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Marketing Automation – and the impact of WannaCry May 23, 2017

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, Cyber Security, Management, Marketing Automation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Network Security.
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Simon the Hacker

As both an enabler and recipient of marketing automation activities, I’ve been very aware of the impact of recent cyber security events on email marketing, on both sides of the fence.

Being an avid photographer, angler and technologist, I belong to many groups and am the recipient of many marketing campaigns, many of them generated by marketing automation systems.

In my professional role of implementing Microsoft CRM and marketing systems I also see the world through the eyes of the marketers, help and assist with implementing the platform, and work closely with the related CRM data used in these campaigns.

Then all of a sudden along comes the big bad wolf. “WannaCry” malware has had an impact on the whole spectrum of e-mail based marketing automation activities. And again I find myself looking at this from both sides of the fence. There is a little bit of mistrust, often overdramatized by the press, but there is certainly a risk out there.

I open e-mails on my phone, my tablet, my work PC and my home computer, and probably like most people I skim the marketing material that I receive unless I have a particular interest and want to drill down – there is just too much content to read it all. But we are now cautioned to not open unknown e-mails or click on links we don’t recognize. Very good advice, but one can slip very easily, and the hackers often front the e-mails with names we know and trust.

These hackers make it more difficult for marketers to get information to me, as I might just be over cautious and ignore them, or even worse hit the spam button (when it is not spam) and then I stop receiving these e-mails.

From the other side of the fence, my customers are not happy, as their outbound campaigns can be hamstrung by a large event. I would imagine that any campaign distributed at the same time as this last worldwide malware attack would be severely impacted, which will have a direct impact as the returns of these campaigns may not be as high as expected.

Marketing automation, especially e-mail marketing using a nurture program to send out content or links based on background activities, or relating to data and customer interaction, may need to cater for “pausing” the program or branch activity should there be another world event. Email isn’t the only channel. CRM systems can produce mail merged documents that can be personalised, printed, folded, inserted into envelopes and posted.

Protecting your customer data and lists so that unscrupulous hackers do not gain access and use your lists to spam your customers should be a priority. And yet again as I sit on my personal side of the fence, I don’t want my monthly camera newsletter to stop, I want updates from my fishing club, and am happy to click on the links that they provide.

My original blog was going to be about deep predictive analytics in relation to marketing automation, and then this recent malware story broke. I’ll return to predictive analytics next time, and in the short term I’m expecting that the good guys will start to outsmart the faceless hackers in masks so we can all get back to normal.

 

 

Marketing Automation: the importance of data and process April 22, 2016

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, Marketing Automation, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft CRM 2016.
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Giving a speech

I was recently invited to present a paper at the Marketing Automation Summit held in Auckland. This was a perfect opportunity for me to refresh myself on all the marketing automation capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

My given subject was “Tracking Progress and Hitting targets on time.”

A common thread across all of the sessions emphasised that “data” and “process” were  pivotal for successful Marketing Automation.

Underpinning all marketing automation efforts, irrespective of the sector, are robust CRM systems where customer data is housed, used, nurtured and updated. Unfortunately many organisations do not have the data quality they need to be effective. In my presentation I tackled this subject head-on, focusing on:

  • Best practices for data and processes
  • Time intensive tasks
  • Using marketing intelligence and analytics

No longer just a nice to have, good internal data ownership – encompassing best practices, structures, specific responsibilities and compliance – is now a business requirement. The position of Chief Data Officer is becoming more prevalent.

Microsoft CRM workflows can be set up to automate tasks, making those time intensive repeatable activities run automatically.

I took some time to outline that communication is very important when implementing marketing campaigns, all role players need to understand their responsibilities especially where many people are involved in the process. The campaign module of Microsoft CRM is an ideal place for recording important items and communications that all members of the team may need to access.

I always like to make reference to case studies when I give a talk in this format, and I shared some details about a large retail organisation that had used their customers e-mail address as the primary key on their data. They now have lots of duplicates in CRM mainly due to many people using different e-mail addresses when they visited the store each time. A mobile phone number may have been a better option.

Another case study I mentioned involved a business where the switchboard operator turned away potential customers as she was not really aware of the full product offering, No one had shared the details of the marketing campaign with her about the new product range.

We are all very much aware of that the subject of data science is growing within a number of industries, where the role of the data scientist is no longer a luxury it is now becoming a necessity. The following link is instructive: https://www.theta.co.nz/news-blogs/tech-blog/data-science-more-than-just-analysis

Your CRM system may well have a mine of very useful information that can be harnessed by a data scientist to give insights into your marketing automation efforts.

The truth about dashboards

Airliner Dashboard

I shared a picture of a flight deck on a commercial airliner which is probably the ultimate in engagement models. Any red light showing on this dashboard gets immediate and focussed attention.

I asked the question, how many managers are trained to work with existing company dashboards? Are there check lists available to identify what constitutes a red light in the business? And are your managers trained to react appropriately. (As is the case in the airline industry).

The standard dashboards in Microsoft CRM along with the capabilities of Power BI can deliver very effective visual information for users and managers..

So when considering setting up a Marketing Automation system get your data in order, manage your processes and above all listen to the market. Be flexible and be prepared to make changes to your campaigns on the fly as you keep looking at everything.

And…..“Keep your eye on those red lights”.

 

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