At the Melbourne event, held in collaboration with IBM Marketing Cloud, participants were divided into three tables, with each table concerned about one of the behavioural marketing topics under discussion:

  •  Marketing Automation: best practices & implementation.
  • Email Marketing: trends, challenges & best practices.
  • Behavioural Marketing.

Behavioural Marketing Roundtable overview

After an hour or so of discussion at the table, the participants rotated to another table, so everyone was able to discuss each topic with their peers.

At the end, the three discussion leaders presented a summary of what was discussed throughout the day. Here are their notes.

Marketing Automation: best practices & implementation

The Marketing Automation discussion was led by George Giamadakis, Marketing & Communications Manager, NHP and here are the key points from the day.

Everybody wants to do marketing automation

The main point from the table was that all of the participants wanted to do marketing automation and saw it as a key part of their marketing strategy.

But there were two distinct parts to implementing it:

  • Justifying marketing organization
  • And making it work

You need to start with a proof-of-concept

For the first part, justification, the tables decided that it was important to do a proof-of-concept (POC).

And to make that work you needed to have a good test case, support from the business, and for everyone to understand that marketing automation brought a new capability to the company.

That is, there are few success benchmarks to start off with – and it may not be possible to measure ROI initially.

During that, map the customer journey

Should you be fortunate enough to get sign-off for your POC, then you have the tough job of mapping the customer journey.

To do so, onboarding sales and IT to the project was an important step. And in order to get sales onboard, participants said that you have to state clearly that marketing automation will lead to more sales and new customers.

Most admitted, though, that convincing the business of this was easier said than done!

Also, the customer journey requires two data sources – explicit (static, sales data) and implicit (what you predict will happen).  Participants said that it’s much easier to collaborate using explicit data, but that in order to be successful some implicit assumptions have to be made.

And don’t forget lead scoring

Lead scoring is how many marketing automation systems compare the quality of leads.  Different actions by potential customers on your site makes them more or less likely to be a lead – and the result is a score per lead which, after qualification, is handed off to sales.

In order for this process to be effective though, some best practices emerged.

First off, test and then retest.  In some ways, the lead scoring process is never finalized and can always be updated with new results.  You have to be prepared to adjust the scoring methodology if you’re getting false positives – or, even worse, false negatives.

Next, you have to be prepared to fail.  As mentioned above, marketing automation is a new capability and so you will be exploring new ideas, new areas. In such cases it’s not possible to guarantee success.

And finally, you have to think about what happens to leads if they are handed to sales and they don’t convert.  How do you get them back into the funnel?  Participants said there were no easy answers here, but it’s definitely worth considering.

Now for the hard part – data integrity

Implementing marketing automation requires data and this data is often spread across various departments.  Some will have systems (CRMs) which make customer data easy to get and use, but others will not.

Because of this it is always challenging to verify data and ensure consistency, but participants agreed that these are necessary tasks.  Data reliability is a key part in whether a marketing automation program succeeds or fails.

Aligning marketing and sales and combining effort will help a lot here.

And for best practices…

Participants advised that marketers should look outside Australia to learn about best practices.  Econsultancy was mentioned as a source, but there are also many case studies available to see how other people are doing things.

(Here’s an overview post on market automation , just in case you need a bit more info on the topic…)

Email Marketing: trends, challenges & best practices

Nithiya Benjamin, Marketing Communications Manager, Minfos, was the discussion leader for the Email Marketing table and here are notes from her summary.

Participants were all at different stages of rolling out email marketing, but they did have quite a few things in common.

Think about the customer experience to get more sign ups

First off, they agreed that marketers should be looking at many elements of their marketing to encourage customers to sign up.

For example, if you are collecting information on a website, be sure not to ask too many questions.  Five maximum.

Also, be sure to look at your point-of-sale screen and see if you can capture email there, even if only optionally.

And finally, you can segment users according to which web page they are signing up on. Knowing where they have been browsing, and decided to sign up for your emails, offers a lot of very useful data.

Provide customer-focused content

Everyone said that they all write a lot of emails, but also agreed that the content of these emails could be improved.

Suggestions for more interesting emails included thought leadership, customer education, and even highlighting star customers.

But whatever you send, it’s important to look at the content from a customer’s perspective and make sure it’s something he or she can relate to.

And that means not just blasting offers, but finding something else that they care about.

Measure to map the customer journey

And finally, the participants agreed that they needed to start measuring the touchpoints along the customer journey.

Until now, many felt that they were too focused on traditional marketing campaigns and missing opportunities to interact with customers.

Suggestions included multi-stage welcome programs and triggered-based campaigns.  So if your customer does something in particular (e.g. download a white paper) be sure to follow-up with an email which takes that into consideration.

Behavioural Marketing

And finally, our own Baron Chua, Business Consultant at Econsultancy, presented a summary of the discussions on the main topic of the day, Behavioural Marketing.

Behavioural marketing is…

The participants agreed on a very helpful summary of what behavioural marketing involves:

  • Building up customer profiles all of the time
  • Using actions as a way to understand customers
  • Collecting the right data and being able to analyse it

And how do you do it?

All agreed that it’s not easy to do, but you can start by collecting information about people who use the website or other services such as point-of-sales at stores.

And once you have the information, it’s important to understand that your metrics won’t immediately go up.

You need to experiment with the behavioural data and use it in a number of different contexts to see what works.

Finally, the management issue

Some of the participants felt like they have management support for their behavioural marketing, but admitted that it took a lot of time.

To convince management, it’s necessary to capture a lot of data first and then to build a ‘perfect’ customer journey.

Then when you have an ideal journey which leads to conversion, you can start talking about how to repeat the process to get more customers in the same way.

A word of thanks

We’d like to thank to all who contributed – and we hope to get some more great insights from future events in Melbourne!