How to stop your martech running out of control

As marketing tech gets more sophisticated, it offers marketers increasingly powerful ways to understand their customers. But like any tool, it can be dangerous if misused.

Any marketer worth her year-end bonus knows no one gets far without understanding the customer. It’s why those trying to turn customer insights into an edge embrace their tech tools.

But, says Mercer Australia and New Zealand Head of B2B Marketing Natalie Truong, the most capable marketing automation system ever created can do more damage than good if it’s aimed at the wrong things. It’s something her team learned from bitter first-hand experience after her team launched a marketing automation program.

[caption id="attachment_1203" align="alignleft" width="300"]Natalie Truong Mercer's Natalie Truong[/caption]

“They’re great tools,” Truong says. “The problem we had is we were just given the tools. There was no training, no consultation, no understanding of the sales marketing handshake locally.”

But the biggest misstep, Truong says, was that the system was implemented with a focus on creating marketing-qualified leads as the leading KPI.

“We ended up not only spamming our clients but our sales team as well,” she says. “They started receiving poor-quality leads or leads for people they were already in discussion with, and that damaged the relationship between sales and marketing.

The experience prompted a major rethink of how the tech was being used, dispensing with the lead scoring system that had come down from up on high.

“It’s working for us in a very positive way now,” Truong says. “We're now more focused on ensuring there are more high-quality leads in the pipeline and we have done a lot of work on the sales marketing handshake to ensure higher conversion rates.

“Having 10,000 MQLs in the pipeline doesn’t mean anything if the conversion rate is poor.”

Truong compared a campaign Mercer ran in 2016 with an MQL target in the hundreds with the same campaign it ran last year, which generated seven leads.

“I was happy with just the seven leads because I knew they were high quality. We're set to already shoot the lights out of our revenue target for this year on the strength of those leads.”

There is, of course, far more to marketing tech than lead generation, with better insights about existing customers among the most promising.

[caption id="attachment_1202" align="alignleft" width="300"]Jon Amery Vocus Communications’ Jon Amery[/caption]

Jon Amery, Vocus Communications’ General Manager of Marketing and Customer Experience, says one of the most promising uses comes in the form of “white-space” analytics.

“This is going beyond simply looking at net promoter scores,” he says. “Knowing that 60 per cent of your customers are happy means you can benchmark what you're doing and improve and report back to the board that more customers are happy. It doesn't flag which customers you need to focus on, or how you can make the experience of different sorts of customers better.

“The tools available now allow you to map out the correlation between things like customer satisfaction six months after purchase and how many interactions they had with marketing, or how often they connected with the service department. Once you know that, you can start using those analytics around customer satisfaction to make business decisions.”

Truong and Amery spoke at the 2017 B2B Marketing Leaders Forum. Subscribe for free to Marketorium and receive a fortnightly newsletter with the latest knowledge and insights from B2B marketing leaders in the region and across the world. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Photo: Russ Ward on Unsplash