The terms "marketing automation" and "customer experience" trip off the tongue of the modern marketer with increasing frequency. But it's not always clear how the former enhances the latter.
We took that question to several marketing practitioners who were in San Francisco for last week's Innovate conference, which focused on customer experience management across all channels.
How is marketing automation changing the customer experience for your customers?
Paige O'Neill, Chief Marketing Officer, SDL
I think it's changing it quite dramatically. The thing that excites me most recently is the work we're doing to help our customers understand their customer personas. We've been talking about personas in marketing for quite some time. We talk about segmentation. We've been talking about that for years. But the thing that the data is bringing to us now is a tremendous additional layer of depth to that story because we're able to apply technology to understanding all the conversations that are happening on all the social spheres.
It's not just Twitter and Facebook, but it's blogs, chats and any kind of conversation happening socially. We've got the technology — SDL does and other vendors do as well — to be able to compile and aggregate those conversations and be able to look at how customer personas begin to break down, to give more meaning to the personas, to enable companies to apply that data, to help target those customers more effectively, to help develop those relationships, to have an affinity for the brand, and ultimately to make a purchase and come back to make a repeat purchase. The ability to take data and understand those personas, to understand where they're having conversations, when the buying moment is happening, and then participate in that buying moment in real time.
Sian Goad, brand strategy manager at Kawasaki Motors Corp.
We're still looking as ways automation can benefit us. We're looking at predictive behavioral tools that will allow us to be a better partner with other teams that are working in other silos in our company, so that we can better communicate one voice.
I think the customer experience will benefit from having more enhancements and simpler navigation through all the communications streams, so the relationship between those things will make more sense of our products. If they purchase one product, they'll experience all different depths — anything from parts, apparel, warranty offerings.
It may be an older unit that they purchase, and their experience will be less siloed because we'll be able to pull our teams together and offer one experience on one path.
Caroline Hunter, interactive marketing specialist at Kawasaki Motors Corp.
The first thing we need to understand is that we need to do targeted communication to our customers. We're a diverse company. When we've got a customer who is interested in one product, it may not be the same customer who is interested in a different product. So we need to determine who our customers are and develop content and get it to them.
Speaking of digital, not only do our customers have different product interests, they want to receive the information differently. A consumer who receives it through social or email may not want to get it that way. So we've got to look at other ways to deliver it. We might think of direct mail. It's really about understanding who are customers are and the way they want to receive information.
Steve Richardson, manager of translation systems at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
We translate about 100 million words a year in almost 100 languages. If we didn't have marketing automation to help us do that — to manage previous translations and make use of automated translations that speed them up 1.5 to 2 times — we would never be able to reach out like we do around the world.
And we have information going out on websites, mobile, video. If you go to LDS.org, it's full of all kinds of media and information. Even the missionary force of the church is using technology like iPads and other things to help organize their work, share messages, videos and you name it.