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5 Tips for Automating the Tactical and Increasing Efficiency

by: Bryan Brown (@getvision)
12 October 2011

Customers and prospects today expect relevant, personalized messaging. But delivering content tailored to each of your many recipients’ individual interests—and doing it quickly—can seem daunting. Ironically, to become more personalized, marketers must become more automated.

That’s because even for the most ambitious of marketers, it’s manually impossible to respond to the individual needs of dozens, hundreds, thousands of prospects and customers in real time. That’s where marketing automation comes in. By automating the tactical, you can connect with more people in a more personal fashion, improve overall efficiency and have extra time left to focus on strategic planning and processes. Here are five tactics for which automation can benefit your marketing strategy:

1. Sending emails based on Web pages visited. Imagine a situation where you go to an electronics store to look at flat-screen TVs. If you’re spending all your time looking at TVs, you’d be a bit confused if the salesperson approached you about a great deal on desktop computers. Likewise, it doesn’t make sense to send your customers and prospects irrelevant information that doesn’t match their Web browsing habits. Instead, use Web analytics integrated with your marketing platform to monitor which pages your subscribers are visiting, and then tap the power of marketing automation to send triggered emails with related product information and/or deals to interested parties.

2. Following up white paper downloads with related Webinars. When someone downloads a white paper about a specific subject, they’re likely interested in learning more about that topic. So if you’re offering a related Webinar, it’s a no-brainer for you to invite those who downloaded the paper to attend the Webinar. You could create a list of everyone who downloaded the white paper and send them an email about the Webinar. But what about the people who download the document five minutes after you’ve sent that email? Automation can alleviate the issue—for everyone who downloads the white paper, a real-time email about the Webinar can be automatically sent while your brand is still top of mind.

3. Collecting data in-store or at an event. Whether you’re collecting email addresses at a cash register in a retail store or business cards at a trade show, the manual entry of information leaves a lot of room for human error, not to mention the time it takes for that person to complete the task. The solution? Make the process automated. Place a tablet such as an iPad near the cash register and ask customers to fill out the form while the cashier is ringing up their purchases, or use it at a trade show instead of collecting business cards. Not only will this eliminate human errors, but it will also enable you to collect more information by including a few extra questions on the form that tell you about subscriber or prospect preferences upfront.

4. Scheduling social posts to coincide with email sends. On many marketing teams, those who manage the social channels aren’t the same people as those pushing “send” on an email. As a result, time is wasted and messaging can become disjointed. When sending an email containing information about an upcoming Webinar, for example, coordinating the send so someone else can hit “tweet” simultaneously is nearly impossible. With new marketing technology, though, marketers can automatically post relevant content across a range of social network accounts at the same time the email goes out—and track the results.

5. Alerting sales to changing lead statuses. Buying cycles are becoming longer and more complex, and sometimes passing leads from marketing to sales can be a messy process, with salespeople cherry-picking whatever leads they see fit with little rhyme or reason. Incorporating a lead-scoring system and automated sales alerts within your lead-management process can help enable sales by providing the right leads at the right time. For example, as a marketer you can manually query for “good” leads and regularly send sales a file, but why not build automated business rules that look for meaningful buying signs with your leads and automatically send those alerts to the appropriate sales representative in real time?

While it may seem ironic to use automation to make content more relevant and personalized, in the new age of marketing it’s necessary. One person can’t meet the individual needs of thousands, but automation can help you deliver the right message at the right time—while making your overall marketing processes more efficient.


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