A big hello from Portland, Oregon. I interviewed Neal Schaffer on my past week’s podcast. What do you think? As I said, I am planning to juxtapose the episodes of me talking for 7 minutes at a time with guest interviews. Just want to try something new.
If there are guests that you want to hear from, please send me a quick email at email@example.com and add the questions you want to ask them. This way, I get a chance to meet new people and you get your questions answered. #winwin I am more than happy to do all the logistics to reach out.
For today, I want to talk about a topic that is not getting much of the spotlight in the marketing landscape: processes and automation workflows.
You are like: “Ugh, Pam, can you talk about something that is more sexy and fun? Like how to select creative that will pop? Or what are the tips and tricks to writing catchy headlines? How to run Facebook pay ads that will convert?” Well, if you Google those topics, you’ll find many, many outstanding blogs and videos out there that cover these topics.
One thing I do want to share with you, though: you can read forever, but at the end of the day, you need to practice and implement. That’s the best way to learn. So if you have budget and don’t want to do the work, that’s OK. Once you’ve done your reading, internalize the takeaways well enough to provide clear guidance to your agencies and the contractors so that they can do a great job for you. If you don’t want to do it, you are still responsible to convey your marketing visions and ideas clearly.
Creative, design, writing, and anything content related is what you see on the front-end. I get it.
We, marketers, tend to focus on the front-end and leave the back-end to IT and operations. However, for digital marketing to deliver a seamless customer experience, you need to plan out how the back-end will integrate with the front-end. So you cannot separate: “well front end is my job and the back-end is someone else’s job.”
For instance, when people click “contact us,” what is the next step that needs to happen? IT and operations cannot tell you that. That’s your job to figure it out. When people sign up for your app, what email notification should they receive the first hour, the 2nd day, and the 7th day. Again, IT and operations cannot tell you that. You need to figure that out.
How should their data be captured? That has a lot to do with how you are going to get your analytics. Will that be part of CRM, marketing automation, or the customer data warehouse? You need to make a decision about how the data will flow. You need to make sure that all these systems can talk to each other. For that, you need to get involved on the back-end to understand how data flows and what steps are manual or automated. You need to make that call.
I’m not saying you need to code, but you do need to design the customer experience.
You need to answer such questions as:
- When to send the registrant email out?
- When to contact the customer when they sign up for the event?
- How to further engage and nurture them after the event?
When you address these questions, you need to set up steps and process in your systems so that actions are taken when the customers act or engage. All these require some strategic thinking to ensure a smooth online experience. From on-site events or webinars to post-event follow-up, timely email outreach, to sales engagement, you need to visualize the process and pave the journey for your customers. Then you can have someone either code it or build a workflow to connect various systems to ensure it happens the way you envision.
None of this just happens magically.
It requires you to plan, think through the permutations and work on the back-end and front-end integration. I am doing that for myself and my clients. It’s tedious: testing, retesting, constantly changing the workflows, and anticipating problems. And the systems they don’t just work themselves out. Once you start going live, trust me, you run into a new set of user issues that you don’t expect. That’s the type of tedious, detailed work that no marketers want to talk about. I hate telling you this but those processes and workflows will make or break your digital marketing.
You are like, “Pam, you are stressing me out? So, what can I do?” Well, it actually depends on your job. For some of you, you probably never have to deal with the back-end. Lucky YOU! I know some content marketers just need to write the content, upload content to WordPress and check on Google Analytics. That’s it. Great!!
I also know some event marketing managers that only need to worry about everything on-site, but nothing pre- or post- events.
They have other members who will take care of that for them. Well, you know what, with no physical events at this time, many of those event marketing managers are forced to change and they need to build something online for events to work! And that something is really the back-end–sourcing the different platforms, integrating the process with a different system. It’s a lot of work!
So regardless of your current responsibilities, I strongly suggest that you make an effort to learn how marketing as a whole works in your company. Your marketing departments may run paid social, events, email campaigns, create blog posts and videos. Try to understand how everything works. Try to understand what tools are used and how they tie together (or fail to tie together.)
I encourage the marketing managers I coach to draw workflows as a way of putting their understanding of the back-end to the test. The way I see it, if you can explain your understanding in a logical flowchart, it means that you understand how things work. The biggest benefit of understanding how things work is to help connect the different dots and give you the ability to think strategically. Workflows will help you see the good, the bad, and the ugly of your digital marketing. You know where to go to get the data and you also know where the gaps are.
Yes, it’s tedious and boring, but make an effort to understand the backend. You won’t regret it.
The understanding of the processes behind-the-scenes will help you identify what you can do to improve the front and back-end together.
Again, thank you for listening to my podcast. Podcasting is one-way communication. I don’t necessarily know who you are, but your support means a great deal to me. Feel free to ask questions on my FB community: “Build Your Marketing Skills to Get Ahead.” And when you join, you can get a free Tall Starbucks on me. I added a gift card with a barcode. You can find that in the announcement page.
Again, love to hear from you. If you venture out be safe and stay healthy. Take care. Bye-bye!
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