Last updated: 3 April 2019 - Read time: 4:26 min

Marketing automation: what is it and how do you use it?

Marketing automation is about setting up certain automated processes that can help your customers complete their customer journey or provide an extra trigger during a certain phase of their customer lifecycle.

This often involves something we at Peppered call “event-triggered campaigns”: small campaigns (e.g. an email) that arise out of a certain action or “event” on the customer’s side. As a result, these kinds of “microcampaigns” feel quite natural to your customers. They will not only boost your organisation’s revenue, but also have a positive effect on maintaining the relationship with your customer.

A friendly push in the right direction

During all stages of the customer journey

Whether you are dealing with a first-time visitor to your website or someone who has visited your site countless times already and is just looking around a bit: everyone can use some help during their choice or decision-making process at any stage of their customer journey. This starts before visitors even reach your website (referrals). With good content, proper SEO, social media and perhaps paid ads, you can make your website traffic as qualitative and (within that framework) extensive as possible. Once there, it is important to offer your visitors the best possible service. Just like in a physical store, personal contact with your customers is essential. As the image shows, the customer journey runs from the initial visit to the final purchase. Even the phases after that offer major opportunities to strengthen your relationship with your visitor and/or get them to come back to your organisation sooner.

Getting started

General roadmap to get started with marketing automation

Generally speaking, cultural organisations that want to start using marketing automation have to follow these steps:

  1. Map your customer journey.
  2. For each phase, determine the stimuli you want to give and what data you need for this.
  3. (Alternative: determine what data is available and what stimuli you can give with that)
  4. Conduct a pilot test to evaluate the effects of the campaign.
  5. Develop the pilot into a structural campaign; automate where possible and desirable.
  6. Periodically evaluate the results and effectiveness of the campaign.

Points of attention

  1. Automation is not a goal in and of itself. You should only do it if it saves you time and does not negatively impact how your customers receive and perceive your messages.
  2. Be thorough and careful. Always act in compliance with relevant privacy and customer contact regulations. Always offer recipients the option to opt out or update their preferences.
  3. Evaluate the impact of the automated processes on your other customer contact. Assign a “pressure manager” whose job it is to ensure that your customer contact does not become a superfluous flood of messages.

Anyone who wants to start using marketing automation can choose from a number of common marketing automation campaigns. If you want to delve deeper and control which data you want to use for which (recurring) marketing campaigns, the Platform offers the Query Builder.

Standard campaigns available

Rich layer of customer contact

Over time, the Platform has been enriched with an extensive set of campaigns, all of which are based on the customer’s personal actions or situation. Although the settings differ per cultural organisation, the underlying algorithm is always the same: approach (potential) customers based on their own triggers. This ensures you are there at the right time with a message that is tailored to their current situation. Some examples of available campaigns:

  • “Abandoned shopping cart” email campaign
  • Pageview reminder email campaign
  • Reminder: an event on your wish list is almost sold out
  • Reminder: an event on your wish list will take place in a week
  • Pre-service email
  • After-service email

The Query Builder: All data, all channels

Make the most of your data and utilise every available channel

If you want to go beyond the standard email campaigns, the Query Builder is perfect for you. This is a powerful module on our Platform that allows you to extract all available data from the system and use it in the manual or automated campaign environment. The applications are endless. Because all available data is brought together in one place, you can make every possible combination or cross section, as well as specific selections to achieve your campaign’s objective. Some examples of the available data include:

  • Who looked at which event online without purchasing a ticket?
  • Who placed what in their shopping cart without completing the purchase?
  • Who bought a ticket during the presale last year, but has not purchased anything yet this year?
  • Customer characteristics, e.g. ambassadors, teachers, friends, etcetera.
  • Postcode and other customer data.
  • Calculated customer data, e.g. algorithms that we run every night to assign personas.
  • Information regarding customer history.
  • Information regarding who opened which emails and/or clicked on them.
  • Select data from external sources, e.g. customer characteristics derived from a Mosaic analysis, etcetera.
  • Offline data on customers who bought a physical ticket.

Playing around with these kinds of data applications lets you set up any campaign you can think of. Customers can use it for manual or automated emails, queries can be one-off events or be calculated on a daily basis, address selections can be exported for DM or call campaigns, etcetera. The Query Builder was developed in collaboration with Parktheater Eindhoven, de Doelen, Luxor Theater and Theater Rotterdam. In November of 2018, the Query Builder is being tested by Parktheater Eindhoven.

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