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Stop Wasting Money On Marketing Automation, Personas, And Content Marketing!

by David Brock on December 4th, 2015

Recently, I lamented about the challenge I face with my email Inbox in Your Marketing Is Driving Me Away!   I spoke of the ever increasing volume of email messages that are simply irrelevant, undifferentiated, or poorly executed.  And these are the marketing emails from well established organizations, sent by marketing and sales professionals.

Coincidentally, I read a research report on The State Of Email Marketing 2015.  Click on the link, the blog post provides an interesting summary.  The report was the result of a survey of  over 1800 email marketers, around the world.

There’s a lot of interesting information, but one stunning set of data explained the problem I have with my Inbox.  The survey asked, “What targeting techniques do you use for your email marketing?”


Email Targeting Methods

42% of email marketers use no targeting techniques at all!  Everyone gets the same thing!

37% of email marketers use limited targeting criteria!


It’s no surprise that our Inbox’s are filled with crap!

It’s probably not unreasonable to think the same “thoughtfulness” is used in every other communication/engagement channel.

At the same time, fundamentals of all marketing, including email marketing include:  Personalization, Relevance, Rich Segmentation, Focused Targeting, Timeliness.

We read endless articles about the importance of developing personas and content specific to personas.  We read about the importance of aligning our communications with the buyer’s journey–ideally providing content that is both persona and buying journey appropriate.  We read about content strategies designed to nurture, educate, build interest, start the customer in a buying journey.  Naturally, all of this content is personalized, contextually and situationally relevant.

We know if we are going to stand out, if we are going to have maximum impact, and if we are going to engage our customers/prospects in a meaningful way, we have to do these things.

Yet 42% don’t do these things at all, and another 37% do the bare minimum!  That’s 79% of the respondents to this survey!

One wonders, why are billions being spent on marketing automation tools, analytics, content development if we aren’t using the capabilities they provide us?  Even the most rudimentary email marketing tool provides relatively rich personalization, segmentation, and targeting capabilities.

All this “stuff” we are supposed to be doing, all the tools we are investing in are meaningless unless we do the work!  If you aren’t doing the work, stop wasting the money, resources, and time!  Your results probably couldn’t be any worse, so at least you’ll drive something to the bottom line.

Executives need to dive into what’s being done by their sales and marketing organizations.  They need to provide leadership, set examples themselves.  If they want to change the customer experience, if they want to be more relevant and engage more impactfully, if they want to produce results, then they have to make sure the tools are being used.  They have to make sure they are developing meaningful relevant, impactful content—role-wise, contextually, situationally, and timely high impact content.

Vendors need to be educating their customers.  If they want subscription renewals, if they want to upsell, cross sell, or reference their customers, vendors need to make sure their customers are using tools to produce relevant results!

Lest those in sales gloat, thinking this is a marketing execution problem, it’s a sales and marketing problem!  Sales people and managers execute terrible prospecting and email marketing programs.  The implement horribly irrelevant outbound calling programs.

Sales and marketing are partners in engaging customers with meaningful, relevant, and impactful insights and conversations.  We are partners in creating value for our customers in with every touch, whether it’s an email, a voicemail, a white paper, a phone call, a social channel interaction, or a face to face meeting.  We have to work together to create meaning and value through the customer engagement and buying cycles.

This is not tough stuff!  The tools provide tremendous help, if we use them.  We have to care, we have to want to have an impact, we have to be driven to produce results and driven by effectiveness.  We have to do the work, not pretend to do so by saying we have all the tools in place.  A hammer does nothing until you pick it up, and start driving a nail into a piece of wood.

Finally, to the vendors of these tools.  In addition to helping your customers more effectively use the tools, use them yourselves!  Practice what you preach!  100% of the emails I referred to in Your Marketing Is Driving Me Away, come from vendors or sales and marketing automation tools, or service providers related to them.


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  1. Dave, no matter how sophisticated the tools, the unstated view is still:

    “Sales in a numbers game”.

    The bigger the number the more chances of a sale.

    • Firstly, great article David. Thanks for sharing.

      Michael – to your point. Whilst i agree with the principles you mention. I am sure you would agree that sales are an expensive resource?! Therefore we want to ensure sales are following up with the right leads at the right time, as opposed to chasing shadows all day and seeing sales as a “numbers game”. For example: Telemarketing today has changed…. If you are smiling and dialing that’s a numbers game and today it typically takes longer to engage prospects and close deals. its no longer an effective or efficient way to drive new business. That’s not to say telemarketing is dead. Not at all. It just means that we have to work smarter not harder. Prospects and customers alike expect their experience today to be personalised and relevant to their needs. We have tools like LinkedIn which allow us to tailor our messaging to our prospects. if we don’t tailor our messaging and carry out our initial research about a prospect who do you think will win the deal. Company A.) who has spent time researching about the prospect or company B.) who has very little info about the prospect? As David mentions in the article. It is more about offering a customer experience and journey as well as personalizing how you engage with your customers and prospects. The reason companies are adopting marketing automation is so that they they can measure the success of their marketing teams efforts and ultimately drive better lead quality for the sales team. Thus driving increased revenue for the business as they become more effective and efficient with their communications.

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