Decision by committee doesn’t work for marketing organizations. Social newsfeeds are moving too fast, branded content campaigns are too competitive, and email volume—forget it. If you’re not leveraging automation and targeting to talk to your online communities and consumers, you’re already losing. Creating a hybrid marketing machine (as in humans capitalizing on automation) requires real work but it’s in a positive, forward direction. To persist with decision-making by committee—as has been the lifeblood of hard-to-quantify marketing of old—is not only antiquated but it’s simply creating work for your people that gets you nowhere. While you may not be drowning, you’re treading water and that doesn’t help your bottom line regardless of if you’re selling page views or products.
The power of automation lies in constraints. With thoughtful planning based on actionable intelligence a marketing team can set evolving parameters through which their communications are created. Meaning they can keep up with the fluid scale and personalization required for engaging today’s audiences.
Create a parallel between a constraint-driven approach to marketing decisions and how your overall business is growing in terms of talent and geography. We all know many roles are becoming more specialized and true talent is valuable regardless of its location. Businesses are embracing this change to varying degrees. Nimble, results-driven organizations are benefiting from the creativity and loyalty derived from empowering disparate employees through modern technology while others are having mixed results as they try to centralize those employees in arbitrary hubs while requiring those hubs to stay in constant contact.
Technology enabled constraints drive results—period. That applies to people as much as it applies to marketing. The most asinine approaches to marketing that we see are those that demand top-down creative approval over every version of every email that goes out or every homepage revision. That kind of thinking is an unbeatable handicap with the sophistication emerging amongst consumers. These same companies can quite easily dictate creative constraints and allow for different versions of materials across marketing channels through technologies that can truly learn and iterate over the lifetime of each customer.
Today, brands must market to the behavior of their audience, not to the audience they want them to be. You wouldn’t hire someone who says they like working from home to commute into an office 45 minutes away just as you shouldn’t suggest content to a user that they’ve already consumed through another interaction with your brand. The only way to achieve this personalization at scale is through automation and behavioral awareness. Don’t be an approvals dictator; dictate constraints and enjoy the wave of creativity, brand loyalty, and ROI that technology can set free.
Neil Capel is CEO and cofounder of Sailthru.