I’ve come to the conclusion that the name “marketing automation” for new breed technologies is simply too narrow. In the projects I have been working, it has been evident that the core challenges companies have lie in their business processes. As a customer, you expect to know what is going on and understand what the company you are paying for is doing for you. Not knowing equals emotions of neglect, inconsideration and generally drive criticism towards the company. As an outcome the Net Promoter Score doesn’t look too good, even if the company would be very good in something. However, gaining great increase in NPS only require erasing the issues leading to critic path of customer experience.
I would suggest to consider marketing automation as a methodology for service automation and start service designing the entire customer relationship. Such an approach put the customer in to a spotlight and helps you analyse the internal processes and multi-channel encounters in a new way. When you do analyze the engagements, customers’ motivation and contexts driving customers you can mirror it with customer touch poits with sales, customer service, billing, purchase confirmation communications, online service etc. While studying these touch points and their impact, also consider what is the technical platform for that specific touch point. Having this mapped enable you to look at the entire IT infrastructure and recognize gaps between them. In case you don’t have the necessary data available for answering customers’ questions you will make your company look autistic.
Fixing the gaps in IT infrastructure enable you to fix the reasons why people have doubt and negative experiences along their customer relationship. This is when you can start automating the customer communications. In many cases you have the means to cure the reasons for eg. negative customer service contacts by keeping the customer updated, feeling secure and well served. Considering the full customer journey and relationship help you increase lean process efficiency and simultaneously increase NPS. In current economic environment you can squeeze a lot more efficiency and synergies delivering higher customer value with current or even lower resources (Check out HBR article about managing complexity).
The same tool allowing you to do segmented emailing and event based marketing can be used for process automation and customer care. This is why I think the marketing automation technology should also be leveraged as service automation solution.
The companies often have an existing CRM already in place, like Salesforce, MS Dynamics or such. These mainstream CRM’s are relatively easy to integrate with Marketo, Eloqua, Neolane, ISAS or Hubspot (the price variation between these technologies is huge – you really need to know what want to do when comparing options). BM’s Unica is a fullblown solution for CRM & Automation and a lot of these challenges can be solved with Salesforce and MS Dynamics too. In many cases the company infra already has much more to offer than is being used. In a best case scenario you already have what it takes. You just need to make choices that work best in your existing systems and requirements. The only thing I’m saying is, it is well worth the effort. In case you only really need triggered messaging, eg. Silverpop is an option.
Many of these technologies are associated with B2B markets and it’s true that they have been developed for B2B and high invenstment B2C categories. This is because the value of single customer is so high that you should really take great care of them and it’s worth the investment. However, in B2C business the sheer number of customers and transactions is so huge that the automation makes sense and the technology price goes down/customer too. The most applied position for these technologies has to do with lead management process. I think, such approach is only a tip of an iceberg.
Let’s look at this challenge from the CMO’s perspective. Majority of critics in NPS measurements are actually an outcome of poor operational experiences. However, these experiences have a major impact on brand perception. I would consider this to be an opportunity for CMO’s to enforce brand identity at experience level and really help driving the brand promise and it’s practical delivery in to all touchpoints accross the company. Marketing is a great influencer in corporate culture and I think these new opportunities only enhance the capability of CMO to make the company better.
For more, check out online (others have training, but I haven’t found great tutorials online)
Here’s also Marketo’s “Marketing RFP” that I find quite instructional although it has been done by a vendor who optimize the RFP for their technology 🙂 Marketing automation-RFP
Yes, Business Process Design is business owner’s responsibility, but CMO’s need to understand how to leverage BPM in customer engagements and their outcomes measured with Net Promoter Score. Here’s a brief video on Business Process Management
Here’s Gartner’s very informative evaluation of multichannel marketing solutions: “CRM Vendor Landscape: Multichannel Customer Analytics Is a Critical CRM Capability” http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1FDDJZT&ct=130502&st=sg#!
Most companies approach CRM and marketing automation inside out, I prefer looking outside in. It’s the difference in perception, not in technology that matters. Here’s how Salesforce.com presents their approach as an infograph. It’s a valid approach, I’m just saying that there is more to discover than this:
Marketing Architect, Toinen PHD