Matthew Sweezy provides a how-to glimpse at getting started with Automated Marketing. He quite literally wrote the book on it!

By Steve Moran

I recently attended the Shine Conference, where I had the opportunity to speak with Matthew Sweezy, Principal of Marketing Insights for Salesforce. He does a lot of the primary research and thought leadership for marketing automation and what they call considered purchases, which are purchases that usually have a salesperson involved, a longer sales cycle and content. Matthew helped start one of the early marketing automation platforms, which then ended up being sold to Salesforce and he wrote the book “Marketing Automation for Dummies.”

Where Do We Even Begin

So we have all drunk the Kool Aid by now. We get that we need automated marketing. We get that it can help us. But the idea of being able to actually know what people are doing on our website, tracking them, moving forward and doing that automation process . . . where do we even begin?

“The best place that I suggest everybody starts is asking their current customers, their current prospects, and people that didn’t buy from them to start understanding what they want and how they want it.” Michael explains, “Without understanding that first it doesn’t matter what we do because it won’t be relevant to them. So the only way we can even begin to understand what programs to build is to first start with what I call user stories. So ask people what were you looking for, what was the problem you were trying to solve, what were the factors of your decision? And a lot of people think that they have this and they have personas and they may and that might be a good start but we have to understand and we have to start asking them first.”  

Looking At Our Technical Environment

Michael clarified that the second thing we need to look at is our technical environment, which he summarized into 4 simplified key pieces:

  • 1st Key — You need to have a CRM, which means a content relationship management tool, or the ability to see an individual person and a record of all things associated with that person.

  • 2nd Key — There needs to be a marketing automation platform that can then take that information and have automated executions into the marketing world, whether that be displays on the website or email copy, etc.

  • 3rd Key — You have to have an easy website that can plug these things in. As long as you have one, you’re on the right foot.  

  • 4th Key — The final piece is any other type of data sources that you may want.

The Personal Touch To Automated Relationships

One of the things that Michel talked about in his session at Shine was the importance of the customer relationship, to the point that you can actually have a relationship. He talked about Coca-Cola and how they have a relationship with hundreds of millions of people that is very personal, even though it’s obviously not. Yet, because of the personal connection created in that relationship, those people buy Coke and then they buy Coke again and again and again. However, the senior living industry is very unique in that any individual is only going to make one buy decision probably in their whole lifetime. If they do buy again, the only reason is probably because they’re mad at the first person they bought from and so they’re going to have to go buy again. So I asked Michael, “How do we create a relationship in that we’re sort of a single sale kind of thing?”

“The answer is that it’s inhuman, it’s disingenuous for us to think that we are relevant to somebody for the entirety of their life. The answer is, we’re not. We’re only relevant to this person at one very specific point in time. Our problem is to figure out who is that person, when is the correct time, and then — at that time — build that relationship very fast. The problem is that when they feel the need for relevant care for somebody, they’re going to start to investigate options and that’s when they’re going to start building relationships. Those are the relationships we’re talking about. It’s that relationship that we start when they first start investigating, start feeling the need — mother breaks a hip, whatever it may be, whatever the triggering event is — that is going to be when the relationship needs to start. We have to be able to pick up and understand how it’s contextual for us to have that relationship with them. We need to understand what type of relationship they want. We need to be able to provide that at scale.”

Michael went on to provide some excellent sales and marketing advice during the rest of our conversation. To hear more from Matthew Sweezy listen to the rest of the podcast below.

Michael was a huge hit last year and will be presenting at SMASH agin this year.  SMASH takes place in Chicago September 19-21.  You can Click Here for more information.