Navigating the Art & Science of Marketing Automation

Marshall Stanton, EVP, Global Operations, Catalina

Marshall Stanton, EVP, Global Operations, Catalina

Marketing automation (MA) has become as much an art as it is a science.

For at least a decade, both SaaS and proprietary platforms like ours have been shifting to automated solutions to deliver more personalized, targeted and, therefore, relevant marketing campaigns to customers across channels. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-powered tools are enabling higher quality segmentation, far more granular audiences, real-time campaign optimization and even revenue management to help companies better understand and engage their customers to drive sales and build loyalty.

Evolving channels, devices and consumer preferences have made for a highly complex, fluid and sophisticated marketing environment. There are a few marketing automation approaches that companies can consider to successfully navigate these changing trends to deliver the increasingly nuanced solutions customers crave:

The triple threat wins the game

It’s not enough to simply have a strategy or buy/build good technology or hire the right talent. It’s the combination that creates a winning recipe.

"As marketing automation becomes even more integral to your customer relationships, embrace what truly sets your organization apart, and find partners who share your values, appetite for change, and quest for continuous improvement across every touchpoint"

The journey is the destination

Don’t create false confidence by convincing yourself (and your boss) that you’ve developed the ultimate solution. The moment you feel you’ve arrived, you’re becoming outmoded. Commit to constant evolution.

Two brains are better than one

For years, our company erred on the side of building it ourselves instead of partnering with others on platforms or technical aspects of the business that weren’t necessarily our forte. Over the last few years we have formed key strategic partnerships in areas outside our expertise. This has freed up our incredibly talented teams to spend more time enhancing the personalization, targeting and measurement capabilities that are our sweet spot. Don’t feel you have to tackle the challenge on your own; partnering with an expert can help you enhance and scale your core business.

Narrow your focus

As recently as five years ago, many companies said, “We can do it all. We own the customer relationship and can meet all their needs.”No organization does everything well, so have an honest dialogue with your team about your true points of differentiation and focus your time and investments on those. Spreading investments around like peanut butter is a good way to become a jack of all trades, master of none.

Know your secret sauce

What your company truly values will always be your secret sauce. Ask yourself– and your company – tough questions that get to the heart of your identity. When we look at the most interesting partnerships – Disney within Target or Kohls accepting Amazon returns – they speak directly to what’s important to their consumers and how they can best suit them.

Prioritize privacy

It’s not sexy, but it is essential to be an expert in data privacy as laws evolve at breakneck speed. Dozens of states are following the lead of California’s Consumer Privacy Act to draft privacy regulations of their own. For companies like ours, where consumer privacy is critical to our customers and to our business, we continue to invest in data experts and partners who share our point of view on the letter and spirit of privacy laws.

As marketing automation becomes even more integral to your customer relationships, embrace what truly sets your organization apart, and find partners who share your values, appetite for change, and quest for continuous improvement across every touchpoint.

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