Marketing Automation: Consistency Counts
This isn’t your standard marketing automation blog post. I’m not going to restate a list of statistics about the explosive growth of marketing automation (you can find these with a simple Bing or Google search). I’m not going to give you the top five, seven, or eleven ways to generate more leads than ever. And I certainly won’t try to convince you that one platform is better than the others. Instead, I’m sharing some of my own best practices to help you get the most out of your marketing engines.
For me, the single most important factor for deploying effective global marketing automation campaigns is consistency. Deliver consistent campaigns across all your markets and teams and you win. Yep. That’s it. Consistency of workflows, terminology, and best practices. Do this and you’ll improve your ability to replicate, execute, and coordinate across borders, business units, and teams.
This is, of course, easier said than done. Delivering consistency is incredibly difficult in the modern enterprise given the general lack of time to plan, challenges communicating across time zones, shifting priorities, conflicting goals, and more. There are, however, a few things you can do as a marketing automation leader to deliver more consistent marketing campaigns, even in a hyperscale global enterprise.
Standardize campaign workflows and processes
Someone once told me that all processes are perfect – you get out of them exactly what they were designed to produce. If you want something different from your process, you need to change the process. Great marketing automation is defined by efficient workflows and effective processes. Your campaigns will run precisely as they are programed. One of the easiest ways to begin driving consistency across your campaigns is to focus on documenting the workflows and processes that drive the outputs you desire. Start by asking yourself a simple question. What is our buyer’s journey? Documenting your buyer’s journey is a great way to see if what you are getting out of your campaigns is aligned with what is going into your campaigns. My guess is that you will find some interesting gaps and opportunities.
Align terminology across globally distributed teams
One of the most basic things any marketer can do to drive consistency and effectiveness is to standardize terminology. When you work across globally distributed teams, it’s especially easy for words to lose their meaning, be misconstrued, or simply be misunderstood. Without standard terms, definitions, and understanding, you are literally speaking a different language. Take the time to standardize the key terminology used by all your marketing operations teams and work to drive consistency in how they are used. If this seems too obvious, just ask yourself if you ever felt like your global teams didn’t understand what you meant. If so, you probably have room to improve in this area as well.
Seek and share best practices
One of the greatest gifts I have working as a consultant is access to the many ways businesses create action to drive results. Some companies are better than others, but through trial and error, over time the great ideas become best practices. Sharing best practices across globally distributed teams is a simple and effective way to learn from others what works. It’s free learning and can help build highly effective marketing organizations. It’s easy to start, too. During your next meeting or monthly team conference call with your global marketing teams, take a moment to listen to ideas being shared and ask for what works and why. Then, document it and share it back for all the group to benefit. I’m always delighted when I hear teams sharing ideas and best practices with teams from other countries.
Like most things in business and in life, you will get as much out of marketing automation as you put into it. If your goal is to automate for the sake of automation, you can purchase a solution and use it to run a few campaigns. You might see a return on that investment or you might not. However, if your goal is to truly harness the power of your new marketing tools, you will need to establish consistent workflows, terminology, and best practices. If you do, I’m certain you will see results.