Content marketing has become a major focus for any marketer and rightly so. With the declining effectiveness of push or ‘interruption’ marketing, engaging content is a sure fire way to get the attention of an audience.

In order to get this strategy right and make it effective, marketers need to think carefully about what a company says and where it says it; they need to think about the content itself but also how it is distributed.

Effective content marketing relies on the message, the format, and the communication channel used.

1. Relevancy is key

Surrounding all of this is the idea of ‘relevancy’. Get the right piece of content to the right individual at the right time and you are more likely to get engagement and action. Relevancy is not a new concept for email marketers. But getting this right is hard, takes significant testing and relies on a clear understanding of recipient behaviour.

When executed in the right way, email automation (triggered and targeted campaigns with personalised communications) can ensure that the right content will be delivered to the intended audience at the most relevant time, optimised for a device that works for them (laptop, tablet, mobile etc.).

2. It’s all about the data

And if relevancy is something that email marketers will be very familiar with, then the idea of data driven distribution - using the data at your fingertips to better target the content you are looking to share – will also sound very familiar.

With more and more data at our fingertips, we can automate communication in ways that just weren’t possible in days gone by.

Email automation should be relatively easy if the right data has been collected, stored in the right way and all accessible through an email marketing platform that allows for efficient segmentation and automation on the fly.

3. Customer lifecycle marketing

The final part of the automation jigsaw is to incorporate whatever you are doing in terms of email into the entire marketing lifecycle. This means understanding the common customer behaviour and ensuring that any automation fits in with this at every stage of the customer journey.

This is perhaps particularly important for B2B marketers dealing with long sales cycles, but it is equally valid in the consumer world too.

When done in the right way, email automation has the potential to increase brand affinity and drive bottom line returns in a way that other marketing disciplines just can’t manage.

Many people I have spoken to over the years have looked at leading brands marketing automation programs with envious eyes. Stating that they do not have the time or budget to do something similar. Of course they can! There are plenty of easy to use tools out there that can help.

A simple tip to get going is to not to try and set everything up in one go. Start small but set up one aspect of the ‘bigger’ picture program each week or month, whilst testing the effectiveness of these along the way come the end of the year you will be one that others are looking at with envious eyes.

And because automation improves over time (as processes are tweaked and perfected) it is a system that will only improve in effectiveness as time goes on.

Tink Taylor

Published 21 August, 2012 by Tink Taylor

Tink Taylor is founder of dotmailer and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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Comments (4)

Anna Lewis

Anna Lewis, Google Analytics Analyst at Koozai

Good summary Tink, I think it's very important to ensure the personalisation of the email is up to date. I like to receive emails saying why don't you buy this, several days after I've put them in my basket but not bought them but if an email was to come in around that time with something unrelated I would be unlikely to bother going back and buying what I put in my basket.

We like to know people care about us, so timing and the right message would be my top two tips.

almost 6 years ago


Tom Smith

When sending emails the most important thing is to not come across as spam. Be relevant, personalise the emails, etc. These are great ways among others that can help your emails not look like spam. If you are able to provide a solution to a problem with your emails, that will also help to increase the response rates of your email campaigns.

almost 6 years ago

David Sealey

David Sealey, Head of Digital Consulting at CACI

Creating engaging content is one of the big challenges for marketers. The marketer needs to have an arsenal of well produced high-quality content to really connect with recipients.

Conversely if you have this pool of great content then personalisation becomes less of an issue. For example the eConsultancy or SomeEcards emails I receive don't need to be personalised. They hold so much good content that I'll find what I'm looking for.

Similarly this is the reason I follow RSS feeds. I trust the Daily Dilbert feed or Seth Godin's blog to be excellent > 90% of the time. They don't personalise, automate or know me.

My point is this. You can have all the marketing automation technology in the world, but if you don't have a content creation process it's going to be flawed.

almost 6 years ago



Totally agree with David Sealey, you need to marry the skills sets to create a compelling content driven, relevant campaign. From the eConsultancy breakfast seminar last week there is a big divide across marketers in terms of where they are in the digital landscape today and what brands are expecting. Depending on the end goal small steps can be taken to reach an automated marketing nirvana where work has gone into detailed analysis of your customers; their thought processes, their journey to conversion and revisits to your web site. Not only do you need to consider the technology platform for marketing automation you also need to consider all the pieces that make up your customer journey from acquisition to conversion as well as web analytics', ecommerce data such as transactions, abandoned baskets, content and importantly compelling creative content relevant to specific individuals which deliver brand recognition and personalized information.

almost 6 years ago

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