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Marketing Automation

The Next Digital Color Print Demand Driver.

By Barbara A. Pellow

In a difficult economy, the chief marketing officer (CMO) faces both internal and external challenges. The marketing budget in corporate America typically falls victim to intense scrutiny. It’s a results-driven age, and the CMO feels intense pressure from chief executive officers, boards, shareholders, and customers to deliver measurable results.

Among 320 companies that responded to a recent CMO Council Survey, 80 percent reported being dissatisfied with their ability to show ROI from marketing initiatives. In a March 2006 Survey, Targetbase, a leading direct marketing agency in Onmicom Group’s Diversified Agency Services Division, released a survey of CMOs from 40 leading companies, including Disney, General Mills, and Whole Foods, on the intersection of marketing and corporate growth. It contains important messages for the graphic communications service provider relative to how the CMO selects media options and alternatives. According to the Targetbase Growth Survey, CMOs select marketing channels based on past results 80 percent of the time and best projected ROI 65 percent of the time. Direct-mail was seen as the most important marketing channel among those surveyed. According to the survey, consumer targeted communications is the most widely used approach to corporate growth.

The CMO is in the midst of a turbulent marketplace requiring that he deliver relevant experiences for customers with an array of different media to maximize ROI. That sounds like a tremendous opportunity for the graphic communications service provider that has recently invested in digital print technology, customization, and personalization. The survey also, however, explores CMOs expectations of their external marketing partners. One respondent answers, "It’s all about results. If I allow a bad campaign to run, I lose my job. Agencies need to realize their role and think as if they lived in their clients’ shoes."

Variable Data Isn’t Enough
In the graphics communications world, the perspective has been that delivering a more relevant message has significant value. InfoTrends, in its 2005 Variable Data Design and Production Report, identifies options including mail merge—incorporating simple name and address information to produce unique pieces for each recipient; simple one-to-one—incorporating some targeted images and text along with personalized information to produce a unique composition that is customized to a unique recipient; complex one-to-one—incorporating completely unique text images graphics, templates, content, and designs based on specific detailed profile information about each recipient; and transaction—incorporating personalized and customized content with intricate financial and account data that is automatically composed to produce data-driven documents. This data is frequently mainframe-based and the document creation process may encompass complex logic.

But now there is a new game in town. Integrated campaign management software allows marketers to select specific customers for inclusion in a campaign, filter other customers, decide which customers get which offers, decide the timing of when a customer receives certain offers, and through which channel the customer will receive the offer. Additionally, campaign management software can help detect customer responses to the campaigns and creates the output for telemarketing organizations, direct-mail fulfillment, or email offerings. As marketers face more scrutiny from the financial decision-makers of their organizations, measuring the effectiveness of marketing programs becomes more important.

Major components considered under marketing-automation are marketing analytics, which is important for companies that do not have a sophisticated data-management infrastructure. Companies that are new to data analytics want a marketing-automation tool that can generate data models. The second is integrated campaign management, another key piece of marketing automation that supports campaign design, scheduling, and execution capabilities across multiple channels, including direct-mail, email, Web, phone, fax, and event. Thirdly, real-time decision support will help marketing managers track campaigns and make tweaks on the fly in response to customer activities. The fourth is learning algorithms that track and predict customer behavior. And lastly, response management and reporting to let business managers review the results of their campaigns.

TAG Home Care
Adam D. Bishop, MBA, co-founder, TAG Home Care, a division of The ADAM Group, understood the principles associated with automated campaigns and deployed them in his quest to support marketers and recruiters in the home health care market. When Adam and Dan Bishop founded the TN-based ADAM Group six years ago, they saw home care as a significant growth market in need of marketing services to educate users as well as recruit field staff within the industry.

To meet the needs of this market, The ADAM Group established an organization comprised of former home care agency owners, administrators, graphic designers, and marketing specialists, with more than 75 years of combined home care marketing experience. They created a series of automated marketing services designed to drive referrals as well as recruit health care workers for home care agencies. The ultimate benefit for the agency is improved sales productivity for new prospect activity as well as a reduced cost for recruiting employees.

TAG Home Care works with home health care provider marketing departments to deliver customized pieces based on the demographics of the individual recipient. In the creation of the specific new patient materials, variables can include language, age, gender, ethnicity, geography, marital status, and life style.

There is a link to a personalized Web site that provides more information about the specific home care agency as well as a mechanism to gather data about the individual. TAG Home Care captures activity for additional follow-up and lead generation—all in real time. Comprehensive reports display campaign response rates, visitor patterns, and detailed lead information. Interaction is linked to the creation of leads for the home care provider.

Home care providers have similar challenges recruiting employees. There is a real shortage of health care professionals in today’s market. Armed with detailed prospect lists, TAG Home Care assists health care service providers in the identification and recruitment process. As opposed to running want ads in the newspaper or hiring executive recruiters, TAG Home Care has developed a direct-mail campaign that drives the individual into an interactive dialogue with the home care service company. The prospective employee gets a direct-mail piece reflecting his or her demographic characteristics, career interests, and potential employment relationship.

It points the individual to a personalized Web site to learn more about specific opportunities. It also entices the individual to complete a survey with an offer such as a free iPOD. This gives the health care provider the opportunity to maintain a data base of prospective future healthcare employees.

The Next Wave
As the economic power moves from the producers to consumers, the role of marketing will grow in importance.

Marketing is evolving from art to science with a heavy focus on ROI and analytics. As multi-channel marketing gains momentum, there will be more focus on accountability and the ability to prove how campaigns translate into growth and profitability. Marketers will want to optimize campaigns and improve their performance. These are times of significant change in marketing, and you can play a key role in successfully driving that change. It requires you to elevate contacts to the right level in the organization; ensure you have the right tool set in place; and deliver the right value to the client.

Dec2006, Digital Output

 
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