Marketing Automation for Retail
By David Dorf on Feb 19, 2014
Marketing automation is exactly what it says. Its software that helps marketers automate the programs used to move leads from the top of the marketing funnel to a ready-to-buy state. Rather than blast a message out to everyone, this approach fosters personalization at scale. A simple marketing program might be something like this:
- Select all females 15-25 that have visited our web site but have purchased less than $100 in the last 6 months.
- Send them an email offering them free shipping.
- If they don't accept the offer, follow-up with an 10% off in-store coupon.
- If they don't accept the second offer, try posting a friends-and-family coupon to their Facebook newsfeed.
The idea is to target small segments of customers, and automate the escalating steps necessary to entice them into buying. But Oracle is taking the concept much further. Following the acquisitions of Eloqua, Conpendium, and Responsys (which in turn recently acquired Push IO), Oracle is assembling a Marketing Cloud that serves the needs of many industries, retail included. In addition to the obvious defining and executing marketing processes, there are several things that make Oracle's marketing automation even more effective.
First, we take into account the customer's digital body language. Those are the relevant actions and reactions of customers that yield insight. Maybe the customer didn't use the offer to buy a item, but they did open the email, visit the website, and browsed several products. Those "tells" are helpful in determining next steps in the marketing process.
In this case, the next interaction might be an email containing recommended products based on those recently browsed. Messages are personalized based on the digital body language and whatever other customer demographics and psychographics that are available. Another example of this is sending an email to customers reminding them they left something in their online cart.
Multiple Data Sources
There are many ways in which to communicate with customers including email, snail mail, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Marketing uses these channels to reach customers in the ways they want to be contacted. And these channels also provide rich sources of data useful in personalization. For example, the lastest release of Eloqua includes integrations to the Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud. If a customer is very active on Twitter, then perhaps that's the best way to reach her.
What really excites me about marketing automation is the potential to extend the digital body language concept into physical stores. As mentioned previously, sensors inside stores can track customers, recording their visits in much the same way as is done on the Web. This could allow us to form a more complete profile of the customer and better understand the cross-channel impacts of marketing.