Choosing the right captain for your marketing automation ship

November 29th, 2010 by Marcus Tewksbury

Interview with Scott Olson (President, Mindlink Marketing)

For many marketing organizations, the implementation of a marketing automation tool and methodology is going to represent a major departure from the status quo.  With marketing automation there is a major focus shift to collecting and analyzing data.  Segregating prospects, understanding where they fall in the buying process, or through which channels they prefer to interact all require the ability to apply data to marketing problems.  Having the right mix of internal skill sets is critical to success with marketing automation.

In this episode we are joined by Scott Olson, the President of Mindlink marketing.  Scott and team focus on helping organizations better leverage data and understanding of the customer’s buying process to craft content and stories that drive conversion.

Marcus:  Scott, to get us started, I was hoping you could describe the ideal client.  What does their organization look like?  What do you look for?

Scott:  What I look for in the ideal client really is anybody who is looking to build more engaging interaction with their client base.   I particularly think there are a lot of companies that have assembled a very strong marketing database but they don’t know how to use it effectively.  This is where marketing automation can really come into play.

It has implications for both inbound and outbound strategies.  Understanding how to segment and prioritize leads as well as their existing database is key to knowing how to not treat them all as one big database.  Marketing automation in particular is very effective at delivering the message that is appropriate for the audience that you’re communicating with.  You don’t want to blast an email to 100,000 contacts.  You want to actually understand the things that they’re most interested in and deliver the right message to them.  Those are some of the things I help companies do.  I work on their content strategy, creation and delivery of that content, and then use marketing automation to make sure it gets to the right audience.

Marcus: You said that one of the things that you see is that people have this data but they don’t know how to use it.  Why do you think that is?  Is there a lack in skill set?  Is there a lack in aptitude?

Scott:  Certainly I think there’s a lack of skill set, but also of time.  I think a lot of people look at this as traditional direct marketing, but times have changed.  What they’ve got to get their arms around is that they need to understand their audience even better.  It starts with understanding the different types of audience that they have in their database and not treating it all as one big audience, and then developing and delivering the message that’s appropriate for those different audiences.  In terms of the skill sets, I’d say it doesn’t require a social media interaction, but it does require somebody that does think about the communications aspect of it – as opposed to broadcast.  You have to look at this in terms of the people that are interested in what you have to say and they’re going to be interacting with the marketing content that you put out there.

Marcus:  You speak to breaking down your database – moving beyond one large universe to smaller groups or “segmentations.”  Do you find that to be a concept that many people understand?

Scott:  If they don’t understand it right away they get it pretty quickly and they understand the value behind it.  Many of them haven’t done it though.  I think that’s the problem.

Marcus:  For sure, many marketers, even in larger organizations aren’t well versed in segmentation.  It’s a big shift from the qualitative to quantitative.

Scott: That’s right.  Many people are using it to measure pipeline and use it more for forecasting rather than nurturing and actually moving people through your pipeline.

Marcus:  Do you see technology playing a role?  Specifically, as more of the interaction moves to digital and social technologies it puts more stress on marketers to understand the tech.

Scott:  Are you talking about the different communication avenues for the company or the client?

Marcus:  Yes, specifically the online ones.  I’m speaking to the multi-channel online world of email, social media, search, display, the website, etc.

Scott: This is something that is a challenge for everybody because especially figuring out how all those things interact and how they can all benefit each other is new and it’s complicated.  Especially when you consider you also have to map this over your content strategy.  All of these need to come together to reinforce the messages that you’re trying to get across to your prospects as well as build those relationships that are going to lead to deals or brand loyalty.

Certainly all those digital channels interact with each other and make each other stronger.  A lot of people look at a blog for example as just, ‘Oh, what’s the blog traffic?  Am I getting comments?’ but actually the blog itself can reinforce your social strategy and reinforce your lead nurturing.  It’s something that actually provides a mechanism to make the other things that you do a lot easier as well as deliver these custom messages to your different audiences.  The digital channels are all related to each other.  A blog is going to be tweeted, it’s going to be showing up in your monthly newsletter, that it’s hopefully tailored to your different audiences.  Many of the companies I work with deliver multiple newsletters, maybe 3-5 based on the audiences they’re trying to reach they highlight different aspects of their company.

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One Response to “Choosing the right captain for your marketing automation ship”

  1. Jason Harris says:

    Very well written piece. Plain and simple but informative. Covers all the aspects of marketing that we are currently building here at Print Room. It will take time but segmentation is the key.

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