Monday, July 6, 2009

Is Good-Enough-Marketing-Automation Really Good Enough?

Today's post is a guest post from Paul Teshima, Eloqua's Senior Vice President of Customer Service. Paul is the person responsible for the team that drives the success of our clients, and is very hands on in working with clients big and small.

As such, he has been the brains behind many of our innovations on how to tackle various business processes, new approaches to scoring leads, and innovative ways to manage global deployments.

I'm thrilled to have Paul post as the insights he brings are without parallel.



There is a lot of activity and discussion today on best practices in demand generation and marketing automation. Marketers are now realizing they don’t have to build the perfect campaign or program to generate value from marketing automation.

So on one side I am very happy that we are seeing rapid adoption of marketing automation, but on the other side, I know that we need to do more. Marketers may have become happy with “good-enough-marketing-automation”, which is a great place to start, but you need to continue to improve to get the most out of these programs.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

1. From Auto-Responders to a Warm Welcome
Many marketers have seen good results with targeted auto-responder emails (not just "thanks for downloading") once you fill out a form. this is a great tactic and can drive high response rates. But you would be surprised to know that on average 15-20% of your new leads in a quarter receive no communication in the first 60 days outside of an auto-responder.

This is largely due to the fact that your list pulls don't always account for "new leads", but rather focus on specific profile information (e.g. CIO, in New York, in Financial Services).

We have seen rapid adoption of what we like to call a "Welcome Program". This program targets new leads that for one reason or another don't receive any marketing communication due to your segmentation strategy. It can be as simple as 3 emails over 3-6 weeks that provides value-add information on why you should stay interested in your business.

Customers have seen great results with these types of programs as these leads have already raised their hand. Welcome programs can generate qualified leads at a rate of 10-15%. This is the first nurturing program every customer should have.

2. From Lead Qualification to Strategic Account Management
Many companies, small and large have targeted account or vertical strategies that involve lists of thousands of named or strategic accounts. When implementing a scoring program often this targeted list is ignored because how do you setup scoring rules for 3,000 company names, when often the field data varies by record (i.e. IBM, I.B.M. IBM Corp., etc.).

But these leads are actually some of the best leads from an Explicit or Ability to Purchase perspective. You would always call them back. So it is imperative that you include them in your scoring program (note: this may involve data tools and some complex deduplication.)

In fact we have found that 20% of all of our customers use a Named Account List in their scoring program - and many of them also route these leads directly to field sales - reducing delays in the right follow-up, and also cost of generating the quality lead.

It is important to understand that starting simple with marketing automation is definitely the way to go. But instead of thinking of it as a one step process, think of it as an effort in continual improvement. I believe that marketers who take on this challenge, will have more effective campaigns and drive significantly more value for their business.

Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar