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Stupid Marketing Technology Tricks

Letterman has “Stupid Pet Tricks”, and businesses have “Stupid Marketing Technology Tricks”.  Both can cause you to laugh so hard, you wind up crying.


Like the company that left the “State” field as a text box rather than pre-populating the correct names and abbreviations for the 50 US States…and discovered that their employees really needed the help.  They had, at the time I was called in, more than 200 different responses in the field, and too many folks using “AL”, “AK”, “AR” and “AZ” for “Arizona”.

But their technology sucked…not their implementation of the technology!  Not their strategy! Or their training!  Or their management!  Or their data quality processes!

The technology sucked.

Now with marketing automation, I get to hear from companies that are pissed about their ability to convert “leads” into “customers” only to see that they define “leads” as “inquiries” (which are unqualified leads) and they treat them all the same forever.

Let me give you an example.  Company A attracts inquiries that may be interested in buying within 30-60-90-120 days or as far out as 2 years.  And some of those inquiries are looking for “low price” while others are looking for “low maintenance” and others are looking for “service and support” and others are looking for “saving money by improving performance”.

But Company A doesn’t ask about “Projected Purchase Date” or “Selection Criteria”.  They also don’t ask about “Budget” or the “Authority of the Individual to spend the budget on a solution”.

So what happens is this…they spend a lot of time talking to people that have a need…but don’t have the money or the authority to spend money on the solution to that need.

And they try to respond to everyone regardless of their desired purchase date which means [ex] that when Buyer A starts talking with the sales team (because Buyer A loves to talk to everyone and anyone that will listen), the sales team takes that as a sign that Buyer A is a “hot lead” and they spend every waking moment with Buyer A.

However, Buyer B isn’t a talker because they have work to do.  Buyer B also wants to buy within the next 30 days and has authority to spend the money necessary to acquire your solution.

But your sales team is ignoring Buyer B because Buyer A is taking up all their time … because they aren’t asking for or collecting or analyzing or using the right data to drive their actions.  Because if they were asking the right information and collecting it and analyzing it…they would be focusing on Buyer B.

Want to add some more fun to this scenario?  Buyer B is interested in “improving performance and saving time” but the company has no way of capturing that information and using it to drive relevant communications.  They’re too busy to create the right messages for the right people…so everyone gets messages (emails) with about 10-15 links to a variety of pages on the website that address a variety of topics.

They also know the click-thru rate on those emails is low.  But they are pretty sure it’s because the leads are low quality since it couldn’t possibly be their delivery of irrelevant content and weak offers/calls to action.

So what’s the point? How to avoid stupid marketing technology tricks?

Get someone that understands data on your team.  Better yet, get someone on board that understands data and your business so they can take charge of laying out the data strategy.  What questions do you need to answer and what data you need to answer those questions.  This requires experience, so don’t think you can just plug someone from your current team into the position because they “like data”.  And remember that this person is going to have to work across the company in order to bring all the different data silos together…there’s marketing, sales, accounting, service…and probably more.

Get someone that understand the technology on your team.  A few years ago, I attended Dreamforce and I spent several days asking everyone I could “How did you become the administrator for Salesforce at your company?”  The vast majority of responses was “…I always loved data so I volunteered.”  What this created was someone that kinda understood the CRM and kinda understood how to do things within the CRM…but didn’t really get the vision and the long-term potential of the CRM.

In several cases, I have seen companies spend 6-figures on consulting firms because no one in the business understood the technology.  Now, when you get to that kind of cost, you really need to think about hiring someone so that they are dedicated and part of your team so they really understand the business.

Put together a data strategy that allows you to capture, store, analyze data so you can make better informed decisions.  Again, what do you need to know? What data do you need to answer those questions?  Where will you get that data? Who will get that data?  How will they get that data?  Where will it be stored?  How will it be analyzed?

When I walk into most organizations that are wondering why their sales are so low, some of my questions focus on the promotional efforts.  What campaigns did you run?  What did they cost? How many inquiries were generated? How many of those inquiries became a marketing qualified lead?  How many of those marketing qualified leads became sales qualified leads?  How many of those sales qualified leads became customers?  What was the average order size?  How quickly were you able to make them a repeat customer?  What is their order frequency?

And when I get told “We can’t answer those questions”, which is the majority of the time, I know we have a data/technology problem.

And use the data to drive messaging and offers…and test, test, test.  If you don’t test because you don’t have time, find the time.  If you don’t test because you don’t know how to, find someone to help and/or teach you.  But when you have invested in all that technology and are gathering all that data, you gotta test.  Things change.  And there is always a better way to do something…we just have to find it.

A few years back, I sat in the office of a marketing director that was just too busy to test…and results were stagnate.  The design and content and offer on the landing pages and in the emails were from more than 2-years earlier.  Technology and best practices had changed dramatically in that time so what they had was old, ineffective and unappealing to their audience.

Now I get that a person is busy.  And I understand that testing is new for many.  But if your company has been sending out the same email to every new inquiry for Product A since 2013 and your response rates are stagnate, if not falling, you might want to find some time to test (or learn how to test) before someone higher up on the org chart decides “…it’s time we tested a new person in the position…”

Those are my thoughts…what are yours?  Please feel free to comment so we can share what we have learned.

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