marketing automation
What’s Next for Marketing Automation: Six Steps to Navigating Changes in a Post-COVID World

“We are in the midst of a consumer-centric transformation,” said Michael Kaushansky, President and Chief Data Officer at Havas Helia, a digital marketing agency. “Brands will need to use technology to develop a full view of the consumer and create a personalized experience.” He noted that pre-COVID-19, the majority of interactions with customers were in-person, but in the future, many of those transactions will be shifted to the digital realm.

But consumers will still want brands to understand their needs and provide them with relevant content and product offerings. To stay at the forefront, companies will need to use their marketing automation tools to create a personal connection with their customers. Here are six tips:

  1. Gain a complete view of each customer. Kaushansky emphasized the importance of collecting accurate and valuable data through a company’s own marketing technology. Zero party data – the information customers willingly provide to a company through their website or other channels – and 1st party data, which companies collect via transactions or other interactions with customers, are the most reliable in helping companies create buyer personas and personalize their marketing strategy.
  2. Market to personas. It’s not cost-effective to create content at the individual level; few brands have enough content for one-on-one personalization, Kaushansky noted. Focus on the characteristics of your customer segments and use your data to create groups with similar interests (ex: usage, engagement level, customer journey stage) or who gravitate toward a particular product. Content can be personalized to consumers based on their interests and needs as a group. You can narrow your messaging to specific points in the customer journey.
  3. Dynamic content optimization. To create content that is personalized to your customers’ needs, Kaushansky recommended cataloguing content into a central library, utilizing technology that can create IDs and metatags. “There is still a human element involved,” he explained. “But automating your workflow makes it easier. Systems allow you to build out templates and swap content based on your data feeds.” By developing a systematic process for content development and curation, organizations achieve transparency with clients and teams and can streamline the approval process via automated approvals with custom permissions.
  4. Get ahead of consumer decisions. “Predict, don’t chase the consumer,” said Kaushansky, emphasizing the need for companies to use predictive analytics to determine how consumer behavior will evolve based on historical data. “Through high performance data collection, you can collect data quickly,” he said. “Then, by setting up a model, data scientists can predict the likelihood that a consumer will behave in a certain way or prefer a certain product.”
  5. Deploy seamless technology. Kaushansky emphasized that companies need to put their strategy first and let that drive technology decisions. “Define your top challenges and then select your technology,” he advised, noting that industry research shows marketing technology expenses comprise the largest portion of CMO budgets. Whether a company chooses a single stack or a best of breed approach, it is imperative that each technology solution works together to manage the flow of consumer data: collection, audience definition, modeling and dashboards. Companies should be constantly monitoring how well their technology is functioning. Look beyond campaign reports and consider metrics such as speed of capturing data or delivering emails. “If your campaign didn’t perform well, it could be the fault of your technology,” Kaushansky said. In addition to developing a dashboard for operational metrics, he recommended companies go through the RFP process every 2-3 years to stay up to date with the latest innovations.
  6. Embrace actionable measurement. Attribution is key to measuring results effectively, Kaushansky emphasized. “ROI can’t be calculated in silos. Channels and content either work or don’t work in combination.” Companies need to clearly outline their objectives and define KPIs and develop “robust yet manageable” test plans.

To learn about marketing analytics and ROI, read our blog article “It’s Good Marketing: 3 Tips for Gathering and Processing Marketing Analytics.”