How can Marketing Automation help you navigate your way through the new normal?
A collection of my observations & thoughts, looking at ways Marketing Automation can support your marketing & general communication needs in a COVID-19 world.
How will the remainder of 2020 shape up and what long term changes can we expect? Does Marketing Automation have a role to play in this new normal? I think it does, I’ve outlined my thoughts below.
2020 has certainly taken all of us in a direction that no one could have imagined. I’ve been WFH (working from home) for almost six months at this point. I have my first work related face-to-face meeting this coming week at the office, there will be just four of us with two joining by ZOOM.
What’s actually changed?
I appreciate for some people the change has been significant. My personal experience has been that I’ve kept my full-time employment. The vast majority of our clients have been kept busy, with a small number in the event management space having been hit a little harder.
The most notable change that I’ve experienced relates to webinar usage. Whether it’s a single colleague and I or multiple clients and I, it’s a ZOOM meeting. Friday afternoon drinks with the team, again ZOOM. I’ve been using ZOOM with clients for a number of years, so that’s not a big change – or is it?
Maximising client facing meetings via webinar
While I’ve been using ZOOM for a few years, those meetings were often one-on-one coaching to help a client with Eloqua related topics. The change has been that what was previously in-person coaching usually at the client’s office, is now also on ZOOM.
The change also means I need to manage the recordings because there’s an expectation from clients that they will have access. There’s certainly justification for that to come at a fee, there’s a couple of hours of editing, branding etc that goes into prepping a replay for client usage.
Lead Scoring & new behaviours
I think this one will need more time and more data before we rush to make changes, however there’s certainly enough data to begin reviewing changes in behaviour.
Eloqua lead scoring looks at both:
- Profile Data e.g. job category, geography, industry etc.
- Engagement Data i.e. Digital Body Language™, website visits, email engagement, form submissions etc.
The key will be to look at comparative data for month on month and year on year. Don’t just look at your engagement data for the February – August 2020 period and make assumptions. Look at the comparative data for the matching previous period. Look at the data, let it help you make a more informed decision.
What will your events look like in the last half of 2020?
In my world, in-person events play a regular part of our marketing calendar. For the past 12-18 months we’ve steered away from large events to more personal in-person events of no more than 30 people. We find these more intimate events either at a more formal sit down breakfast, lunch or early evening style event provide a much better way to connect with people and to provide a real opportunity for attendees to mingle with people and network.
COVID-19 has meant that has to change. What will that change look like?
I’m working on creating similar events, but in a virtual environment. These will most likely be invitation only small groups for webinars. We’re exploring ways to make these more attractive with ways to have catering delivered to a person’s home or perhaps their office if they’re working from the office.
In reality, it’s easy to spend $2,000 – $4,000 for 30 people at an in-person event at a city hotel or restaurant. We see a great opportunity to create a unique experience by combining a webinar experience and catering delivered.
With most of the people we want to talk to being bombarded with webinar invitations, our invitations need to stand out from the crowd. Get your sales an marketing teams together, do some brainstorming and look at what you think would resonate with your target audience.
There is a real chance here to do something completely different and to create a more memorable experience.
Your nurturing & on-boarding campaigns
I’m still evaluating our primary nurturing campaign and looking to see if engagement has increased, is about the same or if in fact has declined.
The heavy lifting has more to do with evaluation of the content in the nurturing campaign and ensuring it’s relevant to the changed conditions our audience now find themselves.
Mind your language!
Towards the end of June 2020 and I wondered if our always-on campaigns should perhaps have been tended to a little earlier? Always-on campaigns are generally written in such a way to ensure the copy is somewhat generic in nature, specifically so that the language is relevant today, tomorrow, next week and in 12 months.
It was our Events Subscription that caught my attention, the language focussed very much on in-person events. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the language of those emails needed to change. I’ve edited them to be a little more inclusive in the context of the type of events e.g. webinars and in-person events.
After making edits to the Events copy, I then worked my way through each of the always-on campaigns and edited each to ensure the language was more reflective of the current environment we find ourselves in.
I’ve made a diary note to revisit these same campaigns in October.
My top 5 Tips to maximise your Marketing Automation in the new normal
- Don’t miss the opportunity to take your growing library of webinars and add them to the mix of content you have on offer. Think about which content could be given away i.e. non-gated content vs. content that should be gated, they could become lead generating resources.
- Look at your backend business processes like lead scores and ensure they still make sense in the new normal. Eloqua customers should revisit their Lead Score models to make sure the focus of the lead score model still makes sense given changes in buyer behaviour.
- Keep an eye on what your industry is doing. I’m a little sheltered after 25+ years in the technology industry – it’s easy to lose sight about what others are doing. If webinar style events are dominating you need to think about how your audience can engage with you in this medium, how you include sponsors and more. This is an evolving space.
- Nurturing & on-boarding campaigns should be revisited on a regular schedule, at least every 4-6 months as a general rule of thumb. You need to add a “new normal” filter over your review of the content.
- Further to point 4 above, revisit your language, calls to action and invitations to in-person events etc. You don’t want it being abundantly clear that no one has looked at your copy since 2019 with clearly pre-pandemic language.