In part 1 of this series I reviewed the traditional goals of Marketing Automation and how to leverage those to generate brand awareness. In part 2, I am digging in on how you can use a combination of marketing automation and personalization to move your customers through the buying funnel. While this may be accomplished with a variety of tools, I will be looking at the options within the Sitecore ecosystem.

Eliciting Consideration and Interest

Coming off the heels of part 1, we now have a captured prospect within Sitecore and that prospect has been entered into a workflow in which they have received the welcome email series and first follow-up from the event. Our goal with this workflow is to drive increased interest in a product or service and more importantly to sort these prospects into affinity groups so that you can begin tailoring messages to their motivations and propensity to purchase.

In our scenario, we sent a follow-up email where they received a link to features and pricing of your produce, were offered options to visit your company blog, download a white paper, or schedule a demo.

Based on the action your prospect took with your follow-up email, you can use the collected information in Sitecore to branch your campaign out, using a simple purchase-propensity model to determine who is the highest value prospect to follow up with.

To build out this propensity model, I will start with three simple groups.

Group 1 – Awareness

  • They are aware of your company
  • They don’t know their exact problem they are trying to solve or the solution they need

Group 2 – Problem 

  • They are aware of your company
  • They have a defined problem they are looking to solve
  • They don’t know how you can provide a solution to their problem

Group 3 – Solutions

  • They are aware of your company
  • They have a defined problem,
  • They know the solution they are looking for
  • They are trying to determine if you can deliver the solution

To get the prospects into the appropriate group, we’re going to use the following criteria:

  • If the prospect clicked through to the blog but did not download the whitepaper then they will get added to Group 1.
  • If the prospect clicked through to the blog or white paper page and downloaded your white paper but did not schedule a demo then they will go into Group 2.
  • If the prospect scheduled a demo, regardless of any other interaction, then we will add them to Group 3.
marketing logic flow

Customers who don’t click any links, or don’t fill out the form/make a purchase might still be interested but just not ready. This branch of prospects should receive more information about your company, another unique use for your products, or even a customer testimonial in a follow-up message. All these options are focused on driving continued interest in your brand, and getting a prospect ready to buy. So, in the example above we have dropped them into the General nurture group.

But as I said, email isn’t the only tool we have at our disposal in Sitecore and this is where we can apply a little magic to increase the conversion potential of our prospects.

First based on the group the prospect gets placed in, we will personalize our site with messages that align with the buying stage they are in.

Our group 1 prospects will get information to help them address their pain points, and identify solutions so that we can get them to move into Group 2.

Our Group 2 prospects are going to get content focused on solutions to common problems based on the conference they attended. Highlighting personalized case studies from customers who would be a similar profile to them.

Our Group 3 prospects will get information that will focus on building credibility and rapport. They are evaluating our company, and we want to make sure they understand that we are the best positioned to deliver their solution.

We can layer other levels of personalization onto these groups if it makes sense, for example Geo-IP information if the location of our prospects will have an impact on their buying or solutions they are looking for.

All of these things are managed directly in Sitecore, and the largest benefit of this to a marketer is the ability to quickly adjust campaigns and nurture streams in a coordinated fashion. Content blocks from the website can be quickly integrated into email campaigns. Imagery from Email Marketing messaging can be used on the website only for people who click-through from the email so there is congruency in the messaging.

Converting to a customer

Our ultimate goal is to move our prospect through the Groups and continuously ladder them up to the next group when they take the appropriate actions on the website, or even in real life, potentially through contact with a sales person. Whether a prospect becomes a customer on his or her own, or through the help of a sales professional, it is important to attribute this conversion to the original campaign and source that drove them to your business so that you can track the return on investment of your marketing. It’s also time to take the customer out of the current sales cycle so that they don’t continue to receive sales messages. Instead, they should be moved to your customer focused campaigns which make sure they are receiving the level of quality and service you expect, as well as showing them additional items they could purchase to compliment what they already have.

This is just one example of a way to setup your marketing funnel using marketing automation, there are many other ways and methods you can develop specific for your business and industry. The power in Marketing Automation is about the process that takes a customer through the journey, and when you think about all the actions that you would have to take manually to achieve the same level of marketing it becomes clear why this buzzword is picking up steam.

Let me know what you think, reach out on Twitter (@zwenthe) and start a conversation.

If your organization has made the investment in Sitecore – make sure you are getting what you need out of it. If you haven’t already signed up to attend Sitecore’s annual Symposium, make it a priority & check out the latest published marketing tracks. Hope to see you there!

Zack Wenthe (@zwenthe) is a Sitecore Marketing Strategist for Quisitive, helping companies lead Digital Transformation Initiatives. He speaks and blogs about marketing technology and strategy when not working or spending time with his family.