that’s what it meant a decade ago. Today, at many top brands and marketing agencies, digital marketing isn’t just what they do, it’s what they are.

And it’s not just how the marketing workers interface with the company and their work, it’s how customers interface with those companies as well.

As we talked yesterday, what became clear was, to successfully connect with the connected consumer, it doesn’t just take digital marketing as a tactic or ad channels. It takes embracing the digital world and the tools and everything you can do with them.

Peet’s number one tip, and we came back to it several times, was that through digitization, you can be automating many of the slow, repetitive tasks that burn your time (and burnout your nerves). Data entry, message responses, testing … all of these tasks and more could be automated. This can save you an enormous amount of time and energy that would be better spent on the creative and rewarding (both for you and your employer) aspects of your work.

I admit, I have not embraced digitization as much as I probably could. There are a lot of things in my day to day (and all of Target Marketing’s day to day) that are not automated and probably could be. And that has me thinking as well.

Peet suggested you think about those little annoying tasks and actively identify things you’d like to automate. I bet you can quick make a list of a dozen. If you can automate even half of those, wouldn’t it make a huge difference?

So I ask again, are you embracing digitization? If not, you could be missing out on the marketer’s equivalent of the industrial revolution.

4 Tips for Choosing a Marketing Automation Tool

The selection of a marketing automation tool is not an easy process. There are a ton of factors to consider — from integration to process to workflow and much more.

For the past few months, I’ve had the chance to work with several companies on either improving their marketing automation processes or defining the need for a marketing automation tool. From those conversations, here’s four key tips for walking through the marketing automation tool selection process.

Tip #1: It Starts with You

Like many technologies, there is a clear buzz in the market around the rollout of marketing automation tools in the media sector. That buzz makes it easy to say, “I need this to solve my problems.”

But, the question publishers must ask first is, “What problems am I trying to solve?”

Like any other technology rollout, the successful rollout of a marketing automation tool starts with first defining your needs. It’s easy to say, “I need drip marketing capabilities” or “I need a marketing automation tool to improve subscription renewals.” But, if you’re going to succeed, you need to be a lot more specific up front. Take the time to walk through the areas where you see marketing automation as an option and walk through potential workflows. For example, if you’re sending an email promotion to generate event attendee registration, there are several flows to consider:

  1. A user opens, clicks, and registers
  2. A user opens, clicks, but doesn’t register
  3. A user opens, but doesn’t click
  4. A user doesn’t open

In each case here, you can set a different workflow and a different messaging scheme.

In the case of a subscription renewals, you may want to set up a process where a user receives a special pop-up message to re-subscribe if their subscription is up or to subscribe if they are not one already.

These are both solutions where marketing automation can help. But, they may only be a few of the scenarios you have. So, to the best of your ability, identify the different use cases. You can then use these use cases to set up proof of concept campaigns with vendors during the RFP selection process.

Tip #2: Easy Workflow Set Up

One way in which today’s marketing automation tool vendors excel is in the breadth of features they offer in their product. But, that large feature set is a blessing and a curse. Just like many analytics tools, it’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed by the amount of capabilities found in today’s modern marketing automation products.

But, no matter what tool you use, one feature stands out more than most — the ability to easily set up workflows. Workflows lie at the heart of the marketing automation tool and are the keys to building a successful automation campaign. When looking at tools, search for one that offers a visual experience where workflows can be created or adapted by dragging and dropping blocks. This makes the workflow process more intuitive to a user and quicker to implement.

Most modern tools offer this capability. If you’re looking at a tool that doesn’t, you may want to look at additional options.

Tip #3: Get a Dedicated IP Address

Here’s the number one mistake some publishers, especially smaller ones, make when selecting a marketing automation tool. Marketing automation tool providers will push for all emails to go out through the tool. They have good reason for it. If you’re going to truly automate marketing efforts, then it’s critical to understand how users are interacting with all emails.

However, this is where some publishers have made a big mistake. To save on cost, some publishers are leveraging one of the shared IP addresses from the tool provider. That means that your emails are traveling on the same channels as other marketing partners that may not be following the same best email practices you are. So, if they do something wrong, it can have a direct impact on your marketing efforts. And, when you add in a higher-value email product like a newsletter to the mix, then you are opening yourself up for potential issues from both an editorial and business perspective.