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MAP + Me

By Brandon Lee on Jan. 23, 2015

Technology Marketing Automation

With 30-odd years of experience being a human, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes with varying degrees of consequence.

Color outside the lines in preschool? No big deal. 

Watch one more episode of Breaking Bad at 3am? Better not be a work night. 

Forget to sign out of Facebook on a friend’s computer, well, let’s just say I’m glad it wasn’t Tinder.

The good thing is, I can watch for bad habits, learn from my mistakes, and move closer to the kind of life and career I want to live.

I wish I could say the same about my marketing automation platform.

Marketing Automation Counts on Us

Marketing automation platforms (MAPs) improve the quality, accuracy and precision of a your digital marketing environment. MAPs can be always-on. Humans cannot. Imagine if every time a marketing qualified lead came in you had to manually log in to your laptop and send an alert email to the account owner. Mistakes would be made and things would slip through the cracks.

A properly configured MAP takes these small but crucial tasks off our hands. And more. Setting up your ecosystem to eliminate all human touch points is the noble goal. Let the computers handle what they’re designed for. They are better at it.

That’s why everyone knows they need a MAP solution now. But not everyone knows that the MAP solution needs us just as much. If you don’t know how you’re going to measure success, how will you optimize midstream? If an event is performing way below expectations, or way above them, why is that? What if a lead shows buying interest but and he’s already gone with the competition by the time your sales team can respond?

Humans need to monitor the situation and, if need be, implement optimizations to help things run smoother. Continuous testing and fine tuning are where MAPs and humans both win the day.

We Make MAP More Human

Watching and learning aren’t the only ways that we make MAP more marvelous. Automation should be used to enhance the human experience, not replace it. For example, I create an email, my litmus test is “Would I actually read this?” One of the key factors that I consider is the amount of personalization. The more an email feels written for me, the more likely it’s going to get read. 

These are some of the things I scan to determine if I’ll read an email:

  • From name – Is it from a name that I recognize or even an actual name at all? If the From name has reference to Service, Support, No-reply or anything of the sort, it’s going straight to the trash.

  • Personalized greeting – Starting a message off with Dear Customer is just about as cold as it gets. If you want me to read your email, at least try to start a conversation with me.

  • Too many graphics – Most of the important emails I get don’t start with a message that says “Do you want to download all of the pictures in this email?” Graphics can help enhance an email campaign but only when used sparingly. Don’t let graphics detract from your message.

  • Broken design – If things look out of place or hard to read on mobile, don’t expect someone to work through an email and try to figure out what you want from them.

Personalization isn’t limited to inserting a customer’s first name or using dynamic content. Some of the best email results that I’ve seen use an HTML design that replicates a plain text email. Sometimes scaling back and sticking to the basics may be exactly what is needed to cut through the noise. Humans are humans after all. We want to be talked to, not talked at.

Raise Your Fist

Each individual finger on your hand is considerably weaker without the support of the others. Same can be said about your marketing technology ecosystem, from human to MAP to website to CRM. If your marketing programs are going get more efficient, try new approaches, adapt to the market—and yes, make mistakes and learn from them—your automation needs you, human, to get it right.


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