Design a Marketing Automation Strategy Using the 3Ps Framework

The beginning of any strategy is always exciting. The world is full of possibilities, and the sky’s the limit. I want to help you turn that into reality by filling in the gaps in your plans. This post enables you to create a marketing automation strategy designed to succeed.

I’ll cover four reasons why this should be one of your top priorities this year – increased revenues, reduced costs, scalability, and personalization. Let’s jump right in.

Why Should You Automate Your Marketing Strategy?

First, let’s talk about why you should bother going through the trouble of designing a marketing automation strategy. Like any executive, you’re already incredibly busy, and new tasks should be vetted appropriately.

Increased Revenues

These increases come as a result of marketing that feels more personalized and targeted. Many of my clients’ design campaigns that address exactly what their customers care about. Instead of blasting everyone with the same content, each customer receives what they care about in the next campaign. These improvements can add up to 20% to 30% more revenue.

Reduced Costs

Think about all the time that could be saved by designing campaigns once and then running them on autopilot. This time could be spent working on new strategies and ideas. Teams that employ automation have seen their marketing overheads decrease by 12.2% and productivity increase by 14.5%

Scalability

It’s hard to figure out how to message thousands and millions of users like you would a close friend. We all hate spam, and marketing automation allows us to talk to our users while taking into account their behavior. If they have purchased multiple items, we can mention that. If they are one of our best customers, we can say that as well. Best of all, the bulk of your engineering needs are covered in the initial implementation.

Personalization

The fourth and final benefit is personalization. I covered this in the previous reasons, but don’t get caught up in the hype. We all enjoy it when we have emotional connections to the companies that we support, and these can be created with the right communication.

The benefits are clear and easy-to-understand in theory, but achieving them in practice is another story. Many projects fail because of a lack of planning, poor choices in technology, and insufficient internal support. 

Larger organizations also run into data privacy issues, political roadblocks, and high upfront costs due to their usage volume. I help you tackle all these issues in the upcoming sections.

The 3Ps of a Marketing Automation Strategy

My 3Ps framework – people, process, providers – helps businesses quickly design a strategy for any company unit, such as marketing and data. There’s no need to spend weeks and months figuring out what to do. Instead, invest time thinking through any potential issues.

3Ps by Ruben Ugarte
3Ps by Ruben Ugarte

This framework helps your team flesh out the what and how of your strategy while ensuring that you don’t miss important details that can derail your implementation.

People

The people pillar includes everyone involved in the project. It’s not enough to only think about the setup of the strategy, but you must also know who’s going to maintain it. You need marketers to design campaigns and engineers to implement and analyze the results.

Some questions to answer:

  • Who needs to be involved in this project?
  • Do you have any data privacy or compliance standards that must be addressed?
  • Who can champion this project?
  • Who could stop this project from happening?

You want to get everyone on board with this project, surface any concerns, and preemptively tackle them. This might take a few meetings, but it can solve the “unforeseen” issues that tend to arise midway through projects.

Process

The process pillar is about how you will maintain the strategy. Some questions to explore:

  • Who will design the campaigns? 
  • What resources are needed? 
  • How will results be analyzed and converted into insights? 
  • What happens if technical issues arise?
  • What will you do if a data breach takes place?

Don’t assume that your team knows what to do. If they’ve never done this successfully in the past, they may not know what it takes to set up and maintain a project of this scale. Running through these questions helps you understand if you need to hire specific resources, what training you need to provide, and whether you need external expertise.

It’s not enough to just nail the initial setup. You must consistently get better at this strategy, which means having the appropriate resources and support.

If you aren’t sure about any of these questions or are missing anything else, reach out to me. I can help your team hit the ground running with a marketing automation strategy.

Providers

Providers is the final pillar in my 3Ps framework, and it’s all about technology or software tools, which everyone loves. You’ll need several tools to message your users, track their activity, and measure the impact of your campaigns. I’ll cover the specific tools in more detail later in the post.

You should work through People and Process first because that will determine what Providers you need. Factors like your team’s technical makeup and the availability of internal resources all influence your choices in technology.

After defining your 3Ps, you’ll have your marketing automation plan. This plan won’t be perfect, but it is good enough to begin implementing it. You will tweak and hone it over time. Start by getting the right people on board, sharing this plan, and getting their input when designing processes and choosing the technology providers.

3 Automation Examples

These three examples come from my global client network across 70+ companies. While my clients are confidential, I can share a few attributes to add context to the case studies.

Example #1: Consumer Language Learning App

They implemented Segment.com and Iterable to communicate with their users. In particular, they needed to engage in communication during the users’ free trial.

Users were experiencing the product for free, and their overall experience would directly impact their bottom line. The company set up flexible workflows that educated the users on how to make the most of the product. Best of all, they could send messages through the correct channel, either email or push notifications.

Example #2: Consumer Fitness Provider

Like most other businesses in the fitness space, COVID-19 forced them to take their classes online. This meant that engaging users digitally was critical to keep their online classes “full.”

They used Mixpanel to message their users about relevant classes, where they could join and attend. These were done through email and in-app pop-ups on their website. They also used these messages to gather feedback on recently attended classes and determined which content resonated with their user base.

Example #3: Consumer Financial Startup

This consumer financial startup allows users to buy stocks through their web, iOS, or Android apps. They implemented Vero to handle their transactional email, which must be accurate and reliable due to financial regulations.

The usage of Vero allowed the product team to easily change the messages without having to bug engineers. This also gave them a foundation for setting up educational product messages across email, SMS and push notifications.

Not every marketing automation strategy has to do everything, but every strategy must solve a clear problem for your company. I see companies that want to do everything under the sun when it comes to marketing automation and miss their targets.

However, most companies will benefit from doing 1 or 2 things correctly. This could be messaging users after they first create an account or using automation to reduce the volume of customer requests. Before trying to solve everything, focus on solving one pain point.

Choosing the Best Marketing Automation Tools for Your Company

Previously, I talked about the third pillar in the 3Ps framework, Providers. Because most questions I receive from readers and clients revolve around software providers, I dedicate an entire section to the available tools.

There are hundreds of software tools and vendors out there, which is good and bad. Good because there’s a high probability that you can find one that fits your unique company needs. The downside is that you have to sort through all the possibilities.

Options that work best for my clients:

Salesforce/Pardot
Pros:Cons:
Part of a massive ecosystem
Integrates with almost anything
Designed to scale to millions of users
Many ways to extend its functionality 
Requires Salesforce expertise to make any changes
Better suited for larger organizations and might be overkill for smaller companies
Marketo
Pros:Cons:
Established player
High reliability and functionality
Integrates with almost anything
Designed to scale to millions of users
Enterprise solution and pricing not suited for smaller companies
UI feels “old”
Iterable
Pros:Cons:
Support for multiple channels, such as email and push notifications
Modern data structure
Scales to millions of users
Better suited for larger organizations
Elements of the UI can feel sluggish
Vero
Pros:Cons:
Support for multiple channels, such as email and push notifications
Modern data structure
Affordable pricing
Better suited for startups
Missing enterprise-friendly features
Autopilot
Pros:Cons:
Easily design campaigns and workflows
Integrates with tools like Pipedrive, Salesforce, and Segment.comPricing that scales with you
Unclear how well it would scale to millions of users
Better suited for startups

For every option mentioned, there are 10 others that could be a good fit for your organization. This makes deciding on the correct software tool challenging. Use the following 3 guidelines when evaluating your options.

1. What Do You Really Need

Don’t get caught up with the bells and whistles of possibilities. Be conservative when thinking of how well your team will adopt a tool, but be aggressive in getting your team to use a tool. Most companies buy features they never use. 

You want to use tools to 110% of their potential. For example, your team should be forced to make compromises due to software limitations. These compromises shouldn’t be huge, but teams need constraints to ensure they focus on the essentials.

2. What Matches Your Team’s Unique Makeup

How your team is structured will determine (or limit) what tools you can buy. Highly technical teams can get away without drag-and-drop interfaces or visually appealing reports, but that might not be your company. Give your team the best tool for them, not the best tool for a hypothetical team.

3. What Fits Your Budget

Make it fit into the budget. This means making compromises and perhaps even delaying tackling specific ideas, but that’s part of the process. Don’t find yourself looking for things to cut from your budget because a particular tool is too expensive for the value you receive. 

In summary, remember that your marketing automation strategy should solve a tangible problem, and the 3Ps framework of People, Process, and Providers helps you do this.
Now it’s your turn. Are there any questions that I didn’t answer in this post? Message me on Twitter @ugarterd, and let’s continue the conversation.

One more thing before you go! Do you know how to get more insights out of your data? 

All companies are sitting on a goldmine of data that they haven't fully explored. It's not about technology or capturing more data. The key is to learn how to make the most of your current data and convert it into actionable insights. This is the main idea behind my first book, The Data Miage: Why Companies Fail to Actually Use Their Data

I'm excited to announce the release of the book through all major retailers. If you're interested, you can download the first chapter for free using the form below. You'll learn what the best data-driven companies do differently and how to make sure you're playing the right data game.