Here's a paradox I consider delicious: the more we embrace marketing technology for success in business, the more critical it is to have smart, thoughtful people to power the technology.
You see, the technology is simply a tool or a means to an end. Without thoughtful perspective and meaningful strategy, the tool is useless. To be successful, you need people to champion the smart implementation of your marketing automation and technology.
What do I mean by marketing automation or technology?
It's the tools that allow you to focus on what's important because they take care of the repetitive tasks - the welcome emails, the lead nurturing sequences, the abandoned cart messages, the notifications that an important prospect has returned to your site and downloaded an important content offer. It includes tools for setting up events or webinars, for scheduling and monitoring social conversations and for analyzing web and social traffic.
Some of the tools you might use for marketing automation include your email provider (e.g., MailChimp or Constant Contact), or perhaps Hootsuite and Google Analytics, combined with email and a social CRM like Nimble and a Wordpress blog, or even an all-in-one solution such as HubSpot.
Regardless, the tools allow you to do more. The technology enables your business to operate 24/7 whenever your prospects are most likely to be searching for information, and in a way that is responsive to their information needs. They simplify one level of your work, allowing you to apply your special expertise where it is needed most and provides the most value.
Technology That Simplifies Marketing Based On Assumptions About People
The tools simplify especially when you do your homework about your visitors and their purchase process. If you don't have a clue, they introduce more complexity than they solve.
That's where human intelligence matters. You see the tools only work as well as the assumptions you make setting them up. You need to apply careful thought so you can develop context that makes sense for your prospects.
When you evaluate marketing automation solutions, you definitely want to consider how easy they are to operate. However, assumptions about your business and your customers don't come with the marketing technology operating instructions. That's your responsibility.
The more specific and focused you are in your assumptions, the more relevant you can be to your prospects and the better the tools will work.
As Jeremie Moritz,the Global Digital Content & Media Manager at Pernod Ricard in Paris explains in Drink responsibly, and mix your martech responsibly too by Chief Martec, Scott Brinker, who asks "What are the challenges you’ve seen in spreading adoption of these technologies more widely across marketing? How have you addressed them?",
"I see two main challenges, whatever the technology you’re trying to implement: people and context...
Because in the end, technology’s bottleneck is people. Any platform you work with is only going to give you the first 10% to deliver your objective. The remaining 90% are the people driving this platform and the project behind it. If you don’t involve people in the brief, the choice, and the enablement — and empower them to make it work for their local business — you’ll go nowhere.
It’s a journey but the more you integrate this, the better results you get. It’s really change management."
Assumptions Your People Make About The People Doing Business With You
As valuable and necessary as the tools are, they demand that deep, thoughtful, (ideally) data-based assumptions be made about your business. Those come from the people in your company with experience observing customers, with curiosity about your personas and their buying process and who care about the business.
The assumptions come from listening intensely, observing relentlessly and testing quickly to uncover new possibilities that convert successfully. Without those, it's difficult to come up with relevant lead-nurturing sequences, let alone engaging content, meaningful lead scores and enticing offers.
To me, it looks more like corner grocery interactions, fueled by appreciation for ZMOT (the Zero Moment of Truth). It's human and practical, yet powered by technology.
Paradoxical - yes. Exhilarating - absolutely! Technology alone only takes us so far. Powered by smart people who appreciate that the marketing technology is geared toward people and building relationships with them, who knows how far it can take us...
Agree? Disagree? Let me know.