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MarketingSherpa Webinar Archive

Marketing Automation: Key challenges a global information company overcame to transform from batch-and-blast to persona-driven email marketing

Daniel Burstein, MECLABS, and Byron O'Dell, IHS



In this MarketingSherpa webinar replay, watch Byron O'Dell, Senior Director of Demand Management, IHS, explain how his organization transformed from batch-and-blast email sends to persona-driven email campaigns.

Recorded at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, O'Dell and Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, discussed how IHS overcame three major challenges to provide relevant content to email subscribers.

IHS saw massive increases in clickthrough rates and more high-quality leads from testing and optimizing its email marketing efforts.

This campaign earned IHS a Best in Show in Lead Generation in MarketingSherpa Email Awards 2014, presented by ExactTarget.


Download the slides to this presentation

Related Resources

MarketingSherpa Email Awards 2014, presented by ExactTarget — complimentary PDF download of all the award-winning campaigns

B2B Email Marketing: How a publishing company used marketing automation to increase CTR 1,112%

Marketing Automation: 200% increase in lead volume for software company after implementation

Marketing Automation: Implementation drives $550,000 in net new revenue at Crain's




Video Transcription

Daniel Burstein: Byron, I want to say congratulations, this is a fantastic effort.

Byron O'Dell: Well, thank you very much. Thank you.

Burstein: Very worthy of the best interest, and now me and Byron are really going to dive into this effort and see why it won best in show and see what you can learn to make your own efforts more relevant. So, first of all, Byron, I wanted to ask you about the team behind this effort.

O'Dell: Sure. Yeah, well, we know that all great marketing programs begin with great people, right? And I'm fortunate here to represent a good group of IHS marketers. Specifically, I have two colleagues, Penny Caroll and Jim Scanlon, that are in the audience today. I think this program represents a collection of a lot of people coming together and willing to do things a little differently.

Burstein: Yeah, I understand the team back at IHS are actually live streaming this around the globe right now, and the team back at IHS is watching, too, right?

O'Dell: Yeah, I do understand that myself and to all those folks, thank you very much for all the work you've done and all the work they will do together.

Burstein: So, to help you understand this case study, let's talk for a second about IHS, and the really interesting thing about lead-gen marketers, B2B marketers, there are some big huge brands that you might not have heard of if you're not in that industry. So, since we've been working for about a month on this with Byron and since then I've read The Wall Street Journal, reading an article about oil and gas and I see IHS quoted. I'd never noticed them before. I see an article about the car industry, I see IHS quoted. So, IHS seems everywhere and I've never noticed it before.

O'Dell: That's right. Yeah, it is a large company, about $2 billion that most people are not that familiar with. So, IHS is really a global information, analytics and insight company and we do that with over 2,600 people, experts in industries working in 140 offices around the world that put their heart and soul to studying industries, all the major industries that industry cares about.

Burstein: And for this specific case study we're going to talk about IHS Jane's Defense, which I understand is like the MarketingSherpa of the defense industry.

O'Dell: That's right. Yeah, IHS Jane's, if you're from the military or have military ties in your friends and family, then you probably know IHS Jane's. It's a 100-year-old brand and the reason people choose IHS Jane's is there's a couple key parts to it. If you are say, in military strategy and your neighboring country just got a shipment of brand new fighter aircraft like the one that's on the screen there, you might be interested in understanding, is that fighter better than the ones we currently have? Does this represent a threat? So, that's one reason why people turn to IHS Jane's. Another reason is, let's say you work for a company that builds tanks and you're saying, gosh, our tank production, we're not selling that many of them. What is the state of the world of tanks? How many of them are about to be obsoleted? And, so, what can we expect this market to do into the future? So, whether you're in industry or in the military, IHS Jane's has products that help you make critical decisions.

Burstein: Sounds like a lot of value, but probably a communication challenge to get that across. So, let's talk about the before, and this is, again, really why we chose this as a best in show case study, we think a lot of marketers are facing a similar challenge. We had a real batch-and-blast approach. You want to get into that?

O'Dell: Sure. Yeah, so, the great thing about IHS Jane's is we had a ton of traffic. We would get hundreds of thousands of people through the website per month, but few of these people would engage past just hitting the top level and bouncing off and we really needed a way to turn all that traffic into more qualified leads and to continue that conversation with people after they engaged.

Burstein: So, now, when you hear what Byron and what his team did, you're going to hear a lot of buzzwords, right? A lot of great buzzwords like automation, marketing automation, persona, segmentation, nurturing. What have those buzzwords really meant to your company, what have they meant to your team?

O'Dell: Well, I mean, we can see it on the slide, after we're going to go through some of the specifics that we did, but in the end we were pleased to turn on a program that gave us some truly actionable personas. We're able to have a better alignment with Sales and, in the end, delivering better quality leads that are turning into revenue for the sales team and ultimately, that's the measure of a successful marketing program.

Burstein: So, let's look at that success. We're going to use the Stephen Covey Principle to begin with the end in mind and give away the ending look at the results.

O'Dell: Exactly.

Burstein: So, amazing increases in clickthrough. Over 1000% on one of the touches, but even more impressive, higher quality leads.

O'Dell: Exactly, and so we can see that the clickthrough rate was fantastic and certainly exceeded our expectation in terms of how well we were engaging with this audience, but was really the homerun, you know, and ultimately the measure of a marketing program is how much revenue it's contributing. If we look at how much net new business marketing was generating for the business in the first half of the year. Then we turned on this IHS Jane's insider program that we're happy to talk about today and look at the contribution we're making to IHS Jane's net new revenue in the second half of the year, we're pleased to say we've almost doubled that number and that is really exciting.

Burstein: Now that you understand why you should listen to Byron, obviously a very successful case study, let's talk about what you can learn from this. So, the challenge we faced when we put this together is we only have 30 minutes today, we wanted to figure what can we best teach you in 30 minutes that you can learn for your own company, which is probably different or maybe similar to IHS that you can take back. We can't really give this case study justice in 30 minutes, it would take three hours, but we can talk about three major challenges his team had to overcome to move from batch and blast to automated, persona-based marketing, and lessons they learned that you can use as well, and that begins with keeping the rocket fueled. You want to talk about what you mean by that, Byron?

O'Dell: Sure. What we're talking about here is just recapping the challenges we had. We had great traffic, but we weren't converting it. We had great brand recognition. So, we decided we needed to step back and take a look at this and we realized the types of conversations that we needed to have we probably weren't going to be able to construct manually. So, it quickly led us into a discussion about automation.

Burstein: Yeah, why automation? So, the tough thing about these case studies is we know the ends, right?


O'Dell: Well, automation, there's a few reasons why we probably want to get into it, but most specifically we did not have enough resources to execute everything we wanted to do in a manual way. I mean, automation really was the answer for us. We wanted to try to send the right content at the right time to the right person and if you have an army of people, pun intended, then you could probably do that, you could probably keep up with that for a while, but most people don't have those types of resources. So, it was really about, let's monitor behavior and let's send the right content at the right time and it's for sure started to pay off.

Burstein: So, not only did we ask Byron, "OK, what marketers should use automation?" We also asked, "What marketers should not use automation?" and this kind of brought out the comedian in him.

O'Dell: Yes. Exactly. So, a little tongue and cheek on the slide there, but the net result is that batch and blast approaches are great if you're happy with your results there, but if you're not happy with your results, and I think most marketers strive to do better, you're going to struggle to get different results if you keep doing the same batch and blast type campaigns. So, also, if you have budget in people, you can probably overcome this problem for the short time, but you're not going to be able to solve it for the long time. And finally, if you're a person that believes the Internet is a fad, then probably that's not something that marketing automation is your primary objective right now.

Burstein: So, let's get into that next challenge. Getting the right content to the right people. So, let's focus on the people first. So, here's how you did it, here's how other marketers can do it, you started with a persona, you started with getting the right people in the room together, to define some primary persona. So, talk to me about how you decided who to get into that room and some of the decisions you made to understand who your customer was.

O'Dell: Well, sure. I mean, it starts with something obvious. We need to get the right marketing folks and the right product management folks together and we knew we needed the sales and the voice of the customer as well, but it's sometimes more difficult to get the sales in the room, right? They have quotas, they have responsibilities, and so what we did initially is we got the marketing and product management folks in the room and we said, "What types of people are buying our products?" And we supplemented that with data looking at what types of titles are we actually seeing in terms of net new deals, you know, what type of person in these companies is buying?

So, with the intuition of the marketing and product management folks and the titles that we were actually seeing coming through on the CRM system, we came up with this theory, we came up with these six groups of personas that we thought would likely be the ones that we wanted to target. What we did is, on the next slide there, we took that to the sales team. Now, fortunately, the sales team did not say, "You missed one, Rambo is a key part and priority." So, that was good that they didn't think we needed to target that individual, but specifically, if you look at the green areas of that slide, those are the six that we said, "Gosh, these are the ones that we really think can make a difference for us going forward." But the interesting feedback from the sales team was, "Hey, we generally agree with the six, but we think you're missing something, we think there's some granularity within each of those six that you need to be paying attention to." So this led us to this discussion of, we probably need six primary personas and then, where appropriate, we need some other personas underneath that to explain, because the goal here is to drive to a unique way they buy. A unique challenge they have, and a unique way the IHS Jane's product line can solve that. So, we didn't need to try to get people under these buckets.

Burstein: Yes, excellent. I want to challenge one thing you said because when you talked about Sales, you called them the voice of the customer.

O'Dell: Well, I was talking about two separate pieces.

Burstein: OK. Because it sounds like

O'Dell: Sales and research to get voice of the customer.

Burstein: OK. Because it sounds like what you did here with marketing, you're helping become the voice of the customer.

O'Dell: Right.

Burstein: You're really respecting the email address you're getting and trying to send the most the most relevant information to those people.

O'Dell: That's exactly right. I think you can get some of that voice of the customer unbiased if you look in your CRM system. If you see the names of the people that responded that turned into business, that is a very clear voice of the customer, right there as well.

Burstein: And then you defined the secondary personas as we talked about, and so once you have those buyer personas, then that helps shape your segmentation model.

O'Dell: That's right. That's right. And so this led us to the discussion of, OK, so, the blessing and the curse. We now know we have to support these six, but now what are we going to do about it? That led us into the discussion about, "Well, now that we know, how are we going to talk to these six people differently, or these six groups of people differently?"

Burstein: How many here have clear buyer personas for their email campaigns?

O'Dell: A decent amount.

Burstein: So, you've figured out the right people. Now, you've got to get the right content to them. So, first, I think in talking to you this is going to make all the other marketers feel better, who have a challenge in trying to get that right content. You are a content company, like we talk about IHS Jane's, you publish content, and yet you struggled in getting that content.

O'Dell: Absolutely. Yeah, and I think it was when I was fortunate to join IHS two and a half years ago now, I said, 'Oh, this is marketing in IHS, this is going to be fantastic. We are a content company, I will never lack for content again'. Guess what? It's the same challenge every company has. There's the cobbler's children have no shoes, right? There's everything and it's all geared towards making our customers more successful, but what we'll see as we go through this, we have a lot of content that if you say, 'Boy, I think I know who Jane's is and I think I want to understand that report.'

We have a lot of content. We can start free trials and demos and samples and all this stuff, but if you're earlier in the buying process and you're not sure whether you want Jane's or not, or you're not sure why Jane's is better than company ABC, we didn't have a lot of that early buying stage content, and so that was something we had to identify.

Burstein: Well, let's be frank. Another bigger challenge you produced for yourself, by going from batch-and-blast, to targeting specific personas, you needed more content, right? Because you had to have content for each persona.

O'Dell: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, so we exacerbated the problem, certainly, by choosing to market in six different ways.

Burstein: Made it harder for yourself. So, then, this was another really interesting tip you gave, you said, "Content takes much longer to build than technology for a multi-touch lead nurturing program." So, I think, sometimes marketers are really challenged. Oh, there's technology involved, but really the content is where you've got to focus.

O'Dell: Well, that's exactly right. We're doing a round table on this later today, so I'd love to get the feedback in the group about this, but my perspective after going through this several times is that it's not the technology. Now, you need to have some marketing automation platform to do, I think, some of the things we're talking about here, but having that alone is not necessarily the barrier.

You know, don't mistake having a marketing automation platform, for having a process because they're two different things. We all have CRM systems that we've installed and we've stood back and say, 'Well, how come revenue's not bigger? How come sale cycle's not bigger? How come, you know, my cycle time's not faster?' And the reality is, it is what you make of it. A CRM system is just a box and if you choose to fill it with your old processes, you're going to get the old results. If you choose to fill it with new processes that are optimized for the buying behaviors, then you can expect to get different results. It's really important to understand. But all that said though, Daniel, all that said, we did find out that we could probably build a marketing automation system faster than we could go fill gaps in content. So it became a priority to go find that content soon. Because we knew from the time you give me all the content, to the time my team can turn on a program, is a couple weeks, maybe. But if you're missing content from the beginning, you can't even start that process.

Burstein: I think that's a really key takeaway for everyone, too. I mean, make sure you have that content lined up. Like you said, you can't just build this machine, you have to have something that you're putting through that machine to make it all work.

O'Dell: That's right. Yes.

Burstein: So, this is Email Summit. Let's take a look at what some of these emails looked like. Can you tell us what we're looking at here? This is day eight in the multi-touch campaign.

O'Dell: Sure. So, we're going to go through a bigger campaign flow a little later, but specifically what you're looking at here is those three screen shots on the left there are the exact same. A person would only get one of those three. But if we don't necessarily know who you are or you said you're kind of a general persona, you get the top one.

If you've told us that, "Hey, I'm specifically interested in this type of persona," then we customize that text in the yellow to start talking to you in a different way and if, for example, you came in from another campaign, right? Like all of us, we're not running one campaign at a time. Most of us have multiple campaigns going on and guess what? Some of the things we're promoting over here might be relevant to this audience, too. So, we needed a way that if we're, for example, saying "IHS on a macro level, can help you manage risk" and you didn't complete that process, you never quite got to sales on the risk track, we wanted a place to tip you into. If you said that you were a defense company, we wanted a place to tip you into this program, too, so we could talk about, "Hey, we're putting you in this program because this program is another way to help you understand and manage risk." So, it was about tying not only who they said they were, but where they came from into dynamic content.

Burstein: And helping them understand why they're getting that email, right?

O'Dell: Exactly. Exactly, and if you can zoom in, if you read in the screen, it says, "Over the next four weeks we're going to talk to you about how we can help you." The feedback we got is customers and prospects really like that. They like the fact of they know what's next. Four weeks, you're going to be talking to me more than you normally do, and it's because I did this, I filled out a form, I entered a program. So, that was, I think, an important step that if we're just honest with people from the beginning about what's going on, they're not surprised when we're back every week.

Burstein: It sounds like you're talking to them in a very human voice as well.

O'Dell: Exactly.

Burstein: So, then you also had to create content around the value proposition for becoming a customer. So, it sounds like previously, there's a lot of assumed value that people should know why they should become a customer of Jane's Defense, but you really zoomed in on that value proposition.

O'Dell: Well, exactly. I mean, obviously that's where the rubber meets the road there on the value proposition where they're making a financial decision to move forward. As we mentioned before, we had a lot of stuff that was, "Hey, here's the demo, here's the free trial, here's the sample report." But we did need to do some creation in terms of some stuff upstream.

Burstein: Yeah, and so, for example, I think you gave a report to show them what they'll actually be getting, right?

O'Dell: Exactly, and this was one of these controversial decisions that many of you guys face is that the folks in the company says, "You can't give that away, that costs thousands of dollars. If we give it away, we won't be able to sell it," and the reality is, well, they're probably not going to move forward unless you tell them what they're missing. So, what we found is that as we expose people to the quality of information that we offer, that was the biggest testimonial we could say, "Well, here is actually what you're going to be getting if you become a customer" and that resonated very well.

Burstein: And that's another challenge many marketers face with content marketing is they don't want to give away too much for free. Keep in mind, you're giving that away, you weren't giving that for nothing, right? You were giving it for more interest in the company.

O'Dell: That's right. That's right. Exactly, and this only happens on three weeks into the program. We do not, fifteen minutes after you fill out the first form, offer you this. This is three weeks into your journey that we're starting to offer you some assets that are very important to us.

Burstein: And then, lastly, continue that conversation, right? So, you had this multi-touch nurturing program set up, but it didn't end there when that was over, right?

O'Dell: Exactly. We think even the most successful program is not going to engage 100% of the people, right? Some people just go away. They get their needs met, the challenge goes away. Not everybody's going to complete your sales cycle, you know, in the way that you want, but we didn't want to just let those people go. So, we found there's a way that we could even repackage some of our content. We would find something that's relevant to you and, every month, send it to you, and the concept behind the two emails on the screen here is everybody that meets that persona gets the email on the left there, but only those people who actually view the report get the email on the right. So, we weren't really peppering an entire day today to start this live demo when they're not really interested, right? We're only talking to the people that actually saw interest in the report, read the report, then they get the follow-up email a few days later to start the live demo and we saw great conversion between those two steps.

Burstein: And if you can't see the call-to-action he's talking about, it is get a live demo after they read the paper, and that, as we talked about, the higher quality leads that sales is getting, that must be one of those reasons why, right?

O'Dell: Well, exactly, I mean, there's nothing ambiguous about that call-to-action. I mean, the customer's not, I wonder what happens next, right? I mean, if you click that, they're going to be contacted by a sales person and those are the people that Sales wants to talk to. So, yeah, it very much drove the higher quality of leads.

Burstein: Now, let's talk about another challenge one of you might face. When you think about automation we think of technology and that's obviously a big piece of it, but there's also, as you were saying, the culture behind it. It's just a box.

O'Dell: Yeah.

Burstein: So, it's getting to how you helped shaped that culture. So, first of all, you had to set up these automated drip campaigns which we're going to look at in a second, but a really key point your team made was, just because you were doing these automated nurture tracks doesn't mean you stop batch and blast, you just started doing batch and blast smarter because you knew more about the customer.

O'Dell: Exactly, and we're going to talk about how we started gathering more information on prospects then we ever could. So, even though some of our methods were still batch, they were much more targeted because we understood who we were talking to and what type of a role they had in an organization and, in many levels, now their secondary persona. So, this batch, instead of there being, "Here's 10,000 people, gosh, I hope it's interesting to somebody," now this batch is 200 people or 500 people that we know fit this profile. So, obviously, the tighter your batch, the more controlled, the more homogeneous those batches are, partnered with a relevant message, of course, you're going to get higher opening click rates.

Burstein: Yeah. So, it's clearly not just about the technology, it's about really learning about the customer and the technology can sometimes help with that as it does here. Can you just briefly go over how your nurturing tracks work?

O'Dell: Absolutely. So, we start with the red box there at the top, a welcome email. So, within fifteen minutes of you hitting the database you get a welcome email, which basically says, "Hey, stay in touch with us," with some social media links. Then after that we start this journey of four touches, one per week, in which we take you through the process of kind of introducing us and then kind of introducing some case studies and, ultimately, asking them to take part in a demo. What we see is a lot of people took great advantage of that purple area, but not everybody did. We saw a lot of people still, four weeks later, never really engaged again. So, week five and six and each month thereafter, we would start to talk to them about a more macro topic to just try to see who's still interested, and it was the week five and six and the monthly program that I think makes this interesting because we don't give up on somebody. There's always an opportunity to keep the engagement going.

Burstein: Then you just keep providing more value to them, right?

O'Dell: Exactly. Exactly. Because if it's not selling, it's not, "Hey, get this demo," it's, "Hey, here's a report about something that just happened in China or this satellite imagery," these are relevant breaking news topics that are interesting, that somebody in that industry would probably be curious about. Now, we use that opportunity, if you're interested in that, to give you an opportunity to see a demo and see this stuff in real time.

Burstein: So, now, if you are interested in forms, I mean, Byron's team is amazing with forms. You're going to get some great tips here. So, obviously, when you created this persona information as we talked about with that meeting, you actually had to find a way to change the culture in the way you do forms and capture that information. So, let's look at one of these forms, how you captured the information to fuel those personas.

O'Dell: Yeah, you know, early in the process we said, we really don't know how to talk to you unless you tell us what persona it was, and that led us to the conversation of how in the world are we going to know what persona it is? You can't go buy a list of everybody who's a strategic planner, right? You know, not an accurate one, anyway. So, we made the tough decision that we're just going to ask you. Every single thing that you ask for on IHS.com that's related to Jane's Defense, we're going to ask you, "Tell us which of these six personas you are." That was a controversial because that adds a field, that adds friction, and then it was like, what are you going to do with it once you get it? Fortunately, we had something to do with it once we knew it.

Burstein: Yeah, and speaking of that in friction, I think people are worried about their forms, making them too long, so they don't add more friction, but they need to get information to Sales, and you have a lot of really interesting ways to reduce that friction, but still to get a lot of information from the customer. I think you called this the tip of the iceberg.

O'Dell: Yeah, it's kind of the iceberg form. So, this is, there's a few companies that do this and we partner with one of them very successfully, is what we do is we use a combination of your IP address when you hit that form and the domain that you set in your email to guess what company we think you're with. When you get to that company name on our form, we present you a list of options. Like, for example, Lockheed Martin in this case, and so once the person clicks Lockheed Martin, to them it looks like, I can't quite read it from here, six, seven fields, right? It's a pretty low-friction form, I think we'd all agree, but what's actually happening behind the scenes is we write about 20 other fields through the database as soon as they pick Lockheed Martin. We write a structured company name so it's always the same way every time, we write full address, phone number, we write annual sales industry, employee size. You could imagine how, as a marketer, this becomes incredibly powerful. Now only do I know what persona the person is in, I have fully structured data about what company they work for and this allowed us to get extremely creative with our next touch, or even our batch and blast methods if we want to.

Burstein: With a small ask on the part of the customer.

O'Dell: Absolutely. Yeah, I think most people see that and they say, "Oh, that's weird, I wonder how they knew that," but, what do you do? You click it and you move on, right? Behind the scenes, we capture all this information and it's made a significant difference.

Burstein: That's excellent. So, then, obviously, the way this will actually work, we'll just show you briefly, is the emails had, as we showed before, those were customizable templates where you can just change in for the different personas the content you were using.

O'Dell: Exactly. Yeah, what's clever about the structure that we set up here is the yellow boxes are all dynamic. That is one e-mail that the system decides to either add or not add that yellow text depending on their source and who they said their persona was.

Burstein: And that, as you mentioned earlier, really helps with the human resource constraints, the not having enough people around.

O'Dell: Yeah, I mean, to manage, I mean, let's say you didn't like that email and you wanted to change it. You'd have to change it in six places, right? If they were individual, otherwise in the database you change it once.

Burstein: Yeah. And so this is another great form lesson for everybody. So, again, we want to put those long forms, the great thing about a multi-touch strategy and continuing to communicate and deliver value is you don't have to ask everything at once. So, you use progressive profiling very well. We see there, before and after you started with progressive profiling, how much shorter your opt-in is right now, right?

O'Dell: Yeah, exactly. We made, I think, on the next slide we say we went from 15 down to seven, and so if you want to get a sense, "Well, how did that help you?" Over 50% improvement in form conversion rate on these forms.

Burstein: Another quick lesson you mentioned. So, you said when you changed how you ask for email address in the form, you got better email addresses.

O'Dell: Yes. Yes. Yeah, what we saw before is originally this form had said just email address, and what we were getting was email addresses. Yahoo, Live, Gmail, right? And so we said, "Well, we can't stop you from entering those, so let's just call it the business email address, right?" All we did was change the label and although we still get some, I'm not saying we stopped it entirely, the percentage of people that actually gave us their business email went up. So, here's a simple change that I'd offer to everybody. Call it business email right on your form and you might start getting more business emails if that's what you're interested in collecting.

Burstein: So, the way the progressive profiling works is all that content you were sending out was gated so people would have to hit forms and spill out more information. So, can you give us an example of some of the additional asks that you had? So, here's more persona information?

O'Dell: Yes. So, one of the things I think that was clever about how we started the program, was that, if we know everything about you, the form that you would get to, and we never put a form in front of you until week three, you went to the database, in most cases because you filled out a form, and that was all the information we needed for the first couple weeks, but starting on week three we started putting assets in front of you that were more important to us. So, if you would come to this form three weeks in or so, everything on this form would be filled out except for the right-hand bottom side where it says, "Tell us about the secondary persona." We thought asking for your primary and secondary persona on the first day, we thought that was a little much, but we thought asking for your secondary persona three weeks in, that was appropriate, and when in most cases the entire form is filled in except that for that one field, people 50% of the time were giving it to us.

Burstein: Yeah, it's as Flint was talking about this morning, I mean, that email is a continuing conversation with people, you don't have to grab everything at once. Here's another example where you're using auto-fill for the info you already knew and in this time you're asking for address, I think?

O'Dell: Exactly. Now, most cases, we may know that, and in some cases it may want to be our IP triggered that populated that field, but when you get to this form, it probably means when you click that button you're about to go to the sales person. You're going to become a lead, and so it's important that we have good contact information from you at that point, but only at that point. We don't need your address on day one, but we need your address in order to get you to the right sales person.

Burstein: Absolutely, and the last lesson is test, test, test, right? So, you were really clear about you've got to get this out the door, you've wanted to get things moving, you didn't want to wait too much, but you didn't just stop there, now you're continually trying to test and optimize.

O'Dell: Absolutely, and we said there's a couple tests that we did just in this week. We had a couple places where we said, "Download the presentation." Now, we're changing that on the fly to 'Get that presentation'. We're happy to report back on how that works. We took a look at some of our touches. There was a couple subject lines from Flint's conversations this morning that we think could be better and didn't score very well in that tester, right? And we know that's, you know, that's hit or miss, but it doesn't hurt to test, right? I mean, you never know. You don't know what you don't know, and so we have a big testing culture and we try to do that a lot.

Burstein: So, all right. Well, if you have any questions for Byron, please raise your hand. We're going to have some mikes going around, but why don't you give us your top takeaways for the audience, see what else they can learn from it.

O'Dell: Well, I think the first thing I'd offer is kind of the first and last bullet points there, is that it is a three-legged stool. It's about the right content to the right person at the right time, and it's difficult to execute that in any long term way without some level of automation, and so I am a huge proponent of those. I'm tool agnostic, but I think automation is certainly something that can help you make some huge strides in your organization. The last point that I would jump to there is, the point is that I think one of the things that I get more animated about is when we wait, we wait to turn something on until we have the perfect piece of content. We turn that on and we kind of get lack-luster results, and it's like why didn't we just start with the 80% good enough' because it's this whole idea, if you have something as long as it doesn't have typos, and it has good grammar and it supports the brand, what's the risk of turning it on?

Just turn it on, see how the customers react to it and now if you go to turn on the one that, you know, go from like an 80% good to a 95% good thing, well now you can measure the difference, now you can tell if the asset was worth it. What you might find out is that the 80% one has some staggering clickthrough rates and you can go spend your time working on another asset, you know, that maybe wasn't a priority for you.

Burstein: You're bringing down the house, Byron.

O'Dell: That's fantastic. Look at that.

Burstein: Any questions from the audience? So, we have one right there in the middle. I think we're going to have a mic on number two.

Email Summit Attendee: What about the creep factor? When a user is imputing their company name and it automatically populates and then a couple of weeks later you're showing that you already know they're address, do people drop off at that point because they're kind of freaked out about the technology?

O'Dell: No, we haven't seen that. I mean, I can tell you that our conversion rates on those forms are, in most cases, well north of 50%, and it's a choice. I think in that example that we had on the screen, it's going to say, "We think you were at one of these five companies," and I think most people feel like the company they work for, especially if you told me, for example, "I work at ford.com." The fact that I would put up a list of "Which Ford specifically do you work at?" I think most people wouldn't be turned off on that. We haven't seen any falloff downstream in the program as a result of that. What we continue to see is people are more likely to fill out the forms because we're not asking for as much information later in the process.

Burstein: I think we have on behind you there, too.

Email Summit Attendee: What vendor are you using to do that back-end population for those forms?

O'Dell: We are using demand-based.

Burstein: Any other questions? We've got one back there.

Email Summit Attendee: How long did it take you to set up the process? So, from deciding that you needed to set up personas to actually releasing a campaign.

O'Dell: Gosh, you know, it takes longer, but the gating on them really was the content. The actual structure about, we think we want to do these four touches, or five touches, and we think we generally want to take people down this path. We largely arrived at those decisions within a month or so in terms of conceptually how we wanted to do it. The issue was we have all these holes, some early stage content holes that we knew we needed to fill before we turned it on to be sure we had the right program. So, adding those cycles in, it took several months more to get those pieces of content in place.



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