Picture a high-energy gathering of 7,000 marketing professionals, featuring A-list keynote speakers, a showcase of best-in-class partners and solutions, and three full days of learning and inspiration, all set in the beautiful city of San Francisco. Sound too good to be true?
Last month I pinched myself as I arrived at the incredible 2015 Marketing Nation Summit held by Marketo, a company that offers leading marketing automation technology that we use on behalf of some of our clients and that makes a marketing nerd like me jump out of bed in the morning.
Our president, Katrina Busch, and I attended and heard from the likes of Arianna Huffington, John Legend, and Sal Khan, plus leaders and experts from a range of companies including Marketo, LinkedIn, Facebook, and GE, to name a few. There was certainly no shortage of inspiration or expertise.
We distilled the top few overarching concepts and messages, which we were excited to hear as they truly reinforced the direction of our strategy development, creative production, and campaign deployment here at Roberts. In three words: disruption, personalization, and automation.
Not just of your industry, but of your own processes and your own business strategy. Make change. And own it. If you think that the way your organization functions today is completely optimized, and that it will be in a year, two years, ten years, without change, I want a sip of what you’re drinking.
This isn’t a new concept, but think outside of the box. Think about other ways to satisfy your customers’ needs, and new needs you can satisfy.
The Huffington Post is a beautiful example of this—beginning with a team of writers and focusing on news and politics, then evolving to open-source writing and a multitude of content sections that appeal to just about every type of person I can think of, this company disrupted itself over and over to become even stronger and more connected to its audiences.
All marketing messages should be 1:1. Which is easy to say. But if you have a large database of contacts and leads, this can certainly feel like a challenge (or an impossibility). But there are tools out there now that allow you to do some pretty amazing things.
Systems can learn about the individual people in your database based on their demographics, actions, engagement with marketing campaigns, interests, and social media activity.
Gathering that data and understanding it on an ongoing and real-time basis is vital, and putting a strategy (ideally an automated one) in place to deliver messages based on all of the data is the (actually attainable) holy grail of marketing.
You don’t need to manually get to know every person in your database, you just need to have the strategy, tools, and processes in place to make them feel like you do.
People (meaning consumers and decision makers) expect this now. So when you send out mass messages, you run the risk of burning bridges with them.
To communicate to all of your contacts in a personalized way and in a consistent and timely manner, marketing automation will be a key player. Understand the full extent of the capabilities your marketing automation platform offers.
One of the sessions I attended explored the many transition rules available in Marketo that allow you to craft very specific movement for leads between nurture streams and demand generation campaigns. It also covered possible trigger messages you can build, so when a lead takes a specific action, the system can automatically deliver more content or information to help that person to move down the sales cycle. My mouth was watering the whole time.
No matter what platform you use, try to apply these principles of transitions and triggers so that you can communicate in the most effective way possible.
And as you set up streams and campaigns, make sure you have bountiful messages and emails to deliver so that your marketing well doesn’t dry out. Do the heavy lifting of your content development up front, get your campaigns in a good place, and then don’t stop. Test and analyze your efforts along the way, and keep learning.
I could talk about this event for hours—reach out with questions and comments, and I’d be happy to discuss further. And in case you’re interested, the 2016 Marketing Nation Summit will be held in Las Vegas!