Pressure to deliver ROI? Marketing Automation is the solution!

Pardot Certified Consultant

It’s really is time to automate your marketing

Marketing Structure

The first issue we encounter quite a bit with our clients is structural. Teams are leaner than ever, budgets are incredibly tight and the pressure to deliver sales ready leads and true ROI has never been under such scrutiny by the C-Suite. Restructuring your team to compete in the digital age is primordial. No kidding. For some strange reason, Marketing has been struggling with structure for a really long time and that must change now before it’s too late.

Here’s what I mean. In an article published way back in 2009, which in digital terms might as well be 1999, HBR published a piece in their September issue entitled “How Strategy Shapes Structure”. Many businesses get the strategy piece fairly well sorted when it comes to Marketing, although when it comes to Digital Marketing, they still struggle quite considerably. Moreover, I haven’t encountered many companies who get the first logical step nailed. And that step is most definitely structure. Even the best strategy in the world will be doomed to fail unless the right structure is in place first. Dare I even say that the strategy could be altogether off if the structure isn’t right.

Blue Ocean Strategy – A Cultural Shift

So let’s talk a bit about blue ocean strategy and how it applies to marketing in the digital age. Blue ocean strategy has its roots in the [then] emerging school of economics called endogenous growth3. The central paradigm posits that the ideas and actions of individual players can shape the economic and industrial landscape. In other words, strategy can shape structure. This approach is called “reconstructionist” and that’s exactly what needs to happen to marketing teams; reconstruction for the digital age! It actually needs to happen for the entire enterprise but my purpose for this piece is centered on Marketing.

To move traditional companies, there’s a cultural shift that needs to happen and we’ve talked a great deal about this already. Brand loyalty used to be a successful ingredient for a brand to thrive. In the digital economy, brand loyalty has now been replaced by an impatient digital audience expecting to be delighted by brands that create remarkable products and services. And the kicker is, they don’t care if the brand is well established or not.

Simon Swan of Smart Insights recently wrote a piece on Blue Ocean strategy that I thought was quite insightful. In it he states that to review opportunities for differentiation, brands need to consider embracing the Blue Ocean strategy which is defined as creating an untapped market place. Blue Ocean Strategy suggests an organisation should look to create a new demand in an uncontested market space. The opposite to the Blue Ocean is the Red Ocean, which is where the existing competition is fighting it out for market share with one another.

If you’re asking yourself why all the blue ocean talk, it’s quite simple. Marketing teams are under pressure to deliver great strategy, with fewer people, tighter budgets and increasing demand for ROI. How is this even possible? Well here’s where we get to the heart of the matter. Automation.

Strategy or Execution – I Say Strategy

Where do you want your marketing people to spend most of their time? If you’re like most executives, you want them to be thinking and strategizing most of the time in the Blue Ocean. Unfortunately, most marketing teams spend way too much time on execution and measurement with very little bandwidth to do much of anything else. I’ve seen as much as a couple of weeks each month spent on trying to provide meaningful reports to the C-Suite using nothing but excel spreadsheets cobbled together from any source of data the team can find. Hardly what I’d call an optimized process.

It’s also imperative to start thinking about your marketing organization in terms of institutional marketing capabilities and not merely individual skills. According to McKinsey, to create true institutional capabilities, broad and inclusive discussion that creates a clear view of which capabilities are necessary is imperative. How can you do this if your marketing people are mired in execution and measurement?

Marketing Automation is the Key to Successful Reporting and ROI

If you want to free up your precious and structured marketing resources for Blue Ocean thinking, marketing automation is the key.

Here’s what needs to happen for successful marketing automation:

Step 1 The Heavy Lifting

This will take time and energy up front no doubt about it

  1. Create your buyer persona
  2. Build workflows around your goals
  3. Segment with context
  4. Set lead goals
  5. Add the steps needed to achieve those goals
  6. Determine how you’ll convert site traffic into leads
  7. Establish how you’ll track those leads then categorize them
  8. Plan to nurture beyond email so leads see relevant messaging wherever they are on your properties
  9. Personalize your website for your target persona
  10. Think of a process to monitor your tailored lists

Step 2 The Automation Platform

In my opinion there are only two marketing automation platforms that do it all. HubSpot and Salesforce’s Pardot. Both these automation tools will provide you with:

  1. Scheduled drip and triggered email marketing
  2. Dynamic emails, landing pages and website personalization
  3. Native CRM integration with Salesforce
  4. Social media analytics, triggers and profiling
  5. Paid search and search engine marketing tracking
  6. Mobile optimization
  7. ISV ecosystem API and App Marketplace


About the author: Heidi Schwende is the Chief Digital Officer at WSI Digital Moxie Inc. She has extensive experience working with Fortune 500 companies in the technology and energy sectors as well as experience working with key organizations in verticals such as mobile technology, loyalty, pharmaceuticals and retail. Heidi also sits on the Technology Advisory Board for the CSAE, the Institute for Human Resources, Social Media and Employee Communications Technology Advisory Board and is Board Vice-President Web Development for Image Impact International. In addition to her LinkedIn profile, you can also interact with Heidi on her Twitter account @WSIDigitalMoxie.


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