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Marketing Automation: No customers left behind! Webinar Replay

Marketing Automation: No customers left behind! Webinar Replay

Engage customers through marketing automation

You’ve heard of marketing automation, but what does it mean for you? And why should you care? Studies show that 50% of high-quality leads through company websites never get a response from the business. That’s a problem! You likely lost a customer. Marketing Automation is the solution for consistent and timely communication.

Having an integrated and automated marketing strategy will save your company money, and guarantee no customer falls through the cracks or gets stuck in the funnel.

In this webinar, we’ll walk you through the basics of marketing automation, why it’s important, how you can implement marketing automation yourself and the common challenges you may run into.

JoAnne Gritter
Hello everyone. And thank you for joining our webinar Marketing Automation. I'm going to start by apologizing for the flood of information you're about to get. What we're going to do is give you a high level overview and then some actionable steps that you can take to jumpstart your automated marketing strategy. Before we get going, we want to give a shout out to our current clients that are listening in. We hope you walk away from this webinar learning something new, and we're also thrilled to see some new names joining us. And we hope you learn something not only about marketing automation, but also about DDM marketing and communications and the services that we offer. But first things first, my name is JoAnne Gritter, I'm the director of operations here at DDM, but I have a background in technical design, data visualization, marketing automation, and database publishing. I'm here today with Christa Savickas.

Christa Savickas
Hi everyone, I'm Christa. I'm a lead marketing automation developer and strategist at DDM. I have 10 years of experience leading digital automated marketing campaigns, and I also have a background in analytics, front end web development, and email marketing. A lot of people find spreadsheets of data a little boring, but I'm definitely not one of those people. I've seen how using marketing automation can translate boring spreadsheets into amazing visual experiences. My hope for today is that you'll leave this webinar thinking about great ways that you can use data to enhance your marketing communications.

What you can expect today is a 20 to 25-minute presentation from us about what marketing automation is and why you should care about it. We'll walk through the nine steps you can take to start implementing marketing automation yourself, and some common challenges you might run up against. We plan to take about 15 minutes or so to answer everyone's questions after the presentation. So please feel free to type your questions into the chat as we go, and we'll answer them all at the end. We're also going to be sending all of you a followup email within the next couple of days that will have JoAnne and mine's contact information as well as the webinar replay and slides.

JoAnne Gritter
All right, let's get started. Let me give you a little background information on DDM. This year DDM is turning 30 years old, which is pretty exciting for us. We are a full-service marketing firm with clients in fields ranging from healthcare to education, to financial services, to global manufacturing. They turn to us for deep insights in a highly responsive approach. We pride ourselves on being a talented team large enough to handle all of the work but small enough to quickly respond to challenges. As you can see here, our work spans across digital and traditional strategic planning, design, integration, and development. We believe in an integrated approach where all facets of marketing are influencing each other and working harmoniously. But that's enough about us, let's get into what marketing automation is and how it can help you.

According to Salesforce, marketing automation is technology that manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns across multiple channels automatically. The general idea is to use automated processes to smoothly take data from multiple sources and produce communication pieces with little or no need for manual work. So let's break that down a little bit. If you joined us for our content and media webinar in March, then this may look familiar to you. An integrated marketing approach basically acknowledges that your customer's buying journey happens across multiple channels in order to create a great brand experience. You need to make sure all of those channels are working together to communicate the same message. A robust marketing automation plan may involve multiple channels such as your customer relationship management tool or a CRM, a website, SMS messaging, and paid advertising are just a few. It is the oil that keeps your integrated digital marketing strategy moving and functioning efficiently.

Christa Savickas       
In its simplest form, marketing automation can be boiled down to this formula. A trigger starts the automation process, then data is used to make decisions and create the communication pieces. And then in most cases sends those communication pieces out to the targeted audience. So let's look at each part of this formula. All automation start with the trigger. This is what tells the automation system to run. One type of trigger is an interaction. Examples of this is when someone visits a certain page on your website, fills out a form, opens an email or calls to your customer service.

Another trigger is a date based trigger. This could be a specific date that you want to start a campaign or a date specific to your customer like a birthday or a membership renewal date. And the last example is a trigger based on a status change. This would be a trigger that watches a customer's information and activates once a status gets updated. For example, if someone moves from prospect to client or active member to terms member. Data is the glue that holds automations together. It's important to know what data you have, where that data lives and what data you may need to be collecting in the future for your marketing automation activities.

Your data may be living in a CRM tool, it could be getting added and updated by sales. You may be getting information from website forms or surveys or even collecting website and email analytics. All of these sources of data can be used to make decisions on when triggers get executed, what automation people get added to and what the final communication piece includes. Some examples of common communication pieces that marketing automation would create and send out are emails, SMS messages, push notifications, physical mail and website content. You can even automate PDF generation. For example, financial companies could update fact sheets with realtime financial data or salespeople could generate personalized quotes using the company's cost database. With marketing automation, you can create and deliver these communication pieces with little or no manual effort making them repeatable, efficient, and cost saving.

To demonstrate this further, here are a few marketing automation examples. This first example is of a simple web to lead automation. So in this case, someone would come into your website and fill out a form and they'll get an email immediately. Then using CRM data, a salesperson is going to be assigned and a notification will be sent to that salesperson to trigger a follow-up call. So in this case, our trigger is the website form submission, the communication pieces are an email and a follow-up call. And then data is being used from the CRM to assign a salesperson. The second example is of a re-engagement campaign for people whose membership has lapsed. So in this case, we're watching to see if somebody's membership has lapsed and then we're going to send them an email to try and reengage them.

After a certain amount of time, we're going to check to see if that email has been opened. If it hasn't been opened, we're going to send them a follow-up email reminding them. And either way, we're going to wait 30 days and then check their status again to see if they were engaged. And if they haven't, we're going to send them a final email. The trigger in this case is watching a status change for a membership being lapsed. Our communication pieces are an email, a reminder email, and a follow-up email. And then data is being used using email analytics to see if they've opened. And then also we're going to use that CRM data again to see what their status is doing.

And our last example shows a personalized quote being generated by a sales support app. So in this case, the quote is going to be built out in the app by a salesperson, the app is going to generate a branded PDF. And an email is going to be sent out to your customer with a link to the quote. Then after a certain amount of time, we're going to check to see if your customer has clicked that link. And if they haven't, we're going to send them a reminder saying that quote is out there for them to see. Either way, we're going to send a notification to the salespersons, they can do a followup call. So in this case, our trigger is that quote being built in the sales app. And then the communication pieces that you're going to see are a branded PDF, an email with a quote or a reminder email, and a follow-up call. Then data is being used to create that branded PDF, there's data being used to check for the clicks. And then there's also data being used to assign that salesperson and send that follow-up call notification.

JoAnne Gritter
Now, that you understand what marketing automation is, let's talk about why you should care about it. The buying process has changed and now more than ever companies need to adapt to a buyer's preferences. Today's buyers are anywhere from 60 to 90% of the way through the purchasing process before they reach out to a vendor, meaning a buyer is going to be engaging with your content before they ever engage directly with you. Buyers are expecting a better, more integrated digital experience to solve their problems without needing to speak to a salesperson.

Speaking of prospective customers, did you know that half of leads are mismanaged? 50% of high quality leads through a company's website never get a response. And that's a huge problem. Then that 50% that do get a response, 78% of those responses take more than an hour. And that might seem okay, but research shows that you have just five minutes or less to send a response before you've lost your customer's attention. And not surprisingly, 88% of customers who don't get a follow-up won't reach out to you a second time. You get just one chance to engage with them in and you need to make that count. Marketing automation can create a great customer experience and ensure that your leads are getting the followup that they deserve without putting additional strain on your sales team.

Besides lead nurturing, marketing automation has benefits for your customers, your sales team and your marketing department. Like I mentioned before, customers have high expectations for digital experiences. Marketing automation can help you meet those expectations by giving them personalized and timely communications. For the sales team, marketing automation can mean more qualified leads. According to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost. Marketing automation can help sales and marketing work together to connect digital touch points to the CRM and get sales more leads more efficiently. One report shows a 451% increase in qualified leads and a 14.5% increase in sales productivity for those who implement lead nurturing well. Not only are there more qualified leads, but it also gets more upfront information in the hands of the salespeople.

And last but not least, it's good for marketing. Automation saves time and money in the long run because you can set it up once and processes will run on their own. One study showed that utilizing marketing automation can lead to a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. Not only that, but it sets marketing teams up to focus on continuous improvement instead of just building one off communications. It's a great way to get your marketing team thinking about a strategy based approach instead of a project by project approach.

Christa Savickas     
So we've convinced you, right? Marketing automation is worth it. So now let's talk about how to make it happen. One thing I commonly run into is that people want to start talking about the creative and communication right upfront, but there are so many steps before you're ready to get into what the final piece is going to look like and specifically say. So here are the nine steps it takes to build a marketing automation solution. The first step is to define your opportunity, start by looking at the current business environment and identifying any areas that could be improved. This means looking at the buyer's journey and noticing any areas where there's a lot of manual updates happening, people falling out of the buyer's funnel or any disconnect between information the customer needs and information they have.

Step two is to define your goal. Once you've identified the opportunity you want to pursue, you need to set a specific goal that the automation will accomplish. This will help you determine if the automation is successful once it's running. It should be a goal that's specific and measurable. Step three is to define your audience. Defining the audiences involved will help you understand what channels are needed to build the automation as well as what data is needed about the audience. In step four, you'll define your channels. Channels are both places that hold your data and places that are used to execute your messaging. Your CRM website, app and email marketing platforms are all examples of channels that may be necessary when executing a marketing automation.

Step five is defining your data needs. This is where a lot of time gets spent. As an agency partner, sometimes I have the opportunity to travel steps one through four with the client, but usually this is the step that I'm pulled in at. The basics of the automation have been defined, but now it's time to start executing. That's why the most common first question I ask is where is the data? Once you identify what data you need, you may find that the data doesn't currently live where your marketing automation platform can access it. So a big part of this step involves figuring out processes to get that data where it needs to be in order to be used by the automation.

Step six is planning out the data and communication framework. For us, this usually involves building out the data visualization to show the flow of the data triggers and communication pieces that are involved in the automation. This is helpful as both a planning step to help make sure everything is well thought out for the build, but it also serves as a documentation step so you can explain to other stakeholders how the automation process works.

Now we're at step seven, and I have to admit this one is my favorite. Now that you've done all the planning and figured out all the data, it's time to build it. This means actually building out the automations to get the data where it needs to be and creating the triggers and crafting the communication pieces such as emails, SMS messages, postcards, and PDFs. Step eight is to test the automation. Once it's built, you'll need to run test subjects through the entire automation to make sure data is being managed the way you expect and the automation is triggered appropriately. And finally, step nine is to launch. Obviously this is the most exciting part, but just because it's launched doesn't mean that you should forget about it. One of the benefits of marketing automation is that if it's built to track the correct analytics, you'll be able to monitor its success and make adjustments as needed to improve results.

JoAnne Gritter
No problem, right? Well, I hope it is easy, but sometimes you'll run into roadblocks and we've identified five common challenges that companies run into. The first and possibly most expensive challenge is not having the right platform. There are two ways this challenge can play out. The first ways that you don't have a robust enough platform for your marketing automation needs. This might mean that you don't have a CRM to store your data or maybe your CRM doesn't integrate well with your automation system. An example of this could be planning a very intricate automation but your platform doesn't have the right capabilities to handle it.

The second way is if you have too much platform, it's not uncommon for people to purchase a Ferrari to do the job of a Honda because big platforms promise big things. Many have rushed out to buy a robust software that could cost upwards of $25,000 a month. But because they didn't have a plan in place, they are only using it as an email marketing platform. This may mean that you didn't need everything the platform offers or maybe there's data that is being tracked but not utilized and integrated properly. The solution for this is knowing your needs before committing to a platform. Make your decision based on automations that you know that you want to do and what functionality you need to accomplish them. If all you want to do is push out emails or do some simple automations, then you would be better off using a more lightweight product that costs only about $50 a month. If you plan on doing multichannel communications that require integrations with your CRM, then you need to find the marketing automation platform that fits that requirement.

Challenge number two is not having access to the right data. Since data is the glue of an automated solution, not having the data you need in a usable form or not having the data at all is a huge hurdle to overcome. The solution for this challenge needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis. But in the cases where you don't have data in a usable form or it lives in multiple systems, you will need to work with the teams that manage each data source to get it translated and loaded into your automated marketing platform. This may include using APIs, FTPs, RSS feeds, database queries and/or data management platforms. If on the other hand you don't have the data at all, this is more of a lead generation customer acquisition and tracking issue. This might mean that you need better intake forms, customer portals, or tracking to gain more information about your audiences.

Challenge number three is something we see often, a misalignment between marketing and sales. It's common to lack internal agreement on where marketing ends and sales begins. And usually prospective customers are the ones that pay for this misalignment. This challenge requires a lot of internal conversations to get on the same page. In the past, we've even surveyed and interviewed a sales team on behalf of the marketing team to mediate a situation like this. It's important for marketing to make decisions based on what sales actually needs versus what marketing thinks that they may need. The fourth challenge is lacking compelling content, and this is not unique to marketing automation. Without content even if your messages are timely, they won't connect with your audience. And especially as things become more and more digital, companies are competing for customers' attention.

Think about what your audience cares about not just what's on your marketing agenda. Make sure content is timely, useful, and engaging. It must solve a problem, provide guidance inform or entertain. And last, but certainly not least, the fifth common challenge is not having the right people. Depending on the size of your team, you might not have the right people in-house to strategize, build automations or write content. The solution is to look for third party help. This is what Christa and I do every day. We come in and help some companies from start to finish or we just help with one piece of the puzzle. We fill in the gaps so you can focus on what your team does best.

So to summarize, marketing automation is not a one-size-fits-all, it's used across all industries and within both internal and external audiences. We have seen marketing automation support sales apps drive eCommerce sales, increase membership renewals, update financial reports, acquire customer information, increase event attendance, share new product details, drive traffic to blog articles, communicate appointment updates, and inform distributors and partners. You kind of get the idea. There are literally thousands of possibilities, but the best marketing automation activities are the ones that meet your audience's needs and help your company's bottom line. And that brings us to the end of our presentation today.

We'll leave you a few minutes to finish typing in your questions, and then we'll answer as many as we can before we run out of time. To those of you who are current clients, feel free to reach out to Christa or I or your account manager with questions or to learn more. We'd love to sit down with you and figure out how marketing automation can integrate into our current partnerships that we have with you. And then for those of you who are new to DDM, of course, we'd love to chat with you too. Email Christa and I directly, and we'd be happy to set up a call or meeting to talk further. If you're interested in any of the other services DDM offers, we can connect you with those individuals too. So let's take some questions.

Christa Savickas
So we got one question that was, what was the solution to number four of the five common challenges again? So challenge number four was not having the right content. There's so many ways that you can go with content. Content is such a big conversation, and we actually did a webinar in March on it, and it's available on our website as well, which I would definitely point anyone to. But it's all about making sure your content speaks to your audience, it solves their problems and is engaging. So it needs to solve a problem, and it needs to just help people the way they do.

JoAnne Gritter
And we do have content writers at DDM, but we also believe in a kind of cyclical approach where we try something and we check out the analytics and see what's working. And if it's not quite hitting the mark with opens and clicks for emails or for website analytics is not driving the right traffic, then you're always improving and trying new content.

Christa Savickas
So we have another question about if we recommend trying to personalize automations, as in should the automation appear to be coming from specific salespeople based on region? That one I think is a really good test case. I think it depends on your audience, it depends on your business. Anytime that you can get more personal about the automation you're sending, the communication pieces, I think the better. There's so much noise, especially in digital communications right now since so many of us are working remotely and digitally that the more timely you can get, the more specific you can get to your subscriber or to your customer, the better. So we've done a lot of testing in that. Sometimes we send an email that's from the company as a whole, sometimes we send it from a specific salesperson and then we just see which one ends up doing better through testing/

JoAnne Gritter
When it comes to salespeople interestingly emails get better open rates are read through and click through rates when it looks like it's actually coming from their email instead of a marketing announcement. So it depends on the message for them.

Christa Savickas
So what are some good approaches you suggest to tackle the first challenge in analyzing opportunities? I mean, that's a big one, but I really think that the first thing you should sit down and think about is every single point that your audience engages with you. If you're looking at an external audience, for example, you're going to have the whole buyer's journey, which is, they're just looking for information about people, they're going to start researching you, what it looks like for them to get a hold of you, what that intake looks like, and then what it means to create customer loyalty and then re-engagement.

 So I'd start there looking at each one of the points that a customer works with you on. And then within each one of those determine ... Since there's so many opportunities that could come out of just that, I would look at just one piece of that, the piece that you feel like maybe could use the most help and then start there and write down any opportunities that you think there's information missing or you feel like you could serve them better or you could be more timely. And that's how I would kind of start with that. But a lot of times it does involve just a lot of brainstorming and then looking at what all your opportunities are and then where you think you can make the most impact within that. Another question is, how concerned should I be that my automation service is blocked by spam services right out of the gate?

JoAnne Gritter
Pretty concerned.

Christa Savickas
Pretty concerned. But I will say that if it's going to happen right out of the gate, that might mean that there's an authentication issue in place. Since I don't know exactly what happened or what the issue is, but a lot of cases authentication is becoming more and more, and more important. And I've seen that over the past 10 years of doing email marketing. So authentication is basically when you send any sort of message, it has to say that it's coming from somebody. So if you're using a system, I'll use MailChimp for example, because a lot of people have heard of it. So MailChimp is an email marketing provider, so you can send out marketing emails through it.

When you send out an email, it has to come from somebody. So for example, if I was going to send it from me, it would be from my domain name, which is cristaassetteamddm.com. And then when it sends, authentication basically is something that you put on your domain name record, which is the teamddm.com that says it's okay for MailChimp to send messages on my behalf. And then what happens is a Gmail or an Outlook is going to go and see if that record is there on your domain name. And if it is, then you're more likely to get into the inbox. But if it's not, then there's a good chance that they might block you just because they think that you aren't who you say you are.

Then another issue you might have is a sender reputation score. So when you first start sending from a new email address or from a new domain, there's a little bit of warmup that needs to happen. That's basically so that systems can see that the people who are getting your emails actually care about them. That's why you don't usually, if you have a new domain name, you're not going to send to like hundreds of thousands of people right out of the gate, you probably want to segment just your best subscribers, the people who are the most engaged send to them and kind of warm up that email address or that IP, whatever you're sending from. And then that way your sender reputation score will be really good. The problem is in some cases if your sender reputation score takes a hit or you get on a spam list, then you have to go through a bunch of steps to get it unblocked or you might have to kind of start over, but it really just depends on the situation.

JoAnne Gritter     
That can also happen with purchase lists. If you're purchasing a list, sometimes 85% of those emails are just junk emails and they will end up in spam filters, and it will hurt your reputation score. It just goes downhill from that. That leads into the purchase list question.

Christa Savickas
Does anyone recommend purchase lists? My answer off the bat anytime somebody mentions a purchase list is no don't do it, don't do it because there's so many issues that you can get into, one of them being actually the issue with following the law. So right now when it comes to email in the US, we have one of the most relaxed email marketing laws of the globe. So in the US, all you have to do is have an unsubscribe link and give a physical mailing address and you're good. But with a purchase list, you don't know where that person resides. And if they're in Canada or if they're anywhere internationally, there's a good chance that you're going to run up against laws that are much, much, much more-

JoAnne Gritter:             Strict.

Christa Savickas
Strict, that's the word I'm looking for. So they're a lot more strict and there's a lot more hoops you have to jump through. And a specific option is really, really important to the rest of those things. That being said, I have had success in one area with a purchase list, and that was in education. And basically what they did is they purchased the list, it was a college and they purchased a list of people who had taken the ACT. And in that case, that purchase list was effective. But all of those people opted in to get information from universities, so there was an opt-in process part of that purchase list. And that was a really specific example, My overarching answer is no, no, it's not a good idea.

JoAnne Gritter:            
Can you talk about steps that you take if a company has already purchased a list?

Christa Savickas    
So if a company has purchased a list, now that there's all the laws internationally, it gets a little tricky because how are you going to know where they're from unless that information is given to you in the list. I have actually had it provided once and then I had to go through a lot of different countries' laws to see if we could send to any of them. But a lot of times when you purchase lists you have to, have to, have to run it through a list cleaning service. So I've used BriteVerify, I've used some other ones.

But basically you run it through that, and then they will be able to tell you if it's a bounced email or if it's a bad email, or if it is a good email. Especially in B2B marketing, you're going to get a huge list of accept all, which just means that they can't tell. And in my experience, you are better off only sending to people that one of those services says is 100% legit. The problem is if you send out an email to a purchase list and it does not do well and it gets a lot of bounces, that's going to hurt your sender reputation score. And then the people who should be getting your emails may not be able to get them anymore because they saw that you sent this email to a bunch of people you maybe shouldn't have sent it to.

JoAnne Gritter
So then you'll end up in more spam filters even if they're legitimate email addresses?

Christa Savickas
Mm-hmm (affirmative). So we got another question that says, what sort of reporting and analytics is DDM able to provide regarding campaign engagement? And in that case, it really depends on what system you have and how much is being tracked. So our goal is always to make sure that everything that's pertinent to the success of the message and the communication piece is being tracked. In an email world, you have your really basic stuff like opens and click throughs and all of that kind of stuff. But then we also like to track things as far through the funnel as you can. So that means using specific links that will send information to your website, and then having good website analytics that are going to track if you've completed whatever action that you're going to take. So that's a big part of marketing automation is making sure that you're sending the right information from platform to platform to make sure that you're getting an idea of what's happening through the entire funnel and making sure that you have analytics all the way through them.

JoAnne Gritter
I think some people are putting questions in the chat.

Christa Savickas
What kind of experiences DDM had with HubSpot as a marketing automation platform with your client base? We actually use HubSpot as our CRM. We have been doing a lot of that, specifically I've been using Zapier a lot with it because we have a few different communication platforms. And Zapier is basically just an automation platform that allows you to take data from one well known system to another well known system and then kind of translate that data into whatever you need. So for example, we actually for our webinar, you probably signed up on Zoom because that's what we're using for this webinar. Then automatically, you're going to get an email from Zoom that happens right when you sign up. But then also that information goes into our MailChimp system, and that gets tracked. And then it also is going to get pushed over to our HubSpot so that our salespeople can see anyone who is a client or a prospective client show up in there.

 Let's see here. I think there was a Gmail question about the new column of inbox versus promotions and how do you get out of the promotions column? Really one of the only ways that you can get out of the promotions column is to have people take you out of the promotions column. It kind of depends on what you're going for here, but I really don't think that you should be terribly worried about being in the promotions area if you're sending a marketing message. I think from a subscriber standpoint that that's almost a good thing. I want to only see in my inbox section the people that I face-to-face with and my friends and everything. And then I want to be able to go to promotions and see all of the different things that I've signed up for at once.

So from a subscriber perspective, if somebody keeps showing up in my inbox that technically is sending me marketing messages, I might get frustrated actually with that person if there was a way for you to actually determine that. But somebody who wants you in their inbox is going to put you in their inbox. So I've seen some people send messages like, "Hey, if you love these messages, this is how to put us in the inbox." But really my best suggestion is just to make sure all of the messages that go out are timely and they're important and they really serve your subscriber well because really that should be your goal with any communication, with any content that you give is that you're really just trying to help your customer because the happier you make your customer, the longer they're going to stay with you, the more they're going to tell other people about you. So I think just keeping people happy as much as possible is your best bet of getting out of there. Am I missing any?

 Do we have any automation success stories you can share either now or as a follow-up? Gosh, we have lots, we have lots of fun examples.

JoAnne Gritter   
I don't know if we can talk about client names specifically, but maybe you can talk about our big insurance.

Christa Savickas
So we have an insurance client who has multiple business units that they send to. So they have members, they have agents, they have providers, they have their employees. And they do all of those communications out of one platform, and then it's linked up to their CRM. So we've done some really cool stuff using their CRM information to send specific messaging. For example, we've set up some journeys that include emails, SMS messages, and actual physical postcards all in one journey. And it's all based on what your preferences are that you've set or it's based on what interactions you've actually had. So if you open something or if you haven't opened something-

JoAnne Gritter
What kind of plan you have, so different kind of messaging for, this is a medical insurance company. So Medicare and Medicaid, and just dozens of different kinds of plan options to different people, different messages to different people.

Christa Savickas
And especially with those because once you get into government marketing or things that need a lot of disclosures, some groups need some disclosures and some need other disclosure. So being able to tell the difference between each of those audiences and put in the correct information into each email without having to have dozens and dozens of emails. That's the beautiful thing about dynamic content when it comes to any sort of messaging you have is that you can use data to create really specific communication pieces. So if you're using say two, three, four different communication, well data points is what I'm at. So if you're using that many data points, then your communication message could have, if your list is 12,000 people, you could actually be sending out 12,000 completely different messages that are tailored to that person, specific to that person. That's what's going to push through the noise of all the digital communications is being that really specific.

JoAnne Gritter
And it's been extremely successful, especially in the current crisis, the COVID crisis of getting communications out to their different, what's the word I'm looking, for different plan members. And they've had excellent open rates with those kinds of communications.

Christa Savickas
Another one that I can think of off the top of my head is we implemented a survey after someone purchased a product on one of our client's sites. So in this case it is an eCommerce solution, but really it could be done in any case where you might need to survey a customer. But basically what we did is we sent out an email that said, were you happy with your experience with us? And if their answer was no, we sent them to a more detailed survey. That really got us the information about like, okay, why was this experience bad for them? How can we do better? But then for anyone who said that they were satisfied, we actually took them over to Google to create a Google review. And we got some really great Google reviews for that client. When someone searches you and they see other people raving about you, that's going to get you more business. Word of mouth is so much more important than many other solutions. That was another cool one.

JoAnne Gritter
For a global manufacturer, we have sent emails with proposals, like the example that we've sent that's been very successful in automating PDFs with the dynamic content for different cost variables and sending that out. It's always fun to try new and exciting data for those kinds of things. Let's see, what else have we done? Financial clients, we have mutual fund companies, we have sent very specific fund information out. And of course it has to all be compliance approved, and we have to show them the process of what's going to who and what not. But DDM is very used to working with some very highly regulated industries, and we're used to working with compliance departments on that. It's always fun.

Christa Savickas
So we got another question, on average, how long does it take to set up an automation? And I think probably the biggest piece that determines how long your timeline is is that where's the data aspect? And how long does it take for you to get access to it? How long does it take for you to work with the teams who have the data and to get it back? In a system that's already integrated and the data is already readily available, an automation could get set up really quickly. In a lot of cases, your automation in that case is going to be more based on how long it takes you to build the communication piece, how long it takes you to build an email or a PDF or a new designer and to test it and everything.

But then in something that's completely new or the data isn't right there available to you, then that's usually where a lot of timelines get hung up is just trying to get hold of the right people, trying to get the data where it needs to be, in the format that it needs to be. So I would say that's probably one of the biggest determinants of-

JoAnne Gritter
And we have some really great developers on staff, usually onsite working from home now. And they help with a variety of APIs and different integrations. And usually it's just us getting the right access that we need and going through the different hoops to get there. And then once we do, we can get rolling. So I would say if we had everything that we need, it's usually a week or two depending on the automation and how difficult it is. But it's not always that easy and there's a lot of groundwork to be done first.

Christa Savickas
I think that's all of our questions.

JoAnne Gritter
If you have any other questions, feel free to email Christa or I directly, and we'd be happy to set up a call with you. Otherwise we will see you at the next webinar.

Christa Savickas
Thanks for joining us, everyone.

Good planning leads to great implementation

We are here to help make it even easier to build a marketing automation solution with a step-by-step worksheet. We hope this resource helps you make real progress toward automating some of your marketing communications.

Speakers

 Christa Savickas

Christa Savickas

Christa Savickas has more than a decade of experience in email marketing strategy and website design. We hear time and time again from our top clients how happy they are with Christa’s lead generation and lead nurturing strategies. She has extensive experience with platforms like Salesforce, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and Constant Contact, just to name a few.

JoAnne Gritter

JoAnne Gritter

As ddm’s operations director, JoAnne Gritter is responsible for oversite of cross-team quality, process and collaboration. Prior to this leadership role, she served as a creative and technical lead for many of ddm’s financial services clients. Her expertise in technical design, marketing automation, database publishing and process improvement is highly valued by ddm and our clients.

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