Click to learn more about author Dirk Wybe de Jong.
New business technologies, like automation, are knocking on the door of every sector. There is little doubt that the not-too distant future world of work will look very different to what we know today. In fact, the FT recently noted that 60% of companies will soon be able to automate 30% of their job requirements. This raises important questions for businesses looking to improve their efficiencies and demonstrate a real return on investment (ROI) across the board.
However, not all departments are ensuring that where and how they invest their money achieves the biggest returns. Marketing is a prime example. Evidence shows that in 2018, 26% of marketers will waste their budgets on the wrong channels and strategies.
Maximising value is especially applicable to larger companies with bigger budgets. This ROI model focuses on using the money you earn today to create future value. This means that every process and project needs to be scrutinised for opportunities to maximise value even further.
Marketers should start simple and reassess potentially easy wins like ‘abandoned basket’ campaigns. While individual campaigns can be highly effective, to fully maximise value, marketing teams need to understand the entire customer journey. It’s called a singular customer journey for good reason. The more personalised your approach, the better the results. Adobe Target and other tools enable marketers to share individually crafted content to customers based on their online behaviour. This is critical to maximising value and ROI – but there are a few more steps to consider.
- Pick a Toolset
You have two choices here. You can take the best-of-breed approach and pick the best tools for each particular purpose. Or, you can opt for a single vendor that provides you with everything you need in one. There are, of course, pros and cons to both.
If you’re a company that doesn’t follow traditional business models, and are happy to manage a mix of tools and vendors, then best-of-breed is a good choice. You only use it when you need it, which means it offers you much more control over your data and technology, and can be less costly and time-consuming to implement.
Bear in mind though that best-of-breed can create a few issues. Some people are not good at managing multiple vendor relationships and different technological processes. There is also the risk that not all the tools will work well together.
With a single vendor, there is only one relationship to manage. The vendor provides you with every tool, ensuring that all complement each other and work in synergy. The vendor’s solution may not be perfect from the get-go, but with a bit of testing and tweaking, they can adjust it to suit your specific needs.
- Integrate Data
Data works harder when it’s shared between departments. When information is integrated, rather than isolated in silos, your marketing campaigns are much more effective. Sales and marketing teams, for example, often have customer information that could help each other’s activities. In the automotive industry for instance, both the manufacturer and the dealers have their own customer data with a strict separation between sales (selling the car) and aftersales (selling the service). This leads to a misaligned communication strategy, duplicated communication and wasted effort. Sharing data across the company and every interaction, from customer service to email marketing campaigns, will benefit.
- Measure Results
To maximise value, you need to test and measure your efforts regularly. That way, you assess where you are going right or wrong, and adjust accordingly. A/B testing works for smaller sample sizes, allowing you to change the subject line or signature, send it out with the original and assess which one results in more conversions.
If you’re dealing with a large data pool, a multivariant test is a good idea. It allows you to change more than one element at the same time, ensuring that you stay in control of the test group.
The key to minimising costs, particularly if you operate in an SME is to improve the efficiencies of your email marketing strategy. Essentially, you need to find ways to cut the amount of resources you allocate to creating, managing and reviewing your email campaigns. Fortunately, this is not as hard as you might think – here are four approaches to get you started.
- Centralise Data Governance
Governance is a non-negotiable feature of all businesses. International companies that distribute content across multiple markets have to make sure they communicate a unified message. A lack of consistency between the regional and international marketing teams is bad for the brand in more ways than one.
Email marketers company-wide will need access to the same tools and technologies to manage and roll out campaigns in the same way. This will guarantee uniformity and lower costs.
- Reuse Data and Campaigns
In light of GDPR, companies can’t store or use anyone’s personal information without their explicit consent.
Most businesses have been gathering data for some time and have a large stockpile to pull from. Within this information lies valuable insights into customer tastes, behaviours, buying histories and preferences. You can track a customer’s buying journey and see which pages were visited that led to a purchase.
To get the most out of your existing data and campaigns, marketing technology software like Adobe Campaign enables you to create email and campaign templates. This way you can target specific customers with the same set-up, but use different layouts, timings, messaging and even signatures. Reusing old campaigns with some relevant variance is much more affordable than starting every campaign from a blank slate.
Wherever it is possible, simple and legal to automate your email marketing journey, do it. Why? Because minimising your employees’ workloads is key to minimising costs. All you have to do is use your existing customer information and automate emails according to how they behave online.
Campaigns will still need some human oversight, but automation can take care of a lot of the time-consuming tasks like keyword checking, target segmentation and email performance. The less manual work that needs to be done, the more time your marketing team has to think creatively and strategically. A good example of automation easy to implement are recurring communications such as welcome emails or birthday emails. These are typical emails that can be triggered by the available data and the content can be fairly static.
- Identify Relevant Digital Marketing Tools
Not all digital marketing tools are created equal. There are many different features and functions to consider – and not all are relevant for your business. It’s not uncommon for companies to pay over and above their needs for technology. Before kicking off a campaign or project, double-check that your technology is worth every penny – and has everything you need to achieve your objectives.
If you find a tool that can function less expensively and more effectively, don’t be afraid to change over. Migration may be difficult in the short-run but it will save costs and improve performance in the long-term.
Whichever ROI model you choose, you need to use your budget correctly to optimise your marketing activities. Both maximising value or minimising costs – when deployed efficiently – can benefit your business and its customers.