14 September, 2020

How to maximise ROI on marketing automation platforms

By Kevin Perry

Organisations have been investing heavily in marketing automation platforms such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Adobe Campaign and Marketo for over a decade. Most have done so with the intent of marketing to their customers at scale, across all channels, on as personalised a basis as possible.

Marketing automation platforms are key assets in enabling organisations to regain lost market share, reconnect with customers and do so in a way which leverages all known past interactions (and transactions) with each customer. They are perfectly suited to assist organisations in entering COVID-19’s “normal” phase.

Yet, research shows that a significant number of marketing automation-enabled organisations believe they are getting only the most baseline ROI from their investments in these systems, people and processes.

To help your brand emerge as a leader and gain the most benefit from your marketing automation investments, the following are several areas to consider, where organisations commonly experience challenges.

Fully automating your platform

This is often the most common source of challenge with marketing automation platforms. If your platform relies heavily on manual processes, this is likely to affect your team’s efficiency and ability to execute campaigns at speed. Consider the process of integrating communications across your digital and non-digital channels; is this seamless or does it still require manual processes? Platforms that require manual workarounds for any issues can also prevent you from executing your campaign strategies.

Many organisations face challenges when there is a lack of complete documentation provided following their platform’s initial set-up, which often leads to the team not knowing how the platform operates and what’s required to fix it when they encounter issues. Identify where your organisation needs to improve with your documentation and set strategies to address knowledge gaps.

Frequently reviewing your customer data sets to ensure they are ‘clean and complete’ is also key. Organisations often encounter challenges with incomplete data, which keeps them from building reliable single customer views to drive campaign personalisation.

Continuously reviewing the overall health of your automation platform is essential. Organisations face a lot of platform challenges when the overall health of their platform is not routinely reviewed and assumptions are made that ‘everything is working as it should’.

Analysing campaign and Customer Experience outcomes

Do you have clear visibility on your campaign results against your initial targets? For organisations with campaign reporting processes which are too manual, this poses a challenge.

One thing to note is that if you’re only reporting on a campaign-by-campaign basis, you are not likely to have an overall view of how your campaigns are impacting Customer Experience. This limits your ability to analyse team effectiveness and provide in-depth reporting to your stakeholders.

Additional challenges with data exist when it comes to the timeliness of your reporting. Consider whether your reports are generated when required, or only once their moment of highest value has passed?  Leveraging your customer data, can help you predict what your customers may do next and how you might pre-empt their needs.

Fine tuning campaign communications

When it comes to campaign communications, have you identified your priority customer segments and how you will communicate with each individual throughout their lifecycle with your brand? Research shows that personalisation drives results, and not having a personalisation strategy in place for each segment can impact on the effectiveness of your campaigns. In addition to this, not knowing if the frequency of your communication is appropriate for each segment will also pose challenges. You need to find out if each segment finds the frequency of communications too little or too much, and adapt your execution accordingly whilst putting processes in place to manage campaign communications at scale.

It’s important to frequently review and update your “always-on” campaigns. Approaching these with a “set and forget” mentality prevents organisations from maximising their ROI from their marketing automation platforms.

Optimising team enablement

When it comes to your marketing automation platforms, you need to consider how effectively your team members have been enabled to leverage the platform fully, and drive both campaigns and Customer Experience outcomes. Do you have processes in place such as A/B testing, to identify insights and allow your teams to optimise campaigns? And how do you make this information available to new members in your organisation?

Understanding if your team is challenged to use the functionality of your marketing automation platforms to drive next-stage campaigns and improve Customer Experience will also play a key role in helping maximise your ROI.

Leading brands invest continuously in their platform, people and processes to address marketing automation ROI blockers and ensure smooth, frictionless Customer Experiences. It is these brands who are seen by their customers as the most connected, and customer-focused.

By Kevin Perry

Director Platform ROI & Innovation

Data-Driven Communications

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