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Beyond the Big Game: Build Your Marketing Automation Playbook

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by: Ellen Valentine (@EllenValentine)
31 January 2013

With the big game this Sunday, football fans are gearing up for food, fun commercials and cheering for their favorite teams. Because football is so top-of-mind right now, I wanted to share this fun marketing automation playbook – and how real-life marketers can relate to big-time playmakers.

It’s no secret that it takes a team to get the most out of marketing. Check out how marketing teams and the NFL elite relate:

Customer Value – The Washington Redskins had fallen from the ranks of elite teams for the last few years, but with the additions of Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris they came back as a playoff-caliber team. Just like the Redskins organization knew that it needed to make the team more relevant in the NFL to fill their stadium, marketers know that they must communicate to customers on their terms, delivering highly relevant messages to keep them engaged. Marketers – just like pro-football teams – are nothing without superstar employees and loyal customers (or fans).

Real-time Automation – The beauty of marketing automation is its ability to deliver messages and content in real time based on contact actions, which is not far off from a Peyton Manning no-huddle offense. Manning makes decisions on the fly after reading a defense, just like automation delivers messages based on a recipient’s real-time actions.

Collaboration – No player, no matter how great, can carry a team on his back. It takes many people in many different roles to win a championship in the NFL – just ask star quarterback Tom Brady and his head coach Bill Belichick. Similarly, it takes department and oftentimes companywide commitment to win with automation. If marketing and sales don’t agree on goals or if leadership isn’t on the same page as their teams, they won’t be reaching their full capabilities with automation.

Accountability – Sometimes there are bumps in the road on the way to victory. The New Orleans Saints were champions a few seasons ago in large part due to Drew Brees’ quarterbacking skills. The 2012 season wasn’t as illustrious for the Saints, and Brees shouldered much of the responsibility. With marketing teams, it should be no different. Everyone involved in the process should be aware of what their roles and responsibilities are to avoid overlap or confusion. And, if there is an area that needs to be improved or evaluated, team members know who to work with.

Campaign Design – With the big game just days away, the story we’re all hearing about is the brothers — John and Jim Harbaugh — coaching against each other. Both coaches have built these teams, made tough decisions and designed plays to lead their teams to this place. Just as John and Jim have built their teams, marketers must be strategic in designing their overall marketing campaigns and how automation will play a role in them. Strategizing and building nurture programs, implementing Web tracking or building a scoring model are just a few areas to think about. Marketing teams need a “head coach” too to help their companies be as successful as possible.

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