Marketing automation has the potential to increase efficiency of marketing and sales activities, as well as generate more revenue from your marketing investment. But there’s one thing that holds back every marketing automation program or campaign: creative production.
Traditionally, creative production—email, web and brochure design—took up the bulk of any marketing department’s time. In the days where sending something out to a printer meant a large investment of money, marketing wanted to make sure every word and every image was as close to perfect as humanly possible. When marketing moved into email and web, that design was and still is treated with equal need to make everything perfect. But that meant once the email was sent or the brochure was printed, the job was mostly done.
That kind of thinking is still pervasive today in many marketing teams—even ones with the sophisticated technology to power their efforts. In a world where what happens behind the scenes with marketing automation and CRM softwares is just as, if not more, important than creative production, it holds back even greater success. That’s not to say creative production shouldn’t be taken seriously. However, that same amount of effort needs to be given to marketing automation systems in order to fully take advantage of the technology.
The 50/50 rule is simple: Half of your time should be given to producing the creative for any given marketing activity, and the other half is dedicated to setting up the marketing automation.
For example, most people will spend a lot of time creating a phenomenal looking lead nurturing campaign. Every email looks great. The content you are promoting is top notch. The wording of that bottom-of-the-funnel offer can pull people in. Then you send out one mass email blast that triggers one drip workflow and the job is mostly done, right?
There are calls-to-action to be placed and A/B tested. There are landing page variations that need created to improve the submission rate over time. There are the other workflows, the ones that notify sales or enable lifecycle flow. Plus, the content itself should be tested and reconfigured within one or multiple lead nurturing drip campaigns as you see how people interact with it. A lot of attention to the backend detail must be paid in order to really prove the ROI of the marketing automation investment.
The good news is, when it’s done right, you don’t have to worry about showing marketing automation is worth it. You can determine if the actual creative is worth the time, too.
One of the primary reasons marketing departments spend so much time perfecting the creative before it was shipped was that you wanted to squeeze as much life out of that perspective piece as possible. When following the 50/50 rule of marketing automation, you can make every piece, whether it’s a whitepaper, email or brochure, good to the very last drop.
A properly functioning marketing automation system is set up to get even more life out of everything your department creates. That single email can be used as a template for quick, daily emails to highly segmented lists. That one eBook can be used in dozens of lead nurturing campaigns, and no one will know because your system can make sure no person sees the same content twice.
There are really countless ways for that creative to be used and reused in the world of marketing automation. (Even if you need a small creative update, it’s generally just a simple file overwrite instead of a new production run.) You just have to put the time into the system, not just the creative, to make it so.
photo credit: chrisinplymouth
Dan Stasiewski is an Enterprise Data Consultant at Kuno. When he's not talking about marketing data and trends, he's probably in a movie theater... or randomly breaking into song. You can connect with Dan via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.
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