Marketing Automation and Living in the Matrix

Avatar Jim Macdonald
August 12, 2015
At the end of part 2, I hinted at the possibility that analytics and marketing automation could bring amazing things to the virtual Internet party. I feel very strongly that if companies are serious about developing a stronger online brand and truly engaging their visitors, they should develop a marketing automation strategy. Our company uses a product that totally integrates the website with all the various pieces of online marketing, including automation. We use Kentico Enterprise Marketing Solution (EMS) as our “go to” choice because of the deep level of integration with the website.

So, let’s explore what a marketer can do with a good visitor-engagement tool. It’s important to note that everything starts with content, and branches out from there. So job #1 for any marketer is to figure out how to create dynamic and engaging content. Write a blog. Publish a white paper. Educate your visitors! After all, marketing automation is worthless without visitors.
In the same respect, any marketing tool is just a tool. You need strategy and implementation to make it work. Also, keep in mind that things marketers think are cool, regular people think are creepy. I went to a website and was looking at a lamp… Then everywhere I went online the freakin’ lamp followed me! It was like a stalker lamp. I learned from our Online Marketing group, that’s what we call “re-marketing.” Scary.

Anyway, back to the online marketing tools. There are a bunch available, but Kentico EMS serves our purpose well. It includes features like:
• Content Personalization
• Lead Scoring
• Analytics
• A/B Testing
• Campaign Management
• Contact Management
• E-Mail Marketing
• Marketing Automation

I could write a blog post on each feature (and probably will), but it will suffice to say that these tools give you the power to truly engage your website visitors and generate excellent leads - Websites with a purpose. Sure, you can launch a basic site and look at Google Analytics all day, but true visitor engagement involves online marketing and a solid strategy. (Note: This is not an advertisement. There are other excellent online marketing products out there, but my experience so far is limited to Kentico EMS.)

Remember that your early visitors are not going to dive in with both feet. They need to be educated first… Kind of like a first date. You wouldn’t go to dinner and talk about having kids and buying a house. Save that for the second date. Another quick dating tip: Don’t be like the lamp. Don’t be a stalker.

Once you get your visitors comfortable, your strategy should switch to decision-making and “soft” calls to action. You can personalize some content based on their past visits and habits, then offer a webinar or a download of a report. At this time, you should ask for basic information like name and email address.

Ultimately, the visitor will be interested in a demo, a trial, or something of value. They are now considered a “lead” and would probably appreciate a follow up, instead of being put-off by it. It’s like a marketing dance, and you have to be careful to let your potential lead… lead.

So what is the future of the website? I don’t know if they will even be called websites in the future. There will be places to get information, be entertained, shop, and more… But will they be websites? Look at the Amazon Echo. It’s an “Information Tube” – Literally. There’s no website, no keyboard, no design or graphics. It’s a tube. Ask it something. It gives an answer. It tells jokes that are actually worse than mine, though some think that is not possible. But it’s a tube.

The future will include highly interactive websites that work on your computer, tablet, phone, watch, in virtual reality, but not on your glasses (at least for now). It will also include Tubes, as proven by both Google and Universal Tube & Rollform (see part 2). I can also assume that the stalker lamp will eventually become a self-aware killing machine connected to Skynet – So be careful what you shop for.
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